Alexander Siddig featured in Hunger magazine; Keisha Castle-Hughes on the Water Gardens fight

Alexander Siddig

Photo: Jack Buster/Hunger

Alexander Siddig is the newest Game of Thrones star to feature in Hunger magazine, talking about playing Prince Doran Martell in the fifth season. (We’ve also seen great features on DeObia Oparei, Jessica Henwick, and Toby Sebastian in the past few weeks.)

Of what drew him to the role, Siddig says:

It’s Game of Thrones – that alone was really exciting. It’s a very blank canvas that they give you; they don’t tell you much about the character, in fact they say “ best not to try and look him up on the internet because you’ll just get confused”. I had seen Pedro [Pascal] play the part of my brother, Oberyn. I liked his charisma – that Spanish, romantic, hotheaded personality. Mixing that with my interpretation of the character, which was a much more stately, pensive, smart man, was what made him such an interesting character to play.

As for his part this year:

I’m not sure how it is going to play out. I’ve only done two weeks of filming, so I’ve only been given a tantalising glimpse of what the character is up to. In season five he’s really caught between a rock and a hard place, he’s in a very difficult situation. He doesn’t want to take his people to war; there’s a compelling reason why he should, one which his sister-in-law Ellaria points out; she’s obviously furious. There’s that big push from that side of the family and the Sand Snakes. That’s how we start. There’s this tension building and something’s going to blow. I honestly don’t know whether they’re going to stab me in the back, poison me (as they really want to do) or whether I’m somehow going to hold them at bay while I get my shit together, before just hurtling into war and losing hundreds of thousands of people.

Siddig joined in the usual Hunger Q&A, with his full charm on display. Enjoy!

Visit Hunger to read the rest of his interview, including his thoughts on how Trekkies compare to Game of Thrones fans.

GAME_OF_THRONES_SEASON_5_2

Another one of the Martell clan, Keisha Castle-Hughes, talks to Access Hollywood about playing Obara Sand in this week’s episode, including her big fight sequence at the Water Gardens.

“Obara’s the type of person that’s decided like, ‘I want the Lannister,’ and you guys can just have the [others],” she tells AH.

And what’s going to happen now that’s the Sand Snakes have failed in their mission to kidnap Myrcella, and have been taken into custody by Areo Hotah themselves?

“It’s three women who feel like they’ve got nothing to lose and who feel like they’re untouchable, so it’ll be interesting to see where they go.”

For more of Keisha’s thoughts on working with Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and their stunts, check out Access Hollywood‘s full article.

173 responses

Jump to (and Always Support) the Bottom

    1. Can’t polish diarrhea. Maybe we can just switch Siddig into the role of Euron and move to the Iron Isles, just pretend we never went to Dorne.

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    2. “It’s three women who feel like they’ve got nothing to lose and who feel like they’re untouchable, so it’ll be interesting to see where they go.”

      Doran, please put the SS in their tower cells already before they embarrass themselves further. I hope they fuck better than they fight.

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    3. I hope we get to see more of Siddig soon.

      But otherwise, folks, it’s been two scenes, basically. They’ve had very little to do so far.

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    4. It’s exceedingly difficult to stage effective fights that don’t end in the death/serious injury of one of the main combatants. It makes you wonder what happened that resulted in such, and that lack of resolution sometimes makes a fight fall flat. Most of this community’s derision towards the “weaker” GoT fights seem to be focused on just a couple:

      –Yara invades the Dreadfort, criticized in part b/c she seemed to run off without any real other reason (other than the fucking dogs).
      –This one in the Water Gardens.

      The former has no resolution – Yara and Ramsay emerge unscathed, and only drones are killed. The latter features no one resolution either, and you can argue that 3 x 2 odds should favor the former, but Bronn is an exceptional fighter and easily able to take on two people who are younger, less experienced and more prone to fight tentatively, which they did.

      The only other ones I can think of like this on GoT are the Jaime/Eddard standoff, which also has a somewhat unsatisfying result, and the Clegane brothers, who only really faced each other for about 20 seconds before the King told them to cut it out (more realistic).

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    5. I hope he did this interview early in the filming process… I’m very worried that he doesn’t know what happens to his character. If there is no resolution to the Dornish plot this season it’s going to feel like such a waste of time.

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    6. I feel bad for the sand snake actresses. Its not their fault their material has been bad. They seem like nice ladies and seemed so excited to be a part of the show.

      Hopefully the material will improve now that Doran has them under control.

      Also – love Alexander Siddig

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    7. “I am Obara Sand, daughter of Oberyn Martell…I fight for Dorne, who do you fight for???!!!!!”

      Cue *cringe*

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    8. I never thought I would say this but the more I see the sand snakes, the less I actually want to see the sand snakes. Hopefully they’re able to turn it around this season.

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    9. Greatjon of Slumber,

      This. It is really difficult to stage a fight which is basically a stalemate, particularly in the traditional European/American way of editing fights. It works well enough in Asian cinema, but that’s because Asian style editing focuses much more on the movement of the actors and less on the impact of the moves.

      Therefore fights without direct violent results often seem lacking in Western cinema exactly because they lack the very ingredient Western editing primarily focuses on.

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    10. Tibatonk,

      What I’m getting from your comments is that this fight shouldn’t have happened at all.

      I watched it again this morning. It seems to mostly consist of the Sand Snakes missing on purpose. Then Nymeria takes Myrcella off somewhere, but they’re suddenly back as soon as Hotah arrives.

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    11. So about that fight sequence:

      It was admittedly a sub-par fight for GoT standards. After some re-watching and pausing, I do think a lot of it has to do with the logistics of Nym using a whip. Whips require a larger area to use. You can’t really use a whip in close quarters. So, I think having to space all of the characters out within the garden made the fight look less involved and less “exciting.” Editing is also more difficult with the spacing the actors were working with.

      That being said, it wasn’t completely awful. I liked the continuity of Oberyn and Obara’s spear technique. I think a cooler direction would’ve been to start the sequence with the SSs dragging Myrcella away when Jaime and Bronn arrive, so the scene becomes more of a chase within the WG rather than a fight within a large open space.

      Greatjon of Slumber,

      Amen. Siddig is nailing it in my opinion (at least with the few scenes we’ve got so far). I’m very excited to see the aftermath of the scene we got in 506, because I’m sure that will be where most of the Dorne “reveals” will be as far as plot goes.

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    12. TheMannis,

      Horrible line reading of a horribly written line. When the majority of a character’s dialogue to date consists of telling her name and parentage to people who already know who she is, you’ve got a problem.

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    13. I know there’s only been a few scenes in Dorne (not counting Jaime and Bronn adventures), so they can turn it around maybe? But then I think about how amazing Pedro was as Oberyn last year and how that was evidently immediately. 🙁

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    14. Greatjon of Slumber: It makes you wonder what happened that resulted in such,

      I’ve always respected your analysis and perspective, Greatjon, but you have to see the silliness of this forced adaptation for what it is. A forced bro-venture, a forced Romeo-Juliet vignette, a forced vengeful Ellaria, unconvincing SS with forced skillsets, amazing timing, and “fascinating” abilities to collect traitorous Trader Joes, dig deep trenches, and collect scorpions…and awful choreography,

      I think it is ok for many in the fandom to release some steam over some of the other adaptation choices and poke fun at what is obviously a weak element of this story.

      My fear is that all this silliness and stilted choreography is
      1) a setup for the demise of Bronn
      2) out of respect for the Spanish location…it needs to be “neat” and respectful as part of the agreement (supposedly).

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    15. If Siddig only filmed scenes at the Water Gardens, then I can believe he only worked for 2 weeks. I think the lack of time to film the Water Garden scenes is very evident. It’s Iceland in season 2 all over again.

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    16. Tyrion Pimpslap,

      Good comparison. I’ve sometimes wondered if Kit Harington has actually massively improved as an actor, or if he’s just shining so much more this season because a lot of his scenes are interior ones.

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    17. Tyrion Pimpslap,

      Yeah. As beautiful as the Alcazar gardens are, there’s also something about them that just cries tourist spot to me. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but so far it has made all the scenes there feel rather jarring and out of place.

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    18. They’re trying to fit too much plot and too many people in too small a scene. I wonder if the limited time they were given for filming in the location hurt this.

      I really think a lot of it is that instead of seeing the SS in an individual capacity, it’s just a blob o’ Dorne characters plunked down en masse. They become interchangeable.

      Obara’s declarations are getting a bit much. LOUD NOISES.

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    19. A Man Grown:
      TheMannis,

      Horrible line reading of a horribly written line. When the majority of a character’s dialogue to date consists of telling her name and parentage to people who already know who she is, you’ve got a problem.

      “I am Worf, son of Mogh. I now take my place as first officer. I serve the captain, but I stand for the crew.”

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    20. Pigeon,

      I’m actually quite okay with Obara. She has inherited Oberyn’s flair for the melodramatic but lacks his charisma. Works well enough for me.

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    21. Those girls were not fighting they were dancing.

      I understand that sometimes “hollywood” will add flashy moves to point out the skill of the fighter but too much of it makes the fighter look like a clown dancings with weapons.

      Real fighting isn´t “eye pleasent” it is 2 people aggressively trying to stab and cut each other not swirl around.

      Brienne and the Hound was a fight.
      Hound at the inn was a fight
      Hound vs. The Mountain in s1 was a fight
      Hound vs Ned Starks bannermen was a fight
      Hound vs. Beric was a fight

      Im starting to see a pattern here lol …

      That is why im so sad that in the Hardhome previews we see Jon swirl while fighting the wight.

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    22. Pigeon:

      Obara’s declarations are getting a bit much. LOUD NOISES.

      That’s pretty much the Martells in a nutshell – Loud Noises. Lots of talk/hot air, no meaningful results.

      When you’re a spoiled, entitled princess raised to be a clueless troublemaker who only thinks about stupid revenge plots, Loud Noises are what you get.

      As for Trystane and Myrcella, the fact that neither has learned any discernible fighting skills despite hanging around Oberyn doesn’t bode well for their survival. (Even Robin Arryn could probably kick Trystane’s ass.)

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    23. I want to like the Sand Snakes. I really do. But right now, the biggest problem with them is that they’re basically presented as a trio of interchangeable sisters welding slightly different weapons. They’re basically the Westeros equivalent of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

      I hope that things will improve when they separate and start to grow into their own individual characters. Hopefully in S6.

      I also suspect the poor action sequence is due to two reasons. 1) Using a whip as a weapon while trying to not actually hurt the other actors. 2) The location, which is a historical tourist site, probably does not lend itself well to actually filming action sequences.

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    24. Tyrion Pimpslap,

      Yeah, I guess it really coheres with a lack of time that most of the Dornish scenes are not that great, but I think they will get better in the next episodes.
      A big part of the problem was, apparently, that three groups of people (sandsnakes, Bro-Jaime, Doran/Areo) had to be moved into one small area (water gardens) in a very small amount of time. Now that they are all together, they can build on the scenery without leaving characters out of sight, so I´m pretty sure Dorne will be tremendously better in the episodes to come. They can really breathe life into Dorne now and don´t have to jump from one place to another.

      The smaller part of the problem is the bad acting of the Sandsnakes. Or, let´s say, the mediocre acting of these three in an otherwise top-notch series in terms of acting.
      I think it says a lot that Areo & Doran seemed to have much more chemistry and a way better grip on their roles than the Sandsnakes, even though these had a lot more time concerning filming and training for GoT. But hey, now that they´re all together in one spot, more time for Doran/Areo and actual politics. Can´t wait to see that bromance come to life^^

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    25. With regard to the Trystane and Myrcella bashing – or at least the (very short so far) show depiction of their relationship, wasn’t the (admittedly much younger) book Myrcella a little bit smitten with book Trystane (though I can’t remember exactly)? I don’t think the Sand Snakes were THAT frightful, though I was puzzled by the changing of the plot. I can understand introducing them as a group rather than individually because of time constraints though

      I don’t understand changing of peacemaker Ellaria into bloodthirsty Ellaria and having the Sand Snakes try to grab Myrcella for nefarious purposes instead of the Queenmaker plot (though I appreciate that was Arianne’s – who was not cast – idea)

      . I haven’t been against every change from book to show (thank goodness, for example, no thapphires and I haven’t missed “Where do whores go?” – hope that’s not a spoiler).

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    26. Hoyti Von Totiy,

      you just cant get let of his curly hair do you

      i remember when the day in a life promo aired people miss took him for Asha Greyjoy when he swirls
      but let me say kit was good at swinging swords in both crasters keep and watchers on the wall episodes

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    27. Hoyti Von Totiy,

      I believe the pattern is you enjoyed the Hound’s fights. But do you really expect these women who obviously received some high quality weapons training but – with the possible exception of Obara – probably never were involved in any real fights, to use the Hound’s fighting style? I can assure you the result would have been much worse then the fight we’ve seen.

      So, thinking about it, their somewhat flashy and ineffective fighting style probably fits their character background rather well actually.

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    28. That scene was not good, but it was not the worst fighting scene at all. How quickly people forgot implausible Yunkai battle that had to be won offscreen or shirtless Ramsay cutting through 50 best Ironborns killers without recieving a scratch (all his scratches were totally caused by Myranda´s passionate lovemaking).

      But that precious timing of both groups going after Myrcella was bellow average lazy writing. Same thing can be said about the group of pirates sneaking behind Tyrion/Jorah. That was a crap on level of The Walking Dead, where zombies silently sneaking and attacking characters from behind all the time.

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    29. They made Dorne suck. Sorry D&D, but you’ve pretty much made the Dornish cast a set of mediocre villains for Jaime. They don’t have enough screentime to stand on their own, let alone be anything more than pointless characters. Should have kept Arianne: at least her motivations wouldn’t be as boring as the Sand Snakes’ and Ellaria’s.

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    30. Sand Snakes are the worst thing in the shows 5 year run. They have to remedy this mistake and dump them in season 6. I watch with people who haven’t read a word of the books and they think the Sand Snakes scenes are ridiculous and like a parody of the show. So it has nothing to do with reading the books or not in my group. It’s just bad television. It’s bad writing, it’s bad acting.

      What surprises me and actually scares me a bit is Benioff, Weiss, Cogman wrote these scenes, watched them be acted out and filmed, went through the entire editing process…and saw nothing wrong with them and thought they were great. So much so they actually used the Sand Snakes in promo videos to trump up the season. That scares me quite a bit that there is that much of a disconnect between the 3 main guys and the audience reaction.

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    31. TheMannis,

      It can become a new drinking game: a shot every time Obara tells you her name and who her father is.

      Hodor’s Bastard: I’ve always respected your analysis and perspective, Greatjon, but you have to see the silliness of this forced adaptation for what it is.A forced bro-venture, a forced Romeo-Juliet vignette, a forced vengeful Ellaria, unconvincing SS with forced skillsets, amazing timing, and “fascinating” abilities to collect traitorous Trader Joes, dig deep trenches, and collect scorpions…and awful choreography,

      I think it is ok for many in the fandom to release some steam over some of the other adaptation choices and poke fun at what is obviously a weak element of this story.

      My fear is that all this silliness and stilted choreography is
      1) a setup for the demise of Bronn
      2) out of respect for the Spanish location…it needs to be “neat” and respectful as part of the agreement (supposedly).

      Love your summary of this “forced adaptation .” I also think it is OK to poke fun.

      We aren’t rooting for the Dorne story line to fail…at least, I’m not. I’m looking forward to seeing more of Siddig. He will bring the appropriate gravitas to Doran once he has the opportunity to do more than give Hotah the side-eye. Indira Varma is much too talented to be consumed by the silliness that we have seen to-date. The SS are what they are and they may not improve tremendously. I am hoping that the rest of the story line – and the actors – will make us forget the poorly handled introduction.

      And this better not be the demise of Bronn!

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    32. A Man Grown,

      Ratified and motion passed….Rory McCann was fantastic. I was a fan before, but he killed it as Sandor. I am left still looking for a ‘favourite’ (not that I need one) now that he’s gone.

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    33. Ome of the strengths of GoT is that they have managed to introduce characters (even secondary) organically. Unfortunately, the SS feel like they’ve been shoehorned in without much personality or logic behind them. I believe the fan base would be more forgiving of the second rate fight if they felt something for the characters (& better dialog please!)

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    34. A Man Grown,

      I think Harington has greatly improved. To the point where now I think he is underrated since people still hold onto their past knocks on his acting. But if you think about it…it is natural for him to improve. He’s been doing about 2 or 3 films a year now and that equals practice and experience. He was fresh out of drama school for the pilot.

      I like him and think he got a raw deal with people in the beginning. It’s not easy to be a new actor in a major role standing outside in 30 below zero temps. Hands and Cosmo both are on record as saying that was the hardest acting they ever did because of how cold it was. And I don’t think too many would accuse Hands and Cosmo of being poor.

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    35. Knight of Tyrell: The smaller part of the problem is the bad acting of the Sandsnakes. Or, let´s say, the mediocre acting of these three in an otherwise top-notch series in terms of acting.

      I have no previous experience of seeing the lady who plays Tyene in anything else but Keisha Castle-Hughes was good in “Whale Rider” when she was just a lass and Jessica Henwick cut the mustard in “Spirit Warriors” (admittedly it was a kids’ series) and as Amy Lang in “Silk”, so I wouldn’t say they don’t have acting chops. As I’ve said before while I haven’t (thus far) been entirely enthralled by the Sand Snakes, I haven’t detested them though I seem to be in the minority.

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    36. Knight of Tyrell:
      The smaller part of the problem is the bad acting of the Sandsnakes. Or, let´s say, the mediocre acting of these three in an otherwise top-notch series in terms of acting.

      I’m not sure how much blame any of the actresses can be assigned at this point. Obara is the only one who’s gotten anything resembling characterization, and I thought Castle-Hughes did okay with the backstory monologue. Nym and Tyene have each gotten, what, one line? Their introductions are a disaster on a writing level. And I get that they may not have room to give each of them their own intro scene like in the book, but this is really a case where, if you’re going to do something, commit to doing it right.

      Sure, they weren’t convincing in the fight scene, but NCW and Flynn weren’t either, and we know those two can do much better work.

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    37. I really don’t see how D&D thought what we have seen from Ellaria and the SS is better than the queenmaker plot. Basically, all they are in the show is a bunch of Darkstars. They want to harm Myrcella to start a war. They could have used the queenmaker plot with the same characters, and only a couple of extra scenes, and it would have been much better, with more of what the show does well(political intrigue) and less of what the show struggles with at times(fight scenes).

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    38. Tom,

      It’s probably a combo of both then. I’ll go on the record as saying Kit has been fantastic so far this season.

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    39. Yea… watching the Sand Snakes stuff is really difficult because they’ve had… what, two 3 minutes scenes all season? Arya has literally spent more time silently washing bodies than all three of them have had combined all season.

      It actually reminds me nothing more than how painful episode one/season one was. “My sweet brother” every other line from the Lannisters, because they REALLY had to establish those people were related. But it was all so stilted and forced. Trying to get people to say exposition about information that people already know, to people that already know them is awful.

      Honestly, even if the Sand Snakes were the best actresses in the world, Charles Dance will tell you that you can’t make a silk purse out of a pig’s ear. The dialogue they’ve had to work with was awful, the scenes have been bad, and setting them up as three action figures with their own unique weapon sets feels like trying to sell toys, not tell a story.

      So I blame it far more on the production and writing than on the actresses. I don’t think Meryl Streep in her youth could have sold it. If they were only willing to give Dorne 15 minutes of screen time all season, they should have simply axed it. It’s almost like they didn’t learn their lesson from the Greyjoy stuff. In retrospect, they should have just said all the Greyjoys were dead after the rebellion and Theon was raised as the Stark ward anyways. It wouldn’t have changed a single aspect of the story, and we wouldn’t have all these magically disappearing actors.

      All that negative stuff aside, the scenes with Doran and Areo leave me wanting to see more, so hopefully they can salvage something.

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    40. Flora Linden: As for Trystane and Myrcella, the fact that neither has learned any discernible fighting skills despite hanging around Oberyn doesn’t bode well for their survival. (Even Robin Arryn could probably kick Trystane’s ass.)

      I’m glad one person at least has retained their sense of humour.

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    41. Tibatonk:
      Tyrion Pimpslap,

      Yeah. As beautiful as the Alcazar gardens are, there’s also something about them that just cries tourist spot to me. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but so far it has made all the scenes there feel rather jarring and out of place.

      Hear hear. Unlike everything shot in Croatia or elsewhere, the Sand Snake-Jaime battle honestly felt less like a Game of Thrones location and more like a tourist attraction. Unlike King’s Landing which has always looked the part – you could believe that the people who live there built it – to me this felt like a bunch of people sneaking in for a film shoot at a Renaissance Faire.

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    42. Shockmesane: All that negative stuff aside, the scenes with Doran and Areo leave me wanting to see more, so hopefully they can salvage something.

      If we have minimal Dorne story left to go this season, I think people will look back upon the entire thing as a failure. I hate to say that, but it’s been built up with very little payoff so far. However, if this is all just build-up to more story down the road, or perhaps if these actors are to return next year, it’ll be fine. But 10 minutes of Dorne this season… I certainly hope that’s not what we’re getting.

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    43. The WG fight cannot be compared to the other big fights in the GOT. It was a light-hearted, rather amusing in its silliness fight. It wasn’t a life or death fight. Both parties wanted to take Myrcella and nobody was prepared to risk casualties. It was a fight take and run in which the eastern martial arts type eould be an obvious choice. I agree that the whip scenes made it difficult to give space to the rest of the parties to move around but that was quickly resolved because Nymeria was the one to take Myrcella away. Yara’s scene on the other hand was a life or death confrontation and that is why the frustration of its execution was big. This one was a mock fight. In a very serious and heavy episode the whole fight scene gave a sense of childish behaviour. The central role that the teenage romance had increased this sense. In the end being in the middle of the episode it kind of felt like something amusing and anodyne before the heavy material that followed. To much ado about nothing.

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    44. Tibatonk,

      I believe part of the point of the Dornish fighting style, much like the Braavosi style, is how different it is from the fighting style in the other 6 kingdoms of Westeros.

      I also can’t help but reiterate what some others have said: there sure to seem to be a lot of fight choreography experts commenting. I wonder how many of these folks have ever trained in stage combat, martial arts, or done any fight choreography. That’s not to say the fight wasn’t somewhat awkward in places, but much of that, at least in my view, was due to some sloppy editing.

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    45. Sean C.,

      I´m actually not as much referring to the fighting-scene as to the “dialogues” with Ellaria. It´s true, they did not have much to say in the first place, and any criticism can only be directed at the writers for that reason, but it´s mostly their body-language that seems so out of place.
      They are referred to “fighting” side by side, yet judging from their facial expressions, they only show some sort of anger directed at …something, without a bond between them, without further differentiation. It´s a thing of presence and sadly, they lack it.
      Even without proper dialogue an actor should be able to convince me that there´s a goal he/she has in mind and I need to get at least a small picture of how that character is by judging the facial expression. Sadly, none of the SS has convinced me in that simple way, they just look so absent.
      Doran and Areo do that much better, I feel like I got a better insight to their characters just by looking at them and how they look at each other, something I miss about the Sandsnakes….I hope they fared better in the last four episodes, since I really feel sad for the actors, they surely did their best after all, even though it didn´t turn out well.

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    46. Doug: Sand Snakes are the worst thing in the shows 5 year run. They have to remedy this mistake and dump them in season 6.

      Luckily that’s not how Game of Thrones works. With another TV series which is plotted out season by season or even episode by episode that might be exactly what would happen. There’s a negative reaction to a newly introduced character or plotline? Well, let’s write him out of the show again.

      But GoT is rather unique in that it is discernibly written with an end game in mind. So your suggestion is really not a viable option. And that’s all for the better in my opinion. I do hope they put some more effort into writing and characterizing them in seasons (or maybe even episodes) to come, though.

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    47. For the people criticizing the plotline with pathetic arguments simply because they hated it on the books and/or are sad because their little pirates were not included on the show: I’m sorry, but I’m just laughing at some of your comments here. Hilarious. Keep on crying, I’ll send Ellaria’s daughter with her double daggers to comfort you.
      For the people who are actually having a reasonable discussion: I totally agree that it’s mostly a writing problem that has led to the (so far) failure of this plotline. As someone said before, if you are going to include this whole dornish plot only to give it 15 minutes of screen time, then simply don’t do it. The dornish characters lack development, that’s why the fight scene had no impact whatsoever, because you dont give a crap about them (because they had like 2 min of screentime before that). I hope these last episodes turn things around and give something for these actors to work with, because, as Shockmesane said, they had so little screentime that even the best actors in the world would be able to do something better with that material.

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    48. Nymeria Warrior Queen:
      Tibatonk,

      snip…

      I also can’t help but reiterate what some others have said:there sure to seem to be a lot of fight choreography experts commenting.I wonder how many of these folks have ever trained in stage combat, martial arts, or done any fight choreography.That’s not to say thefight wasn’t somewhat awkward in places, but much of that, at least in my view, was due to some sloppy editing.

      It’s the interwebz, everyone is an armchair expert now.

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    49. Here is the problem, as I see it. Oberyn was a larger than life character, one that was cool and sexy and alluring and witty and deadly smooth. He had attitude and we all loved him for that.

      The Sand Snakes were built up and promoted and I think many of us had a “picture” of what we thought they would be like…like little female versions of Oberyn. And they are not even close. They are stiff, no humor to them at all, not cool, not alluring and they look like Oberyn “wannabe’s” Either the show is going to have to cut them or change them to fit what they already build in our minds for Dorne.

      PS….Can the countdown banner at the top of the page be fixed? I LOVE looking at the countdown daily, it gets me excited. 🙂 I am easily amused, no?

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    50. To everyone dumping on the SSs:

      Do you think you would have had such a strong of a reaction if they weren’t promoted so much this year? I’m just curious. It was a mistake for GoT to devote so much marketing time to what amount to minor characters.

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    51. JCDavis,

      Agree!

      Pedro gave Oberyn an instant attraction and charisma. He also had the advantage of being away from Dorne and a gaggle of relatives, which made his character’s outlandishness shine in the midst of KL.

      Making a group of mini Oberyns just hasn’t worked well.

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    52. Dame of Mercia:

      I’m glad one person at least has retained their sense of humour.

      Heh, when it comes to Trystane, it’s pretty funny. I mean, Oberyn’s nephew, nice wardrobe, cool snake-adorned weapon . . .and unable to block a straightforward punch. Lol. (Plus eyeroll.)

      On the other hand, maybe Myrcella is quite cunning (she’s a Lannister, after all) and everyone (even the Martells) underestimate her because she’s so girly. She could surprise in the future episodes. We’ll find out soon enough.

      I choose to view the whole Dorne thing as an interesting contrast to all the other noble houses. In S4 Oberyn sold the impression the Martells were very cunning and politically savvy. S5 shows it was false; they’re just annoying troublemakers who have no idea what’s going on. When you don’t view them through rose-colored glasses, even Oberyn isn’t as great as he seemed. Sometimes things are not what they appear to be.

      mariamb:

      I love this!

      Well, give Robin a bit of credit, at least he tried to use his shield properly.
      🙂

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    53. The only problem I have with the Sand Snakes is that they were heavily promoted as important characters. they aren’t. Jaime is the main character of the storyline, Bron is the sidekick, the key players are Doran and Ellaria, and Myrcella-Trystane is what the players want. The SS, for now at least, are totally secondary, no more important than Walda Frey or Lancel Lannister. They’re not supposed to be important players. The only mistake the showmakers did was to promote them as the coolest characters ever.

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    54. Arya Havin’ a larf?: snip…

      It’s a good thing my balls are proverbial, as opposed to actual, or that would have made me a bit e-uncomfortable. 😉

      JCDavis: . Oberyn was a larger than life character, one that was cool and sexy and alluring and witty and deadly smooth. He had attitude and we all loved him for that.

      I’ve been thinking about Oberyn a lot. I’m not sure how many minutes total we’ve seen the Sand Snakes on screen at this point, but I think back to Oberyn’s first scene. Up until Tyrion and Bronn enter, (so, all through his choosing which whores to sleep with and then freaking out over hearing the Rains of Castamere and stabbing the Lannister in the wrist), I was thinking…hmmm…I’m not so sure about this guy. Once the conversation with Tyrion got going, he won me over. I don’t know anyone will ever grow to love the Sand Snakes the way most of us grew to love Oberyn, but I still can’t help but think if we’re given any time to know them, as opposed to two brief scenes wherein two of the three of them barely say anything, if those who are open to not hating them will start to like them a little more. Then again, maybe no one else felt the same way I did about Oberyn in those first few minutes, so my thoughts are moot.

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    55. mariamb: Flora Linden: (Even Robin Arryn could probably kick Trystane’s ass.)

      Prince of Dorne Vs Girl with palsy, still better than Mayweather V Pacquiao

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    56. I have to say I was not overly impressed by any chemistry between Trystane and Myrcella. Not really into that. At least it’s not beheading and rape- a rare happy thing on GoT.

      Highlight of Dorne so far was definitely Bronn singing The Dornishman’s Wife, by far 🙂

      Looking forward to some sit downs with Doran and Jaime to improve things a bit. Alexander mentioned meeting Jaime was his favorite scene so perhaps things are going to improve! 🙂

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    57. oier: The SS, for now at least, are totally secondary, no more important than Walda Frey or Lancel Lannister

      Walda and Lancel could be a fight worthy of song!

      And I agree that expectations were built up for the SS for season 5 causing a lot of this backlash. I didn’t enjoy their story in the books and figured since the show was committing to them, they would make them more interesting. So far that has not happened. Hopefully their story will get much more interesting quickly. They are nice to look at but if they are only present for eye candy the novelty wears off

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    58. Jaime’s girl,

      When Siddig says something like that, the scene must be beyond awesome. A bit of Jaime´s charming smugness versus Doran´s razor-sharp analytic mind, how could that not turn out great.
      I just hope that Bronn gets to see that day, a bit of japing would be much appreciated…

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    59. My thoughts on the Dorne fight scene…
      Yeah, it was poorly handled. However, it doesn’t make me dread the future of this storyline. The scene was necessary to get the characters involved where they are now. And it succeeded in that, even if the execution left much to be desired. Now, I imagine we’ll get some really interesting conversations between Jaime & Doran, etc.

      I feel like the worst is over, regarding that storyline.

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    60. Jaime’s girl,

      I think that will salvage something from the Dorne storyline. A Jaime and Doran meeting will be inevitably be charged, given the Martell vs. Lannister history. I would also like something on the lines of Doran speaking separately to Nymeria about their long-term aspirations, given that Nym seems like the more measured, long-game type. Maybe also Tyene goading Bronn in prison given….

      I’d just like them to be fleshed out, and there is nothing better than simple dialogue between 2 characters, which GoT excels at.

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    61. Hodor’s Bastard: I’ve always respected your analysis and perspective, Greatjon, but you have to see the silliness of this forced adaptation for what it is.A forced bro-venture, a forced Romeo-Juliet vignette, a forced vengeful Ellaria, unconvincing SS with forced skillsets, amazing timing, and “fascinating” abilities to collect traitorous Trader Joes, dig deep trenches, and collect scorpions…and awful choreography,

      I think it is ok for many in the fandom to release some steam over some of the other adaptation choices and poke fun at what is obviously a weak element of this story.

      My fear is that all this silliness and stilted choreography is
      1) a setup for the demise of Bronn
      2) out of respect for the Spanish location…it needs to be “neat” and respectful as part of the agreement (supposedly).

      Thanks for your compliment, appreciate it.

      The forced bro-venture (which Bronn does pretty well undercut when talking to Jaime on the ship, and it’s never a good idea for a character to vocalize the plot holes), is something I can forgive. Because Jerome Flynn, y’know?

      I stand by how I see the fight. They’re young, they’re small, and we don’t know how much experience fighting they have. Jaime was trying to hold off one character, and the other two didn’t seem to have a real plan for taking down Bronn, who, other than maybe Tormund Giantsbane, is probably the toughest, most hardened killer among the living characters. Not that they would know this, but he does, and he knows how to stay alive.

      That’s not to say I think the fight is anything close to the level of Brienne/Hound, Hound/Arya/Polliver, Hound/Beric (crikey, Rory McCann was in a lot of great fights), Bronn/Ser Vardis, or Jon/Magnar of Thenn.

      And I do also wonder if Bronn, currently, is the only character on the show that has any possible “this actor is awesome” plot armor.

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    62. Hoyti Von Totiy: That is why im so sad that in the Hardhome previews we see Jon swirl while fighting the wight.

      I’m not worried about that. Kit’s done great work on the fight scenes, including killing Orell, the Qhorin Halfhand fight, and especially vs. Styr, as that’s one of the most thrilling of all of the fights from Season 4.

      Brienne’s have been great too – the one from this year’s episode 2, obviously against the Hound, and her “Two quick deaths?” bit from Season 2, Episode 10.

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    63. JCDavis: PS….Can the countdown banner at the top of the page be fixed? I LOVE looking at the countdown daily, it gets me excited. I am easily amused, no?

      Oz was on vacation. A man’s got to rest, no? He’s on it, though.

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    64. mariamb: The SS are what they are and they may not improve tremendously.

      Admittedly, I’ve had to go back and re-read some of AFfC/ADwD to get my bearings straight regarding the SS. I’m starting to doubt my own interpretation of them, to tell you the truth. I honestly don’t know why I held them in high regard. I’m still simmering on them. I guess I was hoping that together they would visually help us solidify our characterization of Dorne, the only kingdom that didn’t bend the knee to the Targs and the KL leadership. That interests me. Perhaps Doran, from his wheelchair, will be the only one to do so.

      In any case, I appreciated how GRRM “eventually” got around to making them relevant…with one or two heading north to join the KL chaos, another to get Darkstar in line, and yet another as a placeholder in Oldtown.

      I’m holding out hope as well.

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    65. Absolutely

      Tyrion Pimpslap:
      I really don’t see how D&D thought what we have seen from Ellaria and the SS is better than the queenmaker plot. Basically, all they are in the show is a bunch of Darkstars. They want to harm Myrcella to start a war. They could have used the queenmaker plot with the same characters, and only a couple of extra scenes, and it would have been much better, with more of what the show does well(political intrigue) and less of what the show struggles with at times(fight scenes).

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    66. Chinoiserie,

      Meh.

      If it wasn’t for the agreement of a rather large group of people, I’d be wondering why the only character I give a shit about in the Water Garden scene is Bronn. I’m not sure if it’s the re casting (I like Nell in other things I’ve seen, but she doesn’t bring the familiarity aimee would have), or just that the character has been out of the story so long, but I wasn’t a bit concerned about whether Myrcella would get captured or rescued. Trystane looked like he would burst into a #1 boy band smash hit at any time, and Bronn punching him was the best part of the scene.

      I was hoping they wouldn’t be a ‘stand around looking pretty’ duo, but it seems like that’s where it’s headed.

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    67. Greatjon of Slumber: They’re young, they’re small, and we don’t know how much experience fighting they have.

      Perhaps focusing on their fighting skillset was not the best approach. Their fighting skills could have been a deadly surprise for the viewer if they focused on a more intelligent approach for the SS’s cause, imho. With some thought, the showrunners could have really brought an amazing “progressive” characterization of Dorne with these women. Independent, charismatic, intelligent…and deadly.

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    68. Sue the Fury: Oz was on vacation. A man’s got to rest, no? He’s on it, though.

      A man lies to himself, to WoTW, to the countdown clock, to everyone.

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    69. Hodor’s Bastard: Perhaps focusing on their fighting skillset was not the best approach. Their fighting skills could have been a deadly surprise for the viewer if they focused on a more intelligent approach for the SS’s cause, imho. With some thought, the showrunners could have really brought an amazing “progressive” characterization of Dorne with these women. Independent, charismatic, intelligent…and deadly.

      Sure, and a bit more of a slow-burn approach, too. They have one scene before the fight scene, and it feels very truncated, particularly what their plans with Myrcella are. Do they want to kill her? Free her? Escape with her? Crown her queen? What exactly is their objective? It’s hard to say, and we haven’t gotten enough sense of it. And their one scene, by that tent, well, it wasn’t helpful. We don’t get much of what it is they’re after. Just “war.” Ok, how? (And no, this does not mean it should be killed in favor of more Greyjoys, please.)

      I like Nell Tiger Free, though — her eyes actually remind me of the actress who played Young Cersei, so that visual aspect really did work well.

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    70. Hodor’s Bastard: Admittedly, I’ve had to go back and re-read some of AFfC/ADwD to get my bearings straight regarding the SS. I’m starting to doubt my own interpretation of them, to tell you the truth. I honestly don’t know why I held them in high regard.

      This too. They don’t do much in the book! Obara rides in, yells at Doran about going to war, and rides off. Nymeria comes in and pretty much does the same, but is less of a jerk about it. Tyene is sort of sweet about it all…and she does the same thing. And then Doran, realizing he’s going to have a goddamned revolt on his hands, imprisons all of them. And…that’s kind of it. We see later they’re going to become important, but it ain’t much. So they haven’t been all that short-changed yet by this adaptation. Built out well? No, not that either, exactly, we need more. Doran too. Areo Hotah also. So far, it feels underbaked. We’ll see.

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    71. Pigeon:

      Trystane looked like he would burst into a #1 boy band smash hit at any time, and Bronn punching him was the best part of the scene.

      I was hoping they wouldn’t be a ‘stand around looking pretty’ duo, but it seems like that’s where it’s headed.

      Definitely the best part of the scene…I laughed out loud. And it does look like we are getting “pretty” and not much more.

      Hodor’s Bastard: Perhaps focusing on their fighting skillset was not the best approach. Their fighting skills could have been a deadly surprise for the viewer if they focused on a more intelligent approach for the SS’s cause, imho. With some thought, the showrunners could have really brought an amazing “progressive” characterization of Dorne with these women. Independent, charismatic, intelligent…and deadly.

      Agree completely! Perhaps they could have referenced everything that makes Dorne “different” from the rest of Westeros (and, IMO, appealing). They appear to be a bit crazy in our TV version of Dorne rather than progressive.

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    72. The entire Dorne venture has been worth it just for the look on Bronn’s face when Jaime tries to say they were lucky to escape the sharks. It’s this look of, “You’re a horrible liar, worse than me, and now I have to kill all of these idiots.”

      Great stuff. Jerome Flynn’s such a gem.

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    73. dragonbringer,

      Just jealous.

      Kit Harington and Ian Glenn are the most natural or should I say the best in terms of swordfighting.I remember Ian’s sick move in 3×09.Kit was fantastic in 4×09.D&D mentioned that in various interviews.Really looking forward to their fighting scenes this season.

      I would put Rory and Kristofer Hivju up there too.My favourites.

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    74. Josh L.:
      I want to like the Sand Snakes.I really do.But right now, the biggest problem with them is that they’re basically presented as a trio of interchangeable sisters welding slightly different weapons.They’re basically the Westeros equivalent of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

      I hope that things will improve when they separate and start to grow into their own individual characters.Hopefully in S6.

      I also suspect the poor action sequence is due to two reasons.1) Using a whip as a weapon while trying to not actually hurt the other actors.2) The location, which is a historical tourist site, probably does not lend itself well to actually filming action sequences.

      God no. Kill them now this season or Blackfish them out of existence.

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    75. Similar to the book, the show’s initial Dornish story line, was the Sand Snake revenge plot. The show did not handle it well. It was rushed, and reduced to something that came off very immature, and irrational. Thankfully, that part of the Dorne story is over.

      I’m optimistic that now Doran, has them in check, we’ll get much better things from all the Dornish characters. I hope! 🙂

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    76. Josh: I want to like the Sand Snakes.I really do.But right now, the biggest problem with them is that they’re basically presented as a trio of interchangeable sisters welding slightly different weapons.They’re basically the Westeros equivalent of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

      Naw man; Ninja Turtles at least have identifiable personalities… and get to wear different colors. It probably would have worked a lot better if Tyene was all like inventing cool stuff all the time but Nymeria was just like, “Cowabunga, when is the pizza gonna be here?” and then the pizza comes but it’s full of fiery Dornish peppers which is the one thing she totally hates, and so that’s hilarious.

      Obara can pretty much remain as-is and serve as a decent Raph/Leo hybrid. Cuz she’s apparently the leader ala Leonardo, and is also a total drag to watch/listen to just like Raphael.

      Going back to the color thing… I always imagined book-Dorne being like this crazy-vibrant place with everybody prancing around in exotic fabrics and colored silks. Pretty bummed that TV-Dorne has a secret law where you’re only allowed to wear colors that match pee and poop.

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    77. Really hoping Alexander Siddig can bring some redemption to the Dornish storyline.

      Btw guys, is WotW currently broken for people in the UK? Maybe even anyone outside the USA. I haven’t been able to access it at all today and am only here now because I temporarily switched on Hola to test it.

      Also, does this site have some sort of link with the Forum of Ice and Fire website? Because the exact same phenomenon is happening.

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    78. Josh L.:
      I want to like the Sand Snakes.I really do.But right now, the biggest problem with them is that they’re basically presented as a trio of interchangeable sisters welding slightly different weapons.They’re basically the Westeros equivalent of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

      Ahem, the Ninja Turtles have distinct personalities: “leads”, “does machines”, “cool but crude”, “party dude”.

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    79. Tyrion Pimpslap

      I do not think that was the rationale. This is a transplant of Jaime’s story from the Riverlands to Dorne. Ellaria does not have a storyline: she (along with the Sandsnakes) is a foil for Jaime’s story.

      Now, I am not 100% sure where they are going with this. However, I am betting that it is going to follow the book: EllariA and the SS’s actions are going to make Jaime show us that

      he is a better man than Tywin was while trying to show that he is the man Tywin’s was.

      Ironically GRRM left B&W a set of bad choices: Dorne, the Iron Islands and the Riverlands. I think that they have chosen the least of three evils. (My fear from the start was that Crows material would doom the TV series: I would have been happiest if they had cut all but Arya’s and Cersei’s storylines as I think that the others would go over like a lead balloon with this audience.)

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    80. What an utterly charming, engaging man Siddig is! I liked his delivery of the few lines he did have – he managed to put more royal resolve into the few lines he had, even while sitting down, than the S Snakes did, with their spinning weapons and strutting antics. Would far prefer to see much more of him, and of Areo Hotah, than any more of the Snakes. I had no idea he had this much personality off-camera. Thanks for giving us this chance to see him here.

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    81. Thronetender:

      What an utterly charming, engaging man Siddig is!

      He certainly is. Very believable as the brother of the charismatic Oberyn. Makes one wonder why we have seen so little of him so far.

      Interesting comment from him about possibly forming an alliance with Dany. It is what many suspect will be revealed in the show, especially with the speculation that Varys will show up in Dorne. I wonder if he was giving us a bit of a hint.

      Wimsey,

      You probably are correct; this is Jaime’s transplanted arc. And if so, we need to get to it. Enough of the Scooby Doo stuff.

      And I like your admission that you aren’t “100% sure where they are going with this.” Is anyone?

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    82. mariamb: And I like your admission that you aren’t “100% sure where they are going with this.” Is anyone?

      Heh, good point! And I’d add to that the list of things about which I am 100% sure is a pretty short one in general! (Wait, that goes on the list now, so it just got longer…)

      Next time, I’ll write “I’m not 75% sure where they are going with this”: maybe that will put it into perspective! 🙂

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    83. Wimsey,

      Apologies…I didn’t mean that as a criticism. You are an astute guy. When you aren’t sure (whether it is 75% certain or 100% certain) where the “Jaime in Dorne” story line may be headed, then I think we have a problem.

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    84. The main problem with the Sand Snakes scenes up until this point was that they had nothing to do, or at least it wasn’t clear at all what that was supposed to be. And also a lot of the problems come down to place and timing.

      The exposition scene at the beach made me wish they had remembered their standard formula of sexposition, like they did with Oberyn. Give them something to do other than stand around and look cool. It was totally unclear why these people meet at the beach, why at that point in time, what they wanted to accomplish and why they told each other the things they said. It all felt out of place. They had nothing useful to do other than to give monologues and walk around. And that’s what they met for? Who even set up the tent?! The whole setup made no sense.
      Similarly the fight scene: Why where they there at that place at that time? What did they try to accomplish? They were apparently prepared for a fight, but with whom? Areo and all the guards in the Watergardens? Did they even have a plan? Why the dumb coincidence of Jaime and Bronn arriving at the exact same moment? It’s like they had to use that location. Other than that the fight was weirdly cut and the fighters seemed to stand or fumble around for most of the time.
      Some of the fighting scenes have been lacking this season. I especially also didn’t like any use of the Unsullied, be it in the Mossador beheading or the big fight with the Unsullied, Barristan and Grey Worm vs. the Harpys. Their behavior as supposedly trained soldiers was way too unrealistic, not even speaking of the outcome of that last fight.

      I don’t think the actresses for the Snakes are to blame for the general impressions we got, they simply haven’t had any real material to work with, and I hope that will change. Of course Doran and Areo haven’t had much of anything either and I already like them, so it is possible, but that’s maybe because I like Alexander Siddig and also I’m generally a fan of the theatrical kind of line delivery like DeObia Opareis.
      Maybe we’re not supposed to like the Snakes, maybe they are meant to appear like overconfident brats, but it’s not just their unlikable or not much existent character, the scenes they’re in are also simply not good.
      I’m still interested in the Dorne story and believe they can turn that around. Just get them in a room and have them talk about something that makes sense.

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    85. This forum is being very kind. I don’t recommend reading the comments on this Keisha Castle-Hughes interview on facebook… 200 hate-filled comments for every positive one.

      I wonder again about why of the dumbing down of female plotlines by the writers. Is it just that they have nobody to point out what they’re doing to themselves? Yara doesn’t try to gain political favour with the Kingsmoot – all we got is her “rescue” of Theon which was asinine. The Queenmaker plot was misguided perhaps – but it was deliberate political plot, not a mindless assassination attempt that makes rash Oberyn look like a chessmaster. This stuff is more embarrassing than all the brothel scenes you can invent…

      We know Cercei isn’t positioning herself to be an excellent ruler – and Dany has gone mad as Arys. Fair enough. But the rest? Why? Bronn is so insightful he’s breaking the third wall, no fair. Where’s Val, or Merryweather, or Lady Dustin, or any women with a successful political bone in their body? Cut. They needed to be cut, fine. But leave something, anything…

      On the flipside – Lollys was smarter than she had any right to be… *snort*

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    86. So… just some theorizing and speculation to change the tune of the conversation: does anyone know which sets of characters and storylines will feature in episode 7, and to which extent?

      The Wall, of course, with Jon and Tormund leaving as a setup for Hardhome. Will Aemon die this episode? King’s Landing will heat up, though how much? Obviously Olenna will scheme with the High Sparrow and Littlefinger, so she will be involved in Cersei’s downfall, but will this storyline end this episode with her imprisonment? Dorne will feature, but I imagine we’ll only get scenes in prison for now. Still, hopefully some Doran and Areo! What about Dany? Obviously Tyrion and Jorah arrive at Meereen, and in the promo we see Jorah practicing in that small pit, which matches other promos in which Dany is present at the scene. Will Tyrion meet Dany at last next episode? Will at least Jorah reunite with her? How far is her story going this episode? And Winterfell? Will Roose let out Ramsay (instead of the Freys and Manderlys) to fight Stannis in the snow, or we won’t get that far this episode? Will there be any Arya at all, does anybody know for sure?

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    87. Bronn won’t die. His wound is poisoned, of course, and to get the antidote he’ll have to kidnap Myrcella. In a double (triple?) cross, he’ll hide out with her somewhere, always on the move, for an odd couple road show a la Arya and the Hound, taking them both well into Season Six. As such, he will become, as Doran said in the books of someone else: ‘The most dangerous man in Dorne.” Notice how natty and, ahem, ‘dark’ Bronn is looking these days.

      The Sellsword and the Princess. Let the hilarity–and romance–ensue. I see passionate embraces in some desert oasis, some Lawrence of Arabia camels (what are these strange creatures, Ser Bronn?), and a bun in the oven (the desert Prince Who Was Promised).

      I wouldn’t be surprised if upjumped Bronn upjumps some more and ends up marrying the chick. Tower of Desert Fucking Joy. Everyone thinks he kidnapped her. No one knows she fell for him. Promise me, Jaime, promise me.

      Trystane and the Snakes will go to Mereen. All will be fried by the dragons, unless one of the Snakes is needed for that Citadel plot hinted at in AFFC (or was it ADWD)?

      As for the Snakes: I guess it’s hard to cast actresses who can combine hotness, toughness, and smarts. It seems we’re stuck with three pretty girls more suited to be Margaery’s ladies in waiting than killer snakes.

      They’re too young and cute, for fuck’s sake. If cheesecake and Xena slapstick fight scenes is what they’re there for, total miss.

      Which reminds me: when have GoT fight scenes ever been lighthearted? The fights are never playful (except, maybe, Jaime and Brienne on the bridge).

      GoT has always made it clear that fighting is a serious business; you only engage in it if you want someone to die. Kind of like the dictum that you shouldn’t draw your gun unless you intend to use it. Shoot to kill, baby, or the other guy will.

      The FFS ‘fight’ was more like foreplay. To paraphrase and perhaps correct Bronn, the Dornish like two things: play fighting before fucking. This would seem to be the set-up before the predicted SS seduction scene of Bronn in an episode or two to come. Bronn and Tyene ‘met cute,’ and Bronn gave her a ‘neg’ (PUA jargon) to light a fire that will burn, and burn well.

      Maybe we’ve got Dorne all wrong. These people aren’t lovers and fighters, they’re just lovers and drama queens. Oberyn didn’t so much want to kill the Mountain as he wanted to dance around him making ‘You raped her…” declarations.

      The Dornish are all heat-based sizzle and no steak. Too much fun in the sun has made them daft.

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    88. Yung Wolf,

      That video is hilarious, and I like the Sand Snakes!

      My main problem with the fight scene was the direction (they did rehearse the scene a lot; the quick cuts were unnecessary) and that Jaime and Bronn should’ve gone at night and take Myrcella out of her bed. It would’ve made for a moodier and more interesting scene, aside from making more sense. Also, though it’s fine that Ellaria has the Sand Snakes attack at the same time as Jaime arrives to rescue Myrcella, it should be explicitly because Ellaria knows Jaime has just arrived so she must take deliberate yet reckless action. At any rate, that’s a minor issue; I can believe Jaime is that reckless, and that Ellaria attacked at that moment because she spotted Jaime, though it wasn’t made explicit. However, the direction was inexcusable. I’m pretty sure the scene must have read better than it played out.

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    89. Arya Havin’ a larf?: It’s the interwebz, everyone is an armchair expert now.

      I have done some training in Wu Shu (Kung Fu, Northern Shaolin), then I moved to stage fighting and finally ended up doing HEMA (Historical European Martial Arts) were I train in Longsword, Rapier and Rapier and Dagger, and have attended some classes of Dagger, Sabre, Messer and Sword and Buckler.

      I just saw the episode. It’s very late her so I’ll post my comments tomorrow…but yeah, it was quite terrible. But so have been the majority of the fights in GoT :/

      PS: Many people here have no idea of what they’re talking about so I’ll be happy to clear some misconcepcions 😉

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    90. pau,

      So because you’ve done some training in a couple ineffective and outdated martial arts, you’re an expert on choreography and realistic fighting?

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    91. pau:
      it was quite terrible. But so have been the majority of the fights in GoT :/

      Yeah fighting isn’t their biggest strength, they don’t seem to care that much, maybe because D&D aren’t into fighting? I don’t know. They seem to treat fighting mostly like the sex, something that characters do while the “real” drama happens. Still they managed to have some of the most memorable one on one fights, so they’re doing something right.
      But characterizing three new characters mainly through their fighting skills and styles in a borderline Comic-like fashion maybe wasn’t the right choice if they can’t deliver on that one thing.

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    92. pau,
      Where does one possibly study HEMA (I’m in the Midwest, USA). The closest I got was stage combat in college.

      Esoteric question: there’s a move I’ve never seen in movies but saw in a training video for what, I guess, you do in your fighting. The move involves kind of allowing your adversary to block a head slash, pressing his blade back, then slashing his neck as you pull your own blade back. I don’t know if that description makes sense, but the move looks cool and deadly.

      What I’ve always disdained is that swashbuckler two high cuts, two low cuts back and forth. Or, even worse, using a short Roman gladius to do the same (it’s more for close quarter thrusting, preferably over locked shields).

      Actual fights are, I think, nasty, brutish, and short. One false move with blades, and you’re dead. I envision some brief feinting, then going in for the kill. You screw up the attack, you die.

      As for the Snakes, use the whip to pull out the legs or snap the face, and use the spear for long distance poking, yes? As for dagger against sword, forget about it!

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    93. Luka Nieto,

      When you put it like that, the abduction/fight scene would have made so much more sense. If only they’d given Ellaria a short line of dialogue to make it clear they had to act now, rather than later, it would have at least excused the scrambling/awkward timing. A night shoot was probably out of the question in terms of location, though. I do think they got a bit too excited about using the pretty set and it hamstrung them a little in terms of logistics.

      It saddens me that they’ve barely given the SS screen and script time to establish themselves as individuals. Hopefully the

      possible prison scene with Bronn flirting with Tyene and needing her antidote, and the meeting between Jaime and Doran will breathe some life into an otherwise stilted, patchy storyline.

      I’ve been a fan of Alexander Siddig since DS9 and I thought he was well cast as Doran. However, he’s been severely under-used so far. He’s a charismatic guy, as evidenced by his short scenes so far with Ellaria and Hotah. But 30 seconds or a minute here or there (sprinkled over six episodes) isn’t enough to get viewers excited about what’s happening in Dorne.

      I know some people think it’s lame that Ellaria and the SS are still so upset about Oberyn’s horrific death, but don’t forget he did get finally an admission of guilt from The Mountain before he died about what happened to Elia Martell and her babies. Oberyn’s plan all along was to publicly expose the Lannisters war crimes and avenge Elia’s wrongful death. That he died during a perfectly legal trial by combat is irrelevant to the larger insult made to the Dornish people – in their eyes.

      In rewatching the fight scene, I do think that it was interesting to try to incorporate three different styles of fighting together as a unit. However, it did cause problems in terms of how to properly show off the whip moves which (to me) did actually seem effective in preventing Jaime or Bronn from getting a good strike in at the other two women. I don’t know, I thought the fight seemed fine, if a little choppily edited and dissatisfying in terms of tension/stakes. It was a quick skirmish that was interrupted too soon. It didn’t help that both Jaime and Bronn were disguised as guards and I found all the similar costumes confusing in terms of following the action.

      We really could do with a few scenes where the SS get to interact in a less over-dramatic fashion and show some personality, instead of just posturing.

      Trystane and Myrcella were okay, but just having them engaged in a teen romance is not enough of a draw. We need to see how both of their characters tie in to the larger picture. I’m hoping there is still some sort of Queenmaker plot afoot.

      I agree that if Dorne is getting short-changed in terms of adequate plot development this season, perhaps they should have just cut it or saved it for next season.

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    94. Succubint,

      We haven’t seen much of them because they’ve just been introduced. In the show, this was Jaime’s story. Jaime has just arrived. Granted, if Alexander Siddig is not given some cool Doran things to do in the next four episodes, and if the Sand Snakes and Ellaria are not developed into fully-realized human beings, I will be disappointing, but for now I’ve got no reason to worry. The Dornish storyline in the books only gets truly interesting at the end, when it sets up what’s coming next (The Princess in the Tower and The Watcher); I expect the show will be similar in that respect.

      They did botch the Sand Snakes’ introduction, though. It’s interesting because the actresses described the scene differently, and some promo pictures showed Tyene and Obara arguing while Obara meditated, while waiting for Ellaria, which didn’t happen in the final cut. I wonder why they cut it. If it was for time… it backfired on them. We needed to know who these people were, what made them individuals, by the time Jaime and Bron fought them. If it was cut because the scene turned out to be shit… well, then I guess I’m happy we didn’t see it.

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    95. Luka Nieto,

      I’m fairly unsullied in terms of what happened in Dorne in the books, so I shall take your word for it that the most interesting plot developments are still to come. 🙂 Obviously things will be different with Jaime’s story arc being intertwined with those events, but let’s hope there’s enough there to make a compelling story.

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    96. mariamb,
      Oh, no apologies necessary! You just made me realize that the phrase is a bit silly: whenever we use it, we usually mean that “I have some vague ideas,” not “I’m 95% sure!” I mean, this could all be a dream, right? 😉

      In this case, I can see some general patterns, but I can also imagine a few different directions in which they might go: and I’m sure that many others exist that I haven’t imagined. ($5 says what they show will be one of those.)

      Luka Nieto: I can believe Jaime is that reckless

      Heh, I remember thinking in the back of my mind that someone like Jaime is absolutely the last person you would want to send on that sort of mission! When your solution to most problems involves shouting “charge,” subtlety often will be lacking.

      That written, there would be a general shortage of people up for that sort of task in King’s Landing. Being able to do “Agent Provocateur” well isn’t considered honorable, which means that they would inherently distrust anybody really capable of the job. (And given that these would be people like Varys and Littlefinger, maybe I shouldn’t mock them on this!) That is part of why taking Bronn made sense to me: lacking any “honor,” he seems to be considerably more pragmatic than Jaime and most other “high born” knights.

      Lady Wolfsbane: I wonder again about why of the dumbing down of female plotlines by the writers.

      But are they dumbing them down? Yara’s failed rescue of Theon was not “dumb”: just because a thing failed does not mean it was a bad idea. Moreover, the rescue failed because Theon was much further gone than she could have realized. In contrast, several people told Asha “you have no chance at becoming Queen, don’t even try.” She scoffed, and then promptly looked like an pub football/soccer team playing the German World Cup team. The chorus of “I told you so”‘s could have been heard from the Wall to Assai, and that never makes a character look good.

      (This is another reason why I did not like Crows: it could have been “101 Examples of Women In Westeros Failing Miserably and Validating all the Sexist Beliefs about Them.”)

      Lady Wolfsbane: and Dany has gone mad as Arys.

      On what do you possibly base the latter statement? There is nothing indicating that Daeny’s sanity is any worse than anybody else’s. (Of course, that is sort of a low bar…) Seriously, Daeny is as sane as you can get in her world.

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    97. Yung Wolf,

      What basis do you have for calling them ineffective and outdated? Either you’ve never trained in a martial art, or if you did, did not learn how to show the proper respect for disciplines outside your own.

      Technically, I don’t consider HEMA a martial art, but that may be due to lack of knowledge about it. Which leads me to ask…

      Pau,

      Is the training similar to stage combat training? It sounds like you use the same weapons. What aspects of martial arts are included? I don’t mean to sound disrespectful by saying I don’t consider it a martial art, as I said it may be due to my lack of knowledge about it, which is why I asked what aspects are included. I love to learn about things I don’t know. As a bit of background, I trained pretty seriously in stage combat, stopping just short of my certification in several weapons (life got in the way 🙁 ). I also hold a 3rd Dan (3rd degree black belt) in Tae Kwon Do, and I’m working toward my 4th (which will be a few more years), which is the lowest level at which one can be considered a Master (although I’ll probably never consider myself as such).

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    98. Nymeria Warrior Queen,

      Well, as someone that trains in multiple disciplines and has actually competed in both Boxing and MMA, I would think that I know my fair share. I have seen people that practice traditional martial arts (Kung Fu, Karate, Aikido, Wu Shu, Taekwondo, you name it) get absolutely destroyed by high school wrestlers and amateur boxers in a matter of seconds — in the ring and on the street.

      Most fighters would agree that traditional martial arts are useless. Taekwondo is somewhat useful because some of the techniques that you practice can be effective, but it is also pointless if you have never had the chance to use it in a real fight. You can hit pads and bags, do your dances and routines all you want, but it’s a different situation entirely when you’re in an actual fight and have no idea how to react mentally or use those techniques functionally on a real opponent.

      And as far as HEMA goes, I don’t think it is really applicable to the 21st century. 😀

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    99. oier:
      The SS, for now at least, are totally secondary, no more important than Walda Frey or Lancel Lannister. They’re not supposed to be important players. The only mistake the showmakers did was to promote them as the coolest characters ever.

      How dare ye insult Brother Lancel! I’m enjoying every scene he does! The thing I’m worrying about is that in the books

      Nymeria is supposed to go and sit on the small council and Tyene is supposed to go to the Sept of Baelor…

      With how these characters are portrayed now, I don’t see those scenarios happening at all. And if those scenario’s don’t happen, then what was the bloody point of introducing these lot?

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    100. Luka Nieto: If the Sand Snakes and Ellaria are not developed into fully-realized human beings, I will be disappointing, but for now I’ve got no reason to worry.

      I really would not expect them to be for a few reasons. One, they aren’t major characters: they are just plot devices for Jaime’s story. Two, all three were very close to Oberyn (lover or father). I doubt that anybody considered it unrealistic that Oberyn was still nursing a grudge against the Lannister’s for his sister’s death nearly 2 decades later: real people would do that. And, of course, they (and we) know that Oberyn’s death was doubly on the Lannisters: not only did their henchmen kill him, but he risked his life because of something that henchman had done before.

      In the books, I do not recall the Sand Snakes getting any sort of character development. One of them came across as like a bad stereotype of a “butch” lesbian, and the other two were, um, the ones that weren’t the other one. I dimly recall one or both of them seeming like psychotic nymphomaniacs, but I’d hardly call that character development! (Didn’t Arianne spend half her time reminding one of them that they couldn’t kill Myrcelle? Or is Bowen Marsh infecting my memory?)

      My biggest concern is that any time spent developing their characters would take away from actual storytelling time without adding to the story or plot at all.

      Ser Oromis Locke: And if those scenario’s don’t happen, then what was the bloody point of introducing these lot?

      Well, it’s certainly not worth introducing them for stuff that would happen next year: they should (and will) introduce next year’s supporting cast next year when such characters amount to anything.

      This year, they should have one purpose only: foils in Jaime’s killing of the boy and letting his man be born.

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    101. Yung Wolf,

      Well, it’s a shame no one in any of these multiple discipline is which you say you train taught you to show any respect for other disciplines. Moreover, you saying things like “do your dances and routines,” or making statements like how in an actual fight people who train in those disciplines have “no idea how to react mentally or use those techniques functionally on a real opponent” merely demonstrates your lack of knowledge. That’s cool, though, you go on and thump your chest, and I’ll sit here and quietly chuckle. 🙂

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    102. I know very little about fight technique and martial arts, and nothing at all about choreography. I just know what looks stilted and awkward to watch.

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    103. Nymeria Warrior Queen,

      While I laugh, loudly, at you practicing your flashy kicks against dummies and cardboard in the safety of your own gym with the black belt that you bought instead of earning. 🙂

      I challenge you to take an amateur fight and see how far your “KIYA!” gets you. I’m sure I know teenage girls that would make short work of you.

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    104. Yung Wolf: And as far as HEMA goes, I don’t think it is really applicable to the 21st century.

      Oops, I forgot this part of your post.

      While HEMA may not have a practical application in the 21st century, it does give one some knowledge of some of the weapons being used in GoT, thus gives one a legitimate basis for analyzing and critiquing the technicalities of fight choreography.

      Yung Wolf:
      Nymeria Warrior Queen,

      While I laugh, loudly, at you practicing your flashy kicks against dummies and cardboard in the safety of your own gym with the black belt that you bought instead of earning.

      Heeheehee, you’re once again demonstrating your lack of knowledge…

      Or in other words, you know nothing, Yung Wolf.

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    105. Nymeria Warrior Queen,

      I did TKD as a kid and even I was able to realize it was a joke after a matter of a few months. Yes, your monthly membership buys your belts. Yes, your instructors are a joke. No, your gym isn’t special. But it’s okay, I know you feel the need to defend TKD’s honor and find a way to justify spending a good portion of your time doing something that is mostly impractical.

      Are you going to sign up for that amateur fight or not? If you believe in yourself and believe that your martial art is effective, why wouldn’t you?

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    106. Yung Wolf

      It’s always amusing to watch people try to make definitive claims about complete strangers on the the internet. 🙂

      You have fun continuing to demonstrate you know nothing. I think I’m going to go…what was it…do some fancy kicks into cardboard…something like that.

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    107. In a show where they have aged up all the children and younger characters, I think the biggest mistake with the SandSnakes was not casting older actors. Physically, they come across as a trio of emotional junior high school teenagers. They are too youthful and soft, no matter what sort of training they may have done before filming, so it is very hard to believe in them as trained and accomplished fighters. Don’t forget that Book Brienne is only young too (18-19 I think), but they cast an older actor and got an infinitely superior result. Thinking back to when we first saw Brienne, at that tournament in Renlys camp, you have to say that however well or badly the fight scene was staged, you actually believed in her as a fighter. Show Brienne would probably send this trio out to have lessons from Podrick!!

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    108. In a show where they have aged up all the children and younger characters, I think the biggest mistake with the SandSnakes was not casting older actors. They come across as a trio of emotional junior high school teenagers, who are physically too youthful and soft, no matter what sort of training they may have done before filming. So it is very hard to believe in them as trained and accomplished fighters. In contrast, Book Brienne is only young too (18-19 I think), but they cast an older actor and got an infinitely superior result. Thinking back to when we first saw Brienne, at that tournament in Renlys camp, you actually believed in her as a fighter, no matter how well or badly you thought the fight itself was staged. Show Brienne would take one look at these pretty SandSnakes, sigh wearily and send Podrick out to teach them how to fight! Though maybe they could teach him how to skin and cook a rabbit …

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    109. Pigeon:
      I know very little about fight technique and martial arts, and nothing at all about choreography. I just know what looks stilted and awkward to watch.

      I second that. I even rewatched it to try to develop some more specific understanding of why I didn’t like it, and still all I can say is that “it looked bad.”

      It kind of reminded me of watching the video of the swordfights in a local theater production of Macbeth I once did. Very safe, very deliberate; it only worked to convey the general idea of a fight and relied heavily on the audience’s suspension of disbelief.

      It’s an expected shortcoming in low-budget hometown theater… a lot less forgivable on the world’s best TV show.

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    110. Yung Wolf,

      It’s not the art, it’s the fighter. Young, big, strong, fast, vicious males have the edge regardless of art or discipline. Traditional martial arts are part of what the fabled (but possibly overrated) Bruce Lee called ‘that classical mess.’ Both the Hound and Ramsay are, I believe, in the books described as being rather unskilled thugs who were nevertheless effective because they fought like berserkers. If memory serves, Ramsay had a cleaver instead of a sword. No Valyrian steel for him!

      Yeah, traditional martial arts might be good for heart, body, and mind, but they may or may not be effective. Boxing philosopher Mike Tyson once opined “Everybody has a strategy until they get punched in the mouth.” Gotta love him.

      As has been observed several times in GoT, there’s a difference between rule-based tournament fighting and the balls-to-the-wall real thing. Bronn knocked Jaime on his ass with his own hand. The pirates were unimpressed by Tyrion’s impromptu claim that Jorah bested Jaime in a tournament. Hearing that Jorah defeated a Dothraki bloodrider in single combat got their attention though.

      You can bet The Mountain never did a Kata (choreographed forms), and a Dothraki bloodrider never ranked his prowess by belts ‘earned’ in a storefront dojo. The show Thenns never argued about which art is best, and Thormund Giantsbane never did cheerleader splits to improve his spinning back kicks.

      I always wondered (and thankfully this was never put to the test): if someone attacked me with a broken bottle in a bar, is jumping up, spinning around, and trying to kick him in the face with the back of my heel really the best option?

      Jesus, even the Faceless Men would tell ya that’s just stupid.

      Yet, such kicks were what I spent hours practicing back in the day. Ironically, my instructors said in a real fight, never try to kick higher than someone’s waist (read: nuts).

      My credentials: Tae kwon do (three years) and a torn ACL (ow!) from six weeks of judo.

      Best martial arts book ever: ‘The Bouncer’s Guide to Barroom Brawling.”

      As for the show Sand Snakes: God they’re cute, for fuck’s sake.

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    111. Cock Merchant:
      Similarly the fight scene: Why where they there at that place at that time? What did they try to accomplish?

      In the books, Myrcella needs to stay alive because the plan to start a war is to name her Queen. On the show, Ellaria says she wants to send her back to Cersei piece by piece. So… she wants to kill her. So… why are they trying to kidnap her? The scene would have had a lot more tension if the Sand Snakes were there to kill her not abduct her. The fight could turn into Jaime trying to protect Myrcella instead of take her until the guards show up once he realizes their intentions. The Sand Snakes don’t need any plan beyond getting to Myrcella and kill her so their end of things makes more sense. But really… what was to stop Ellaria from just walking up and knifing Myrcella whenever she wanted? They changed something from the books but did not think through the consequences of it. If her plan isn’t to kill her then they really dropped the ball explaining her intentions.

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    112. Rodrik the Reader,

      I love this post. I like the usage of the Tyson quote and that you used the term “storefront dojo” too. *cough cough* Nymeria *cough cough*

      Grappling is awesome and very street-applicable. Wrestling, Judo, BJJ, and Sambo are all amazing disciplines. You honestly don’t even need to throw a single strike once you become proficient at them, and the average person doesn’t know how to defend it at all.

      It’s definitely a good way to be sore and injured constantly, though. But that’s just the price you pay. If you aren’t sore or injured from time to time, it really isn’t worth it.

      TKD has its purpose, too. Leg kicks can be effective when used correctly, and your average person certainly doesn’t know how to check them. Of course you don’t want to kick higher than the legs because you run the risk of slipping and ending up on your back or having your kick caught, which wouldn’t be ideal in a fight — especially against multiple opponents.

      I’ll be checking out that book that you mentioned.

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    113. Tyrion Pimpslap,

      How do we know that they weren’t planning on crowning her? It seems really suspicious that they didn’t just kill Myrcella when they had the chance. Why would Nym grab her and try to run off with her when all she had to do was cut her right there? It’s possible that there’s more going on here. Hopefully we’ll find out this week.

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    114. Dame of Mercia,

      the reason ur looking for is that Trystan martell will replace Aegon according to my point of view. It would be too difficult to explain to viewers all the blackfyre history , coz aegon is a blackfyre.

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    115. Leuf,
      Darren,

      Ellaria’s intentions (and that of the Sand Snakes) were frustratingly vague. Especially if we only go by dialogue and actions on the show itself. One minute Ellaria is talking about carving pieces from Myrcella to send a message, the next we have Nym trying to drag the girl away somewhere rather than immediately drive a dagger through her heart. Do they want war or not? Surely a straight up assassination would achieve that goal.

      It’s confusing and doesn’t do their ‘quest objectives’ or believability any good in terms of us taking their threats or agenda seriously.

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    116. Rodrik the Reader,

      A very intersting and down to earth comment. Thank you for that. GOT has a lot of fights and I find each one of them fascinating. Some I like more some less but the fascination is there. A fight takes more or less a couple of minutes and in most of them everything happens so fast that it is almost impossible to focus on all aspects of it. The suspense is also a factor that detracts one’s attention. I agree though that the choreography of a fight is only one aspect of its success. One of the best fights in my opinion was Jon and Styr. The choreography was minimal and basically the greatest part belonged to Jon. But what made it so fascinating in the end was Styrs attitude, his posture, his rythm, his facial determinancy, his pathos. Just look the way he comes in the scene. Almost absorbing. While Jons steps look very sophisticated Styrs crude but solid movements are such a delirious antithesis to them that in the end the final result is so elegant and powerful. In the Brienne vs Hound fight, another favourite, the choreography is almost not important. It works as an introduction for the fight scene and is a nice excuse to show the wonderful landscape, which in a sense reflect the psychology of the involved parties. It works also as a kind of transition to the close ups that follow and in which as we reach to the end of it the gifht focuses on because it is them they matter. The climax of the fight is actually the leftovers of what we call a nice choreography, that is its pure brutality and dehumanising aspect. So every fight is always a package that has to do with the specific narrative , the characters it wants to depict, the emotions it wants to elicit and there are many ways of viewing each fight.

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    117. Rodrik the Reader: Boxing philosopher Mike Tyson once opined “Everybody has a strategy until they get punched in the mouth.” Gotta love him.

      Probably because no Taekwondoo fighter ever bit his testicles… then Mike would have a diffrent perspective on things.

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    118. Yung Wolf:
      pau,

      So because you’ve done some training in a couple ineffective and outdated martial arts, you’re an expert on choreography and realistic fighting?

      You are pretty rude normally, and you’re being rude now but I will answer nonetheless, for the sake of other commentators:

      They are not ineffective, to the contrary, they can’t be more effective. The treaties we study are the treaties used from the 13th up to the 19th century to teach people how to KILL, with weapons but also unarmed combat (ringen etc)

      It’s outdated now, but not in a show set in the middle ages. Obviously. Duh

      I’m an “expert” in realistic fighting with weapons because it’s what we do. We fight. With weapons. With protections. And yes, we sometimes get hurt (basically in the hands, many broken fingers etc, but also everywhere else. A sword, even without an edge, carries a lot of power)

      I’m an “expert” in choreography because its what I used to do (as a hobby). I can tell you one thing: the moment you try real HEMA you inmediatly forget about stage fighting.

      And another, my main complain about stage fighting is that it is (it should be) entertaining and exciting, but it’s VERY unrealistic, when it could very well be BOTH.
      Historical technics done well could be AMAZINGLY flashy. An even more so because you can see that they WORK, that they carry truth with them. I will try to post some links later on.

      Rodrik the Reader:
      pau,
      Where does one possibly study HEMA (I’m in the Midwest, USA). The closest I got was stage combat in college.

      Esoteric question: there’s a move I’ve never seen in movies but saw in a training video for what, I guess, you do in your fighting. The move involves kind of allowing your adversary to block a head slash, pressing his blade back, then slashing his neck as you pull your own blade back.I don’t know if that description makes sense, but the move looks cool and deadly.

      What I’ve always disdained is that swashbuckler two high cuts, two low cuts back and forth. Or, even worse, using a short Roman gladius to do the same (it’s more for close quarter thrusting, preferably over locked shields).

      Actual fights are, I think, nasty, brutish, and short. One false move with blades, and you’re dead. I envision some brief feinting, then going in for the kill. You screw up the attack, you die.

      As for the Snakes, use the whip to pull out the legs or snap the face, and use the spear for long distance poking, yes? As for dagger against sword, forget about it!

      I live in Barcelona so I wouldn’t know about the midwest specifically, although I know you can study HEMA in many places in the US.

      What you described it’s an actual technic, yes

      What you said about two high cuts, to low cuts, it’s what I dislike about stage fighting

      You are right regarding the Gladius, although actually most of the thrusts were aimed to the legs.

      Regarding actual fighting what you say could NOT be true. You could not go for the kill, screw up and die. If that was true you would not last much 🙂 What we learn is what you said on the first part of the sentence; a lot of fainting, a lot o pretending but NEVER overcommiting. That is, if you screw up your attack always have a plan to rapidly block/retreat, etc. So what I envision is actual fights (between same skill oponents, obviously. Fights between differnet skill opoponents last seconds) being quite long. A lot og going around each other, learning the moves, trying to never overcommit. Because if you do, as you say, a mistake and you’re dead

      In that aspect stamina was a huge part of the duels.

      Also, all this treaties are regarding UN-ARMOURED combat. Swords vs an armored combat is useless.

      Historically, there were many types of dueling. Judicial, sport, to the death, first blood etc. One sport that was were popular entailed the fighters to be dressed in black, and used swords with withe chalk at the end, so when one fighter would hit the other would be clear. And was King in the Mountain style (the winner stays, and more fighters come in trying to defeat him). Also depending on how many rounds you had been there you could only hit a certain part of the opponent etc, I’m talking germanic states, centuries 15th-16th.

      So the way you would approach the fight would be totally different depending if it was to the death, a street brawl or for sport. But the technics were the same, because they worked

      Regarding whip, it’s useless.

      Regarding daggers, in NONE of the treaties can you see 2 daggers. I asked the teacher of a dagger course once and told me that that would be absurd. You need your left hand to be free to do other technichs. Or use something useful for parrying, like a buckler.

      Regarding spear I’m no expert and it’s hard to find a treaty about spears in the European tradition of unarmored combat, but basically yes. You poke your opponent from afar. But at least the flashy moves were aesthetically pleasing. And close to what you would learn in eastern martial arts

      Regarding dagger vs sword, yes. You better run

      Nymeria Warrior Queen:

      Pau,

      Is the training similar to stage combat training?It sounds like you use the same weapons.What aspects of martial arts are included?I don’t mean to sound disrespectful by saying I don’t consider it a martial art, as I said it may be due to my lack of knowledge about it, which is why I asked what aspects are included.I love to learn about things I don’t know.As a bit of background, I trained pretty seriously in stage combat, stopping just short of my certification in several weapons (life got in the way ).I also hold a 3rd Dan (3rd degree black belt) in Tae Kwon Do, and I’m working toward my 4th (which will be a few more years), which is the lowest level at which one can be considered a Master (although I’ll probably never consider myself as such).

      Nymeria, I don’t want to give you a half-assed answer, so I promise I will be back to this thread over the weekend with a proper answer 🙂

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    119. Yung Wolf: And as far as HEMA goes, I don’t think it is really applicable to the 21st century.

      Thank god we are talking about a show set in the middle ages then 😉

      Rodrik the Reader: . Young, big, strong, fast, vicious males have the edge regardless of art or discipline

      I would challenge that comment. It really has a lot to do with the discipline. That maybe the case in unarmed combat, but not so much in armed one. Rapier fight is very much like dancing, and being big, strong or fast has almost no outcome on the final result vs a similarly skilled opponent which is small fast and slow, but has a bit more stamina or cool head.

      Same you could say about Longword, although in this case a very fast hit could carry the day early on, I would always bet for the more leveled headed fighter, or the one with more stamina.

      I know it’s hard to fathom but everything is different when you have a sword in your hand.

      Really, my rapier master is old, fat and “slow”, but if he wants, I don’t touch him.

      PS: Of course if the opponents are equally skilled, with the same stamina and cool, having a longer reach or being a bit faster will prevail in the long run, but that is hardly ever the case, except on tournements

      Yung Wolf:
      Nymeria Warrior Queen,

      Alright, you do that, I accept your white flag. Good debate.

      I’ll pick up the flag. I’ll let you chose any type of sword and we can duel. I would destroy you, even in the 21st Century 😉

      And now for selfish self-promotion, you can come learn about HEMA in Barcelona at our yearly event:

      http://barcelonahfm.com/welcome/

      Or just come any other time of the year for some beers and some nice GoT and HEMA discussion 😉

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    120. Pau,

      Now sports of any type have never been my strong suit. I presume that fencing has the possibility to be dangerous as competitors wear protection including face protection when they participate? When I was learning French I remember being told that the reason French playwrights such as Corneille and Racine have their battles occurring offstage is that a law had been passed in France at that time forbidding the depiction of duelling on stage because a lot of young French men of the “officer” class were being killed off in duels. Anyway, I’ll be interested in what you have to divulge to Nymeria next week.

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    121. Yung Wolf,

      Yeah, grappling’s a bitch. My training partner in judo tore my ACL without even trying to hurt me. I essentially did it to myself when our legs tangled up.

      Don’t necessarily rush out to get that book I referenced tongue in cheek. It’s one of those ‘dark knowledge’ quickies Paladin Press was notorious for some years ago.

      They even had hit man guides (Faceless Men manuals?). A female lawyer or accountant made up some stuff under a pen name, Paladin promoted it, and some schmoe bought it to kill the ex-wife or some such.

      Best advice: Study martial arts so if someone attacks you, you can run away–with confidence!

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    122. Cock Merchant,

      All of this. I had very similar criticisms of the beach scene after episode 4 aired. It’s cliche and immersion-breaking to have people standing around doing nothing except waiting to deliver exposition. The Oberyn introduction was SO much more organic that it’s hard to believe they both come from the same show.

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    123. Lady Wolfsbane,

      To your point about dumbing-down of female plots…you know, I’m not a feminist, but I agree with Laura Stone or whoever it was that said you can feel the lack of a female writer(s) in the writers’ room. The best show in recent memory was Breaking Bad, and that level of quality continued uninterrupted into season 1 of Better Call Saul. I’m also finally almost finished watching the first season of Friday Night Lights, which is quite excellent. You know what BB/BCS and FNL have in common? Multiple female writers and directors involved in the process, as well as male ones.

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    124. A Man Grown,

      Well, to be honest, when GoT had a female writer, she was regularly hated and accused of ‘not getting the source material’.

      I do agree, though, that Hollywood in general would do well to open up its male-dominated ranks.

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    125. I’d like to thank all of you for the above conversation. It takes our minds off of rapegate.

      Armchair generalship:

      Size vs. Strength vs. Speed also applies to armies. Consider Mongols/Dothraki vs. Eastern European/Westerosi knights. Essentially Oberyn vs. The Mountain writ large.

      The Mongols were unstoppable because they could outmaneuver the tanked up mounted knights. Small, quick horses. Light armor of unique design that could blunt enemy arrows. Powerful compound bows that could pick off the enemy at leisure.

      The show Dothraki have no armor and, apparently, no bows. The Unsullied just seem to have their wall of spears. Should they make it to Westeros, wouldn’t they just freeze their asses off?

      The Unsullied don’t maneuver well, from what we’ve seen. And the Dothraki would be fighting on irregular grounds (mountains, forests, snow). Plus, no siege engines.

      Aside from mopping up after the dragons, what good are they?

      Segueing into trials by combat: I don’t understand this choose your weapons business if it means differing weapons for the opponents. What are the acceptable limits of this? If it were me, I’d just chuck jars of wildfire at The Mountain.

      And none of The Mountain’s seconds checking the Red Viper’s weapons for poison would seem a glaring oversight.

      In terms of inclusiveness, it occurs to me that Brienne, Asha/Yara, Arya, Ygritte, and Osha would love these conversations. I, for one, would welcome our female warrior overlords.

      You know nothing, Rodrik the Reader!

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    126. Pau,

      We can do a best of three.

      HEMA, MMA, and a thumb war? Or maybe we can see who can outlast the other while watching the water gardens scene on repeat?

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    127. Dame of Mercia:
      Pau,

      Now sports of any type have never been my strong suit.I presume that fencing has the possibility to be dangerous as competitors wear protection including face protection when they participate? When I was learning French I remember being told that the reason French playwrights such as Corneille and Racine have their battles occurring offstage is that a law had been passed in France at that time forbidding the depiction of duelling on stage because a lot of young French men of the “officer” class were being killed off in duels.Anyway, I’ll be interested in what you have to divulge to Nymeria next week.

      Well fencing is a sport, while HEMA is not (although tournaments are held). HEMA is both a martial art, and also a historic reconstruction of the old ways of fighting through the study of the old treaties that were hidden in museums and private collections, and that thanks to the internet have been made widely available.

      The study of this treaties is very hard because of the language used (mostly old German for Longsword, and old Spanish for rapier), but also because the depiction of the technics through drawings is very poorly done (meaning done in a way that is very hard for us to understand. 2D to depict 3D etc)

      So different clubs would interpret different treaties/technichs in a different way, but through the sharing of all this interpretations we all learn. Also, we put this learnings in to practice, so when we repeatedly try to apply a Technic and is not working, we try to change our interpretation of it, it evolves, etc, so the interpretation of a Zwerchhau will vary from club to club. Also, the foot work is very, very tricky in Longsword in the Kunst des Fechtens tradition because little is said.

      A couple of links to ilustrate this, 2 interpretations of said Zwerchau:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R0tWgNbG84o

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ln94E9AGYTc

      The dudes fro Texas don’t even use real swords, which is a shame, but anyway:

      And another ling from the guys from Bratislava (Slovakia), that is trying to represent a wide variety of Technics:

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    128. At this point in the season , I feel that season 5 would only rank ahead of season 2 as terms of story and charectors. Replacing the hound , Tywin and Oberyn martell with the sand snakes doran areo hotah is at this point a huge mistake . I’m very disappointed in this season as a whole besides kill the boy none of them we’re particularly great episodes . Jesus this makes me very sad in general . Why not include lady stoneheart young griff euron greyjoy and victorion greyjoy is horrible . Brining back edmure Telly would be more fun than the sand snakes . Thoros of myr the blackfish are great charectors , I don’t even know what to say except as a whole season 5 is extremely disappointing , unless they plan on adding everyone next year I dunno if I can forgive. This treason to the original story

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    129. A Man Grown,

      Just a female editor or something – I’m NOT a feminist-type person, but there’s a lack of knowledge on how to deal with these scenes. It’s just silly.

      Actually – maybe they just need some Joss Whedon… 🙂

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    130. Yung Wolf:
      Pau,

      We can do a best of three.

      HEMA, MMA, and a thumb war? Or maybe we can see who can outlast the other while watching the water gardens scene on repeat?

      Nooooooooooo I give up 😛

      OK, this is another video, this one regarding weapon and shield fighting, were you can see Roland applying all that I just said:

      – using the treatises (I just realized I said treaties in all my posts before. It’s treatises) AND practical experience to try and guess how they fought

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dkhpqAGdZPc

      You see it got flow, it’s like a dance? (that would be minute 16 forward)

      And now another video were they got the very basics right (don’t turn, don’t raise your sword very high) but then they do it VERY wrong. Because they don’t use the old treatises, and don’t really learn anything.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xFiIDl_mt2c

      Ugh…one strikes, the other strikes, the other strikes…JUST what Roland tells us doesn’t work

      Enjoy 😉

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    131. I just did a couple of posts with links to youtube videos to illustrate my points that are awaiting moderation, I hope you enjoy them 🙂

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    132. Poor Siddig, I hope he’s able to come out unscathed from D & D’s horrendous interpretation of Dorne. Even Indira Varma has been awful this season.

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    133. Another thing that I wanna say and that it’s a HUGE difference between stage fighting and real (or HEMA) fighting is the concept Roland introduces in the minute 30 of the video, that is “Keeping the Bind”. Predicting the future through the bind. That applies to all kinds of sword fighting. You gain information by keeping your sword in contact with the other.

      Of course if your opponent is a better fencer than you, you don’t wanna do it, because he will learn more information than you will, but if you never do it you will never improve your fighting skills. So that’s basic in training but in a real life situation or in a tournament the ones trying to keep the bind are always the best fighters 😉

      PS: I think I ended up giving Nymeria a lot of half assed answers, and I hardly did any work at the office today but o well 😛 More to come

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    134. Pau,

      As you seem to know what you are talking about: wouldn’t the whip paired with a knife, as Nym was using it, be effective? I mean, you hurt and disable your oponent from afar and when you feel they are weak enough, you go in for the kill.

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    135. Lady Wolfsbane,

      Oh yeah a female editor could help too. Sometimes it’s easy to forget how crucial editors are. Breaking Bad’s editor Kelley Dixon was even the person who produced their insider podcast.

      Joss Whedon though, nah, not a fan.

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    136. Pau,

      Really good posts, and I take back what I said about your original one… Except for the Wushu. I’m still not sold on that. 😛

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    137. Yung Wolf:
      Pau,

      Really good posts, and I take back what I said about your original one… Except for the Wushu. I’m still not sold on that.

      Me neither!!! Why do you think I changed?

      Any boxer or mma fighter would destroy a wushu practitioner.

      As I said there are also treatises about unarmed combat in the european tradition called Ringen, very akin to wrestling. But I know (almost) nothing about it

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    138. Rodrik the Reader,

      I loved your response. There’s a huge difference between much of what is practiced on the Do Jang floor and practical application. Ideally, one learns both. I’m incredibly fortunate in that my Grand Master grew up in Korea, and among other things spent several years training troops from the US and South Korean military, so we get a great mix of the traditional with the practical (he also incorporates techniques from other disciplines, specifically Judo). I’ve only had to use my skills once in a real-life situation, and they served me well. It is my hope I’ll never have to use them in that way, again, as I hope I am never in the position of having to defend myself from attack, again. I would say experience in tournament sparring definitely helped me in that situation, in that all the sparring helped take the techniques I’d learned from the theoretical to the instinctual, especially in terms of the defense aspect of it.

      btw – No, if someone came after you with a broken bottle, a spinning back kick wouldn’t do you much good…hahaha.

      Pau,

      Your response was anything but half-assed. It will be a great primer, so when you go into more detail, I’ll have a better foundation from which to understand it. I may not have time to get to the videos until the weekend, but I look forward to them. Thanks. I’ll also say I especially loved your comment about stamina and keeping a cool head.

      Back on the topic of the SS fight scene, I can’t help but wonder what the fight looked like before it was edited. One of the biggest problems I had with it was how it was cut. I can speak to Obara’s use of her spear to some extent, in that I have some experience with Joong Bong (Bo staff), but never against anything but another Joong Bong. I know nothing about the whip, although it seems more for visuals than anything practical, and agree daggers against a sword = dead dagger-wielder. Still, though, I can’t help but wonder if much of what made it not work as well as it could have, even with the more unrealistic elements, was the editing.

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    139. RandomSand:
      Pau,

      As you seem to know what you are talking about: wouldn’t the whip paired with a knife, as Nym was using it, be effective? I mean, you hurt and disable your oponent from afar and when you feel they are weak enough, you go in for the kill.

      Short answer would be no.

      Medium-length answer would be a whip is useless againts anything else other than animals or slaves, imagine againts an armed oponent. It would be a hindrance, really. She would be better off with just the knife

      Can’t give you the long answer as I’m on the phone

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    140. Nymeria Warrior Queen,

      The problem is the dojo business model in America.

      Both my Grandmaster and his chief instructor were Korean-born and very hardcore. I wouldn’t recommend messing with them.

      They both started out scrubbing the floors of their dojos back in Korea (just like Arya in The House of Black and White).

      In America, though, the hardcore approach gave way to ‘fun for the whole family’. Lotsa air punching and kicking and yelling was indeed fun and a hell of a workout.

      And, yes, the upper belt young folks were quite formidable. And yet… and yet… many of us burned out because we got tired of the aerobic dance for kids approach.

      The higher level forms require immense flexibility, and one can’t get the torque and height required with the growing stiffness of adulthood. Van Damme (spelling?) started doing those splits while young. I didn’t, so… ow!

      A basic kick or punch hurts. Any practice doing so prepares one for fighting. The commercial TKD approach means learning the art part more so than the martial part of martial arts. It’s a way for Koreans to make money and pass along a little bit of their culture. No real harm done unless one overdevelops a false sense of security.

      I still might be at it, however, had I not blown out my ACL.

      Finally: glad you kicked some ass and lived to fight another day!

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    141. Rodrik the Reader,

      While I agree with you regarding the general business model for martial arts studios in the US, which we tend to refer to, at least in terms of TKD, as McDoJangs, ours is much more focused on the traditional means of training. It’s one of the reasons, I suspect, ours is so small. Most people who just want a work out don’t last long at our Do Jang, since it’s modeled after how our Grand Master grew up training, as opposed to some belt-factory. I’d also guess his time training the military makes his approach a bit different, too.

      I will disagree with you on the flexibility comment. While, yes, it is natural to lose some flexibility as one gets older, that is not the case with everyone. Maybe it is a matter of how young one was when they started stretching, I don’t know. In truth, though, I’m actually not a good person to discuss that, since I’m kind of freakishly flexible and have been all my life.

      Back to agreeing, in terms of someone thinking they’re invincible, that is so dangerous. In fact, that’s one of the fastest ways to get your butt kicked…overestimating yourself, or underestimating your opponent. One of my favorite things to do is go up against a male, and one who is much bigger than I. I also like going up against kids in their teens and early 20s, since they tend to naturally have greater speed and stamina. Not only does all that keep me humble, should I ever think too highly of myself, it also helps me learn to deal with a variety of opponents.

      btw – I didn’t kick any ass. I did as I was taught…disabled my opponent as quickly as possible, and then removed myself from the situation.

      Anyway, I appreciate your perspective, and I’m really sorry to hear about your knee. I tore my MCL a few years ago whilst sparring, and while it’s healed, it just isn’t the same as it was before the injury, and I can’t spar nearly as much as in the past. Fortunately, though, I’ve avoided the broken ribs, nose, and other injuries some of the other folks I know have sustained.

      I feel like I’m getting a little too social here, and thus veering from the topic (I’d only stated my background as a means of giving Pau some frame for why I was asking him the questions I was, and it seemed to take on a life of its own). I’ve really enjoyed reading your thoughts, though, and look forward to reading more of your posts in the future. 🙂

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    142. Nymeria Warrior Queen,

      Yup, it’s time to bring this thread back on point. With that in mind: I think a year in your do jang pre-filming would have done those SS actresses a world of good. Or, better yet, just scour Spanish fight academies for gals with that Michelle Rodriguez vibe and Pedro Pascal sound.

      Failing that, if the snakes fight veiled, appropriate stunt women surely could’ve been found. Even better, bring back helmets for the guys fighting and let stuntmen bust a move!

        Quote  Reply

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