Could the divisive ending of Game of Thrones benefit House of the Dragon? – a video essay

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The recent two year anniversary of the Game of Thrones finale got me thinking about how the fandom’s relationship with the world of Westeros has changed since HBO first announced that they would be producing spinoffs … and how that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Are you excited for House of the Dragon? Tell us your thoughts below.

895 Comments

  1. Holy crap, Petra – this is so well put together, and such a great and astute analysis. I expect nothing less! Bravo!

  2. I have similar thoughts as well. If the story can stand on its own merit, create compelling, complex, and interesting characters with engaging stories that result in viewer investment, it can form its own audience who are here for this particular story (even though we also know how HotD itself going to end — the story itself and how the writers flesh it out can be compelling, especially because the source material provides space to add and fill out characters into human beings). I think that it happens 200 years prior to the events of ASOIAF may help as well.

    I think my favourite prequel idea is Nymeria because it deals with a lesser known area of this history but still a legendary story. Still, again, I think HotD has a lot of potential to be done well and allow for fleshing out of characters described in the fairly dry terms of in-universe history texts. While the bare bones of the narrative are available for all to see, there’s creative freedom as well.

  3. Thanks Petra. First, I enjoyed watching your video format instead of reading an article. I enjoyed the animations.

    Regarding knowing how it ends, I think I’ll be able to separate the events in GOT from what we see in the prequel. There have been many movies with alternate time lines (the Chris Pine Star Trek for example). Because I’m a sci-fi geek, I know I won’t be tied to thinking about how it ended on the show for Dany and the Targaryen line.

    I thought introducing the Crows early in Shadow and Bone was brilliant. What hooks people in are good characters. The Crows were well developed in the show and my favorite part of the 1st season. I did not read the books, so it definitely worked for me. I read some of the novella’s related to HoTd, but I haven’t delved into GRRM’s Fire & Blood. It’s hard for me to get into that style of narration. And I’m bad at remembering history details, which is why I wasn’t a history major. So I think I will be coming from a non book perspective as the show introduces the characters.

    I have delved into many other fantasy sci-fi shows since GOT, and I can say GOT is by far superior in dialogue, special effects, music, character development, and more. I just finished watching Cursed (for example). I enjoyed many aspects of the show, but many others were just laughable compared to the level of expertise offered by the GOT team. I’m hoping HoTD does keep all of those elements, such as costume design, music, writing, acting, battle sequence attention to detail, and so much more. When you look at how battles were staged in shows like Cursed, it makes you appreciate GOT so much more. I hope these elements get carried over. I think they are off to a good start with the main cast. I agree with you that the show is more likely to stand on its own, since there was such a backlash. I’m looking forward to anxiously awaiting the next episode like I did with GOT.

  4. I am exited, yes.
    I always saw the threat of fire being represented by revenge. We already saw the consequences of revenge in ASOIAF. We will see it pretty well when “fire will reign”.
    As for the rest, I am sure the story is not quite as the maesters wrote it in the history books. It never is.

  5. David Rosenblatt:
    Holy crap, Petra – this is so well put together, and such a great and astute analysis. I expect nothing less! Bravo!

    (Here was my reaction after watching Petra’s video essay but before reading your comment):

    Wow, Petra, brilli*nt video essay! Fantastic speaking voice; perfect diction. (Petra… you ought to narrate audio books. I’m serious.)

  6. So, before I watch your video I have to admit that I’m a little worried already because this show has to accomplish two things in order to survive:
    1. It has to stand on its on, in an era of constant remakes and reboots and such, HoTD desperately needs to prove the audience why this amazing storyline has to be told, that it isn’t another “cash grab”.
    2. And yet, at the same time, it has to, somehow, redeem seasons 7 and 8, which is gonna be hard because…well, they were not good (I’m being really diplomatic here lol).

    The thing is, GoT was the biggest show on Earth, everyone adored it and then, after season 8, it kind of disappeared, now they need to rely on the show fans and book fans alike to have a strong fanbase and I already see that they are making a lot of changes with the storyline, some of them I find nice (Velaryons being black or the Velaryon sigil) but others… They made me scrath my head in disbelief, not gonna lie, like giving the role of a complex and dynamic 40 year old woman in absolute power -Alicent Hightower- to a twenty something year old (and surely extremely talented) actress, its agism at its finest.

  7. Btw, Great video Petra, as always you bring really good points.

    As you said, another one of the biggest issues they have to face is that…well… House Targaryen is fully gone so why does it matter? And I think this is good for HoTD because at the end, you end up hating the Targaryens so much that you just wanna see them gone for good, so HoTD may justify why the Targaryens needed to disappear.

    Still mad about the agism though, that one still hurts, but nothing against Olivia Cooke,I’m sure she’ll be outstanding.

  8. OberonYronwood,

    While I believe Petra addresses your concerns in the video essay, I think HotD needs to set itself apart as a separate show with hooks of its own rather than trying to make up for anything or rely on an existing audience. In treading carefully so I don’t start a GoT fight, I don’t think it can (or should) make up for anything. I think it can, though, establish itself as an individual show so the audience is there for these stories and are invested in these characters. How the stories of Alicent, Rhaenyra, etc. conclude are already known since that’s already published but I think the journey, making these characters human, and stories compelling would be what counts.

    They made me scrath my head in disbelief, not gonna lie, like giving the role of a complex and dynamic 40 year old woman in absolute power -Alicent Hightower- to a twenty something year old (and surely extremely talented) actress, its agism at its finest.

    I don’t know if it’s agism, I don’t believe we know how old Alicent is when we start the show? Born in 88 AC, I think she is 23 when she and Rhaenyra wear their respective black vs. green clothes. Perhaps they may jump back and forth throughout the timeline, showing a younger Alicent? I think it may be easier (via make-up) to age up a younger actress than to age down an older one.

  9. OberonYronwood: And I think this is good for HoTD because at the end, you end up hating the Targaryens so much that you just wanna see them gone for good, so HoTD may justify why the Targaryens needed to disappear.

    I’m sorry to reply to another message! It’s not only Targaryens who behave badly (and not all Targaryens do in this story, such as Helaena and Rhaenyra’s kids), other families and non-Targ individuals do in this world do as well. Like some of the

    dragonseeds and their grab for power, Cole, Mysaria,

    and noble families (namely the Hightowers), who

    kick this conflict into high gear in the first place because of their desire for power.

    All these families are in the struggle for power and dominance while I’d argue the responsibility for starting this conflict in the first place is on

    the Hightowers. Otto pushed for Viserys to name Rhaenyra as heir in order to prevent Daemon from inheriting the crown. When Viserys does name Rhaenyra his heir in reaction to Daemon’s cruel remarks about Aemma and her deceased son by Viserys, Viserys makes Rhaenyra heir in a public ceremony. However, Otto’s daughter Alicent marries the king and bears him a son so suddenly, Otto’s tune entirely changes. Viserys refuses to change his will, despite Otto and Alicent pushing, and when Viserys dies, they hide his death, defy Viserys’s will, put Alicent’s son Aegon on the throne, and that starts off this entire conflict.

    Alicent wasn’t exactly a peach 🙂 For instance, when her son Aemond, ambushes a city, her reaction is, “Good!”

  10. The biggest issue is, will there be any story? A huge problem with prequels (as Star Wars illustrated beautifully/horrifically) is that they are constrained by plots that were created as backdrop for a completely different story. So, instead of having the beginning & end of the plot(s) constructed around some story, they will have to try to shoehorn a story into some constrained beginning & end.

    Nobody has successfully pulled this off yet. That doesn’t mean that it’s impossible, but good old Bayesian priors are heavily in favor of this being all-plot-and-no-story.

  11. OberonYronwood,

    It was the most in demand show of 2020 HBO just released it’s top ten watched shows and GOT was number 3. Just because you didn’t like season 7 or 8 doesn’t mean they need saving. Both those seasons killed it wth viewers. Season 7 is in the high 90s on rotten tomatoes. Both season 7 and 8 won best drama of the year.

  12. Wimsey,

    Well, there is a full narrative already published — which I think goes to one of GRRM’s strengths in world-building (and weaknesses because he seems to get sidetracked expanding his world and the stories of secondary/tertiary/etc. characters, which he’s spoken about in a few SSMs). GRRM isn’t the most… well, efficient writer… and I don’t know if there’s that same kind of constraint. Constraint doesn’t seem to be a GRRM issue 😉

    He has written out histories and gone off on many, many tangents, which I think contribute to him being sidetracked — but they don’t seem to be simply backdrops but to give real history to the world he’s building, something he seems to enjoy doing and exploring in its own right. He appears to really like bringing in new characters and developing/looking at their stories/motives/feelings/traits, etc. I think there’s a lot of potential for that in HotD. Even as written, Dunk & Egg became its own thing too and that was written from character POVs.

    When fully fleshed out, I think the prequels can work on their own. Some speak to specific interests GRRM has had (like that Fleabottom spin-off). I don’t think it’s all plot and no story but I think it’d be up to these writers to put meat on the bones of this story. What we have, currently, are in-universe textbooks told by characters with their own biases and preferences. As Iul said, some events may be a case of “the story is not quite as the maesters wrote it in the history books. It never is,” which could also provide story.

  13. Adrianacandle,

    Regarding going off on tangents, I think GRRM does a great job in the novella format writing concise stories. I just finished another Dunk and Egg novella. He tells wonderful stories, and they have a definite beginning, middle and end all within less than 200 pages. Characters are well developed, and I feel immersed in Dunk’s hedge knight world. I know they are working on a Dunk & Egg prequel series as well. If they only want to stick to the novellas, each novella could be done in three episodes (for example). If they find decent writers, they could take the Dunk & Egg premise and write self contained episodes each week where Dunk visits a new town and situation.

    Since this thread is on HoTD, I do think it helps that the basics of the story have been mapped out by GRRM. But as you said, the Maester’s view of history may very well be distorted from reality. So the writers still have freedom. I do think having a roadmap will avoid the pitfalls of what occurred in GOT when they had to go it on their own after they ran out of book material. We can debate whether GRRM gave them a roadmap for GOT. But since GRRM is a gardener, roads taken can change as the writing process continues.

  14. Tron79: Regarding going off on tangents, I think GRRM does a great job in the novella format writing concise stories. I just finished another Dunk and Egg novella. He tells wonderful stories, and they have a definite beginning, middle and end all within less than 200 pages. Characters are well developed, and I feel immersed in Dunk’s hedge knight world. I know they are working on a Dunk & Egg prequel series as well. If they only want to stick to the novellas, each novella could be done in three episodes (for example). If they find decent writers, they could take the Dunk & Egg premise and write self contained episodes each week where Dunk visits a new town and situation.

    That’s true and I recall the stories being more focused and limited in characters. I think Dunk & Egg is a good example of GRRM developing these stories as narratives that one can get invested in on an individual basis with developed characters, motives, and storylines while being part of that ASOIAF world.

    I agree regarding HotD. I was able to get into the novellas themselves but I do understand that kind of social studies history text is quite a bit drier. However, yes, because of Maester Yandel’s bias and events being told from what is reported/perceived (which is different from the truth) and different accounts of the same event conflicting within these texts, there is opportunity for that creative freedom and exploring what “really” happened 🙂

    Yes, as for GRRM being a gardener and being swept up in the details/secondary/tertiary characters, he said:

    I won’t say the plotlines have diverged, but the process of getting from here to there has taken more time and more pages than I initially estimated… perhaps because I found the places and people I encountered along the way so interesting. The secondary and tertiary characters are largely to blame, the spearcarriers who keep insisting that they’re human too, when all I want them to do is stand there and be quiet and hold that spear. Yes, some of my initial plans have changed along the way. If they hadn’t, I would just be connecting the dots, and that would drive me mad. Some writers are architects and some are gardeners, and I am in the second camp. The tale takes on a life of its own in the writing.

    Essentially I know the big stuff, but a lot of little stuff occurs in the course of the writing. And of course some of the little stuff is very, very important. The devil is in the details. The devil is what makes the journey more than just an outline or a Cliff’s Notes kind of experience.

    This may explain both why GRRM’s world is so full with such extensive histories and characters but also his challenges with completion.

  15. Correction!

    The Princess and the Queen and The Rogue Prince were both in-universe documentations written by Archmaester Gyldayn, not Maester Yandel 🙂

    However, not to get too far off topic from HotD but something that can work in its benefit: while GRRM has said that he and D&D went over his plans for each main character extensively in a three-day story conference, what that looks like, we don’t really know. ASOIAF is a very involved and complex story and while GRRM knows the more major things that have happened and where he wants to go, he explains being swept up with details/secondary/tertiary characters along the way and adding more in between points — things that are harder to adapt because of medium/time constraints but details that may make a bigger difference later on (“butterfly effect”). Yet I don’t think he’s got all the in-between stuff figured out per his gardener style.

    However, with HotD, the opposite may occur — what we have is a dry, matter-of-fact account with a fully laid out narrative, yet with some disagreement between the maesters over what actually happened. A bit like real-world history books. I think this provides the writers creative freedom and opportunity for fleshing out characters/details, exploration of the truth, and further development. Giving characters their own senses of humour, what kind of humour they have, how they react and arrive at decisions, quirks, traits, the stuff that makes individuals… individuals… rather than simply historical figures.

  16. OberonYronwood:

    2. And yet, at the same time, it has to, somehow, redeem seasons 7 and 8 , which is gonna be hard because…well, they were not good (I’m being really diplomatic here lol).

    This is something that really confuses me… when S7 came out, it was loved by majority. Episodes all had high ratings on IMDB and I don’t think there was any controversy circling around among the fandom… but since S8 ended, S7 is now hated among firm portion of fandom. There’s some “general consensus” among certain fandom now that GoT “got terrible” with S7 and I don’t get how is it possible then that S7 was so well-recepted when it got released but then reception made 180 turn after the show wrapped up.

    As for me, I loved both S7 and S8 and HotD doesn’t need to “redeem” them in any way at all for me because I had very little issues with them. In fact I actually look at S7/S8 as one 13-episodes long season and the pace flows much nicer for me that way (especially considering S7/S8 were originally meant to be one 10-episode season). S7/S8 combined are my 3rd favorite season overall (S6 being my favorite and S4 my second favorite).

    Something I do hope HotD will “imprint” among audience is firmly showing the darker side of the dragons and of course Targaryens. In GoT, dragons were “magical”… the way they were shown on screen for majority of the time, there was always this “otherworldly” atmosphere and heroic soundtracks… a contrast to the horror-toned White Walkers. Even when they burned antagonists and ships, there was usually this “triumphant feeling”, this feeling of admiration sparked among audience. It was not until last two seasons when we started truly seeing the darker “mass destruction” side of the dragons when they’re under people’s control. “The Spoils of War” already had a different tone when it came to burning Lannister army than Battle for Meereen for example and of course, The Bells took it to next level. I feel HotD has more chance to imprint this in audience’s minds how dangerous can the use of dragons under powerful person’s hand be and it may be “easier to swallow” because the characters may not be as heroically portrayed as Dany was from get-go.

  17. Erik, formerly Lord Parramandas: I feel HotD has more chance to imprint this in audience’s minds how dangerous can the use of dragons under powerful person’s hand be and it may be “easier to swallow” because the characters may not be as heroically portrayed as Dany was from get-go.

    Many of the characters in HotD (Targaryen or no) do pretty atrocious things in HotD (with the exception of Haleana, her children, and Rhaenyra’s children, and perhaps Nettles, who faithfully and loyally served Rhaenyra).

    Yet, I think it’s important to note that it is not only the Targaryens who warred for power and utilized dragons in battles — the Hightowers are the driving force behind the Greens and their goal is power. They too utilized dragons with Alicent’s sons, with Aemond being particularly cruel. I’d also argue the Hightowers are responsible for kicking off this entire conflict because they wanted power for themselves, ignoring the King’s will since it no loner suited their purposes (Otto switches from Team Rhaenyra to Team Aegon because that would consolidate power to his family line). Many non-Targs in this story perform cruel actions to get power or influence those in power. There are also Targs who are innocent and victims.

    I don’t think this is so much about showing the darker side of Targaryens specifically but individuals warring for power regardless of name — and hopefully fleshing out these motive and making them into relatable characters with some sympathies.

    But I think it’d be a mistake to generalize Targaryens. Of generalizing families, GRRM has said this:

    But I think it is a mistake to generalize about ‘the Westerlings,” just as it would be to generalize about “the Lannisters.” Members of the same family have very different characters, desires, and ways of looking at the world… and there are secrets within families as well.

    And I’d say this is true of the characters in HotD too: Targaryen, half-Targaryen, lowborn, highborn, and of all families.

  18. Adrianacandle: Well, there is a full narrative already published — which I think goes to one of GRRM’s strengths in world-building

    Right: but my point is that this is the problem, not an advantage. GRRM created a faux history in which the big events are not outcomes of culminating choices of protagonists. That is the heart of post-18th century storytelling. Now, you can make a faux documentary out of a faux history: but documentaries are not stories.

    Criticisms of the final season ran the board. Obviously, a lot of the criticisms from fans were the spoiled-grapes variety: long held conspiracy-theory level beliefs about Littlefinger or Varys or Winterfell or Azor-Ahai or dragons or Dominion Voting or whatever didn’t happen. But the biggest criticisms from the general public centered on the arbitrariness of it. Visually spectacular though the Battle of Winterfell was, the conclusion and motivations were divorced from the story just as the conclusion and motivations of major battles in real wars would be from any story in a historical fiction encompassing those wars. As much like Nagasaki or Dresden the Battle of Kings Landing was, it still was divorced from (or at best loosely linked to) the story as those Nagasaki or Dresden would be from any story in a historical fiction encompassing those events. And when we cut the chaff on the myriad ways that people tried to phrase their dissatisfaction, it all came back to the same things: 8 years of dynamic development and story were just ignored.

    (This almost certainly ties in the the other issue being discussed here: GRRM’s turgid writing pace. GRRM himself almost certainly has not connected these important plot points to the story, or has long-ago realized that the ways he intended to do so do not actually work.)

    Color me skeptical, but I cannot think that this will be any more successful. At the end of each season & the whole series, there will be major plot culminations just as there was in the original series. However, unlike the first 7 seasons, the prequel events will be like those of the last season: just things that happen rather than major points of clarification or asymptotes in how the protagonists are evolving as individuals. After all: we already know (or can learn if you want to read GRRM’s faux-histories) what those events are!

  19. Adrianacandle,

    I know it’s not just the Targaryens who commit terrible stuff. In fact, I’m happy that HotD actually explores Great Houses that weren’t prominent during War of the Five Kings like Hightowers and Velaryons… I think I even mentioned that once. But I’m glad that with House of the Dragons, Targaryens and dragons alike will be part of this “wheel” for majority of the story and I hope no “character worshipping” will form, like it (either unintentionally or intentionally) did among large part of the audience with Dany and I’m sure dragons and “badass speeches” combined with Ramin Djawadi’s soundtrack contributed a lot to that. Being a secret Targaryen (Jon) ended up being a “badass thing” among audience, a big step towards “hype for Targaryen restoration” like Targaryens indeed had some “divine right to rule”… well, until being a secret Targaryen became a big reason for the events leading up to The Bells and the pill became hard to swallow. This is something that I hope HotD won’t fall into even though having a twisted ensemble cast of characters is a risky move in terms of having “casual audience”.

    Of course like you said yourself, we only have a “history book” as source material here and we don’t know which characters will turn out to be more sympathetic when actual story takes place on screen. I definitely think Hightowers will be quite dark and power-hungry… when I saw first image of Alicent, she gave me Anne Boleyn vibe from The Tudors TV show and that kind of makes me think the character might be quite “twisted”.

  20. Wimsey: Color me skeptical, but I cannot think that this will be any more successful. At the end of each season & the whole series, there will be major plot culminations just as there was in the original series. However, unlike the first 7 seasons, the prequel events will be like those of the last season: just things that happen rather than major points of clarification or asymptotes in how the protagonists are evolving as individuals. After all: we already know (or can learn if you want to read GRRM’s faux-histories) what those events are!

    I truly don’t want to get into a s8 fight so I’ll focus on HotD: I have read these faux histories and the mini novels. I’m not sure if you have but they don’t feel like things that just happen or simply a backdrop for another story or faux history created for the sake of faux history. They feel like its own story with characters who do make choices influencing and creating the narrative that bring about a conclusion/conclusions. I would argue that there certainly is development within this particular story as well as a narrative that includes big events which are the outcomes of the protagonists’ culminating choices — Alicent, Otto, Viserys, Rhaenyra.

    As for us knowing what these events already are, I don’t think that’s a problem. I think that makes this an adaptation into another medium and may be a good thing because there’s a road map. The story itself is written as a few in-universe texts and I think it would be up to the writers to flesh out the characters and make them compelling characters. Even as it is now, there are arguments and disagreement over which characters were responsible for what in this story.

    This almost certainly ties in the the other issue being discussed here: GRRM’s turgid writing pace. GRRM himself almost certainly has not connected these important plot points to the story, or has long-ago realized that the ways he intended to do so do not actually work.

    I can’t speak to the certainty of anything. I do think GRRM’s focus on side-plots, secondary/tertiary characters did get away from him though and blew the story up into something overwhelming with even more plotlines and characters to resolve, more things to tie together into a cohesive narrative. And with his writing and rewriting and writing, it feels to me he may be a bit of a perfectionist. Yet with this, I don’t think there’s that issue. The basic narrative is established with some mystery over what really happened.

  21. Wimsey,

    ”…Nobody has successfully pulled this off yet. That doesn’t mean that it’s impossible, but good old Bayesian priors are heavily in favor of this being all-plot-and-no-story.”

    I tried looking up “Bayesian” in the context of your comment, but I’m not sure I understand what “Bayesian priors” means.
    (Google says “Bayesian philosophy is based on the idea that more may be known about a physical situation than is contained in the data from a single experiment.” I’m not sure that applies…) 🤥

  22. Erik, formerly Lord Parramandas,

    I for one never anticipated a Targaryen restoration (I didn’t care who ends up on the Iron Throne) but I think there’s a good chance there are going to be fans of any character/group if the story does its job and audience members get invested in the story and characters’ struggles. In HotD, it depends on how relatable and sympathetic they make these characters to the audience, which would result in investment. If they can be made relatable, fans will probably root for one over another. Even the Starks brutally conquered the North, forcing (and eliminating) entire lines into submission in the process and warred for thousands of years. That’s kind of the trouble with this system of monarchy — those struggles for power and the devastation these wars bring. The smallfolk who get hurt most of all but whose POV seems the be the most limited in ASOIAF and Fire & Blood both.

    And as I said above, I don’t want to get into another s8 fight — I know you liked it and I respect that. There still may be those speeches, epic music, etc. However, unlike GoT, HotD’s entire narrative is known for those interested. And yes, the characters are twisted — but I also think they need to be made human to for the audience to invest in.

    For instance, Breaking Bad has quite the ensemble of twisted characters — but characters who one can get really invested in still.

    I definitely think Hightowers will be quite dark and power-hungry… when I saw first image of Alicent, she gave me Anne Boleyn vibe from The Tudors TV show and that kind of makes me think the character might be quite “twisted”.

    I got those same vibes! 🙂

  23. Tron79,

    Thanks Petra. First, I enjoyed watching your video format instead of reading an article…”

    • As a general rule I prefer reading a written essay or printed transcript instead of watching a video. (Part of the reason is that audio is often faint or garbled when listening on headphones or earbuds; also, some narrators of podcasts and reviews seem to “wing it” instead of thinking through and scripting their commentary in advance.)

    I’ve got to say, Petra’s videos are an exception. They’re always a pleasure to listen to.

    • I appreciated Petra’s reference to the Dr. Who episode “Vincent and the Doctor,” i.e., Petra commented how Dr. Who’s companion, Amy, was distraught to learn that Vincent van Gogh was doomed despite their efforts to convince him of the value of his life. (As 3ER might say, van Gogh’s future was already written, the ink had already dried, or something like that.)

    Anyway, I really liked the scene [link below] when Dr. Daemon Targaryen and Nebula … I mean Dr. Who and Amy… take Vincent van Gogh for a visit to a Paris art gallery in the future – where Vincent sees an exhibition of his paintings and listens to the curator describe van Gogh as the greatest artist who ever lived.

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

    It’s a short scene and enjoyable to watch, and doesn’t require familiarity with Whovian canon.
    (I think that’s character actor Bill Nighy as the exhibition curator, and Tony Curran as van Gogh: both familiar faces from lots of other TV shows and movies.)

  24. Ten Bears: I’ve got to say, Petra’s videos are an exception. They’re always a pleasure to listen to.

    I was going to say something about this but I forgot — I agree. You’ve got a great voice and speaking style, Petra 🙂

  25. Adrianacandle,

    As you mentioned Breaking Bad, there’s this interesting bit from my own first watching of that TV show that I was actually keeping in mind when I was writing my upper comment… I first watched BB in late 2018, so years after the show stopped airing and I was already familiar with various twisted shows like GoT and The Sopranos and such. And when I was in… S2 or S3 I think, I thought to myself: “Oh, that’s very interesting way of portraying characters… they made a character who is on wrong side of the law sympathetic for the audience, but his wife, who is on right side of the law, was made unlikable for the audience. It’s very unique way of storytelling” – I was 100% sure this was all on purpose. And then after I already wrapped up the show, I was very surprised that this actually wasn’t the producers’ intention at all and that they were themselves surprised because they thought the audience would be mainly sympathizing with Skyler from get-go while despising Walt from relatively early on. And I really thought it was all done on purpose in order to “trick” audience into siding with Walt until he becomes so too far gone that it becomes impossible to do so. So I don’t know whether I should congratulate the producers for their unintentional set-up of such character tone or feel disappointed it actually wasn’t planned to unfold like that. I was thinking of exactly that when I was talking about “intentional or untentional character worshipping” above. Up to this day, I’m trying to figure out how BB producers managed to achieve such general reception of characters while planning pretty much the opposite.

  26. 🐴 ⚰️ (Beating a dead horse?)
    • I’m one of those GoT fans Petra described who has expressed concern that it may be difficult to get emotionally invested in The House of the Dragon because of the way House Targaryen ended up on S8 of GoT: extinguished.

    (S8 showed them the “B.A.D. Principle”: they were “Beaten. Annihilated. And Destroyed.” I forget where I heard this…)

    – The aspiring Breaker of the Wheel that crushed innocents instead turned into Flying Hitler, incinerating a city full of a million people for no reason – before getting shanked in the gut by her nephew/boyfriend and expiring without a whimper.

    – The secret “heir to the Iron Throne” and presumed Prince that was promised, Aegon Targaryen, never claimed his name or birthright, and disappeared into exile and anonymity. His lineage meant nothing. The secret of his Targ legitimacy; his birth father’s purported kidnap & rape vs. actual true love & elopement; the Tower of Joy R+L = J reveal; and everything else about Jon’s Targ ancestry and destiny … were all insignificant when all was said and done. To borrow Wimsey’s description: “it all came back to the same things: 8 years of dynamic development and story were just ignored.

    According to Chekhov and Stephen King, if these hung guns were never going to be fired, they should’ve been excised from the story.

    – Although I dread baby dramas, the hints about a magic ice + fire Targ baby fizzled out too: The S7 Dragonpit chatter about Dany’s fertility? Jorah telling Jon to keep Longclaw to hand down to his children? Tyrion’s insistence that Dany needed an heir? The hot and heavy boat sex during the S7 closing montage?* And (in the books, at least) the recurring theme of the union of ice and fire? All went nowhere. No Targ scion. No Targ restoration. No renewed Targ dynasty.

    No TB tinfoil scenario about widower Jon raising his firebug Targ daughter as a single father.
    *The way they left it in S8, it’s more likely that eight or nine months after sailing off in her direwolf ship, Captain Arya will join the Baratheon + Stark houses when she gives birth at sea. After all, “the seed is strong.” Jon’s seed? Not so much, apparently.

    • They may as well make a prequel about the Reynes of Castamere, or House Hollard (RIP Ser Dontos.) They’re all gone. Who cares about them or their ancestors? They too were wiped out.

    Personally, I’d rather see a prequel about the backstory and mysterious family history of a survivor of S8.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DeK8ixPBvzY
    at 2:57: “I’m a survivor.”

    • One other thing: If, as I understand it, the “Dance of the Dragons” is

    about a civil war between a Targ Queen and a Targ Princess, each resorting to ever-more gruesome ways of torturing and murdering each other’s families and followers, I’m not so sure I have an appetite for that kind of story. I already had my fill of families killing each other on GoT. More of the same would be overkill. (No pun intended.)

    I’m not saying HotD won’t be excellent TV. Just as with horror and suspense movies, and films about serial killers and heinous murders, a show with characters pursuing revenge and retaliation
    and killing each other may not be my preference. There are plenty of lighthearted shows on my Too-Watch List, like “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” and other comedies I’ve heard that are really good. Plus, I still haven’t watched “Star Trek: Picard” or “Stranger Things.” I’ve yet to see a single episode of “Breaking Bad” or “The Wire,” each of which has been praised as a great TV series that “stuck the landing”
    Besides, as another commenter noted, there are so many shows on so many platforms vying for audiences’ attention.

    And yet… I’ll surely be tuning in to watch S1e1 of HotD. I just hope that the series premiere is engrossing enough to entice short attention span, cranky viewers like me. 😠

  27. Ten Bears: The secret “heir to the Iron Throne” and presumed Prince that was promised, Aegon Targaryen, never claimed his name or birthright, and disappeared into exile and anonymity. His lineage meant nothing. The secret of his Targ legitimacy; his birth father’s purported kidnap & rape vs. actual true love & elopement; the Tower of Joy R+L = J reveal; and everything else about Jon’s Targ ancestry and destiny … were all insignificant when all was said and done.

    Well, I think both you and I can anticipate the response from pro-s8ers about this 🙂

    But here’s my issue with Jon’s lineage. I don’t think Jon’s true parentage will actually play a political role in the books. I don’t see how it can. But I think it will play out in different ways, such as in the mystical realm: the show heavily toned down the magical aspects. But in-universe to most people, Jon’s parentage would be a ridiculously hard sell. There’s no proof. Jon is widely accepted as Ned Stark’s bastard son. He has Ned’s look. The story Ned came up with is far more believable. Bastards are heavily stigmatized, viewed to be wanton, unworthy of trust, and wanting to usurp trueborn claims. If anybody claimed Jon was this secret prince that nobody ever knew existed, it would very well look like a bastard’s trick. Plus, Jon has a bad reputation in-universe: is a bastard son of an alleged traitor and he let in the wildlings. Is also known as an oathbreaker to the Watch.

    I think this speaks to Varys’s “Power resides where men believe it resides,” and in the books, Varys is raising…. Young Griff. He’s claiming to be a prince who was known to exist (Rhaegar’s eldest son), he has the right look, he’s arriving with a fresh slate, he was raised to be Varys’s ideal king.

    Instead, I think this is Young Griff’s storyline from the books. He’s way more believable as Rhegar’s elder son, has the right look, is the right age, can rally Dorne as Elia’s son, and is a fresh slate.

    In the books, I do think Jon is meant to disappear into anonymity and exile. There are a few passages that hint at it. I don’t think his parentage was ever supposed to be this victorious political thing but rather, I think it’s meant to make an impact in the mystical realm in regard to the Others.

    But with GRRM’s books, we don’t know where all that is leading to. But with HotD, as Petra mentioned, people have the ability to compartmentalize. HotD is set far enough before the events of GoT/ASOIAF and even then, HotD itself has a bleak ending.

  28. Ten Bears: One other thing: If, as I understand it, the “Dance of the Dragons” is

    about a civil war between a Targ Queen and a Targ Princess, each resorting to ever-more gruesome ways of torturing and murdering each other’s families and followers, I’m not so sure I have an appetite for that kind of story. I already had my fill of families killing each other on GoT. More of the same would be overkill. (No pun intended.)

    I understand this criticism myself — which is why I’m hoping for the writers to flesh out everything and make it more human, kind of vis a vis Breaking Bad in a way. However, this is also a reason why I find a Nymeria prequel more interesting :/

    And speaking of Breaking Bad, I must reply to Erik about that!

  29. Erik, formerly Lord Parramandas,

    I’m not sure if sympathies were planned as all that — pretty often, while writers want the audience to sympathize with character A the most, they end up sympathizing with character B. Yet, I don’t think VG intended for audience members to hate Walt from the start. He says:

    “You’re going to see that underlying humanity, even when he’s making the most devious, terrible decisions, and you need someone who has that humanity – deep down, bedrock humanity – so you say, watching this show, ‘All right, I’ll go for this ride. I don’t like what he’s doing, but I understand, and I’ll go with it for as far as it goes,’” Gilligan said [of Cranston]

    “If you don’t have a guy who gives you that, despite the greatest acting chops in the world, the show is not going to succeed. “

    “I also knew that he had this basic underlying humanity that just comes through. That kind of just beams out of his eyes or his expression,” Gilligan told The New York Times. “I don’t know where it comes from, but you just root for this guy.”

    However, I think they were surprised at the backlash over Skylar. I started to really like her once she started working with Walt and she was really considering the practicalities of their situation, how to hide this from Hank, the DEA, everything. She made sense as an accountant who’d know what to look for and I really appreciated the writers allowed Skylar’s accounting skills to play such a critical role.

    However, my favourite was always Jesse 🙂

    But I think, for the most part, audience sympathies are unpredictable and uncontrollable. If they mine the humanity behind each character, something to draw sympathy from viewers, one can understand horrible deeds like in Walter White’s case while Skylar can look like the irritating nagging wife. But whatever they did for Walter White, I hope they do for Rhaenyra, Alicent, and the rest.

  30. Tron79:
    Ten Bears,

    Touching scene. I haven’t seen many episodes with Matt Smith as the Dr.

    Not-Really Musical Interlude

    “The Starry Night,” arguably Vincent van Gogh’s most famous painting, is shown at 1:13 of the Dr. Who video clip [link embedded in my 2:41 pm comment above].

    That painting, and van Gogh’s struggles, were the subject of this song (audio and live versions follow):

    • “Vincent (Starry Starry Night)” 1972 – Don McLean [audio; 3:58 long]
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oxHnRfhDmrk

    • Don McLean “Vincent (Starry Starry Night)” live 1972 [3:57 long]

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4wrNFDxCRzU

    Though it’s not on my Perpetual Loop of songs I like to listen to, I thought I’d mention it before leaving the subject of Vincent Van Gogh.

  31. Adrianacandle: They feel like its own story with characters who do make choices influencing and creating the narrative that bring about a conclusion/conclusions

    I have read them, or parts of them: they were all plot and no story. Sure, characters made choices that led to things: but in the way that Churchill chose to bomb Dresden or Truman chose to bomb Nagasaki. But that’s not enough for a story: a story requires that there be some aspect of self-discovery/self-realization/self-actualization to such decisions, and that this moment be the culmination of parallel experiences earlier on. The TV series (seasons 1-7) did this superbly: the protagonists were stuck in “damned if you do / damned if you don’t” situations where the options were bad choices, worse choices and even worse choices. In all cases, to gain or hold on to one thing, they had to sacrifice something else.

    Now, ideally this would be a different story, and there would be some other commonality in the big life choices. (There are innumerable possibilities from which to choose.) However: instead of devising the events and outcomes for some set of story about X, they have a bunch of events and outcomes and now have to hope to find some X that fits into those events/outcomes.

  32. Adrianacandle,

    ”Well, I think both you and I can anticipate the response from pro-s8ers about this 🙂”

    Arggghhh! I screwed up the spoiler coding on that long comment. I intended to cover that reference to what I felt was

    the insignificance of Jon’s Targ parentage

    precisely to avoid reigniting the fan war; and to cover the description of

    the Targ Queen vs. Targ Princess civil war,

    though it’s not really a “spoiler” at this point.

  33. Tron79,

    6:26 pm follow-up reply to you (re: van Gogh) is stuck in Moderation Purgatory, probably because I linked two videos.

  34. Wimsey: I have read them, or parts of them: they were all plot and no story. Sure, characters made choices that led to things: but in the way that Churchill chose to bomb Dresden or Truman chose to bomb Nagasaki. But that’s not enough for a story: a story requires that there be some aspect of self-discovery/self-realization/self-actualization to such decisions, and that this moment be the culmination of parallel experiences earlier on. The TV series (seasons 1-7) did this superbly: the protagonists were stuck in “damned if you do / damned if you don’t” situations where the options were bad choices, worse choices and even worse choices. In all cases, to gain or hold on to one thing, they had to sacrifice something else.

    Now, ideally this would be a different story, and there would be some other commonality in the big life choices. (There are innumerable possibilities from which to choose.) However: instead of devising the events and outcomes for some set of story about X, they have a bunch of events and outcomes and now have to hope to find some X that fits into those events/outcomes.

    Or, as we do with historical dramas, they can take the dry in-universe texts and flesh them out with all of these things that you’ve described. Make these characters human, give them those conflicts that wouldn’t be documented in historical texts. Usually, those kinds of emotions/internal conflicts/etc. don’t make it into the history books. Plus, these accounts were written by two maesters based on perception of outside observations rather than being in these characters’ minds and seeing them up/close/& personal.

    I don’t think that’d be shoehorning though. I think that’d be breathing life into what is otherwise a historical account. Dramas flesh out the Tudors, Marie Antoinette, the Tzars, etc. I think this could be something similar.

  35. Ten Bears,

    In fairness to you, spoiler code or no, people would still click 😉 So I think all we can do is brace ourselves! But I think we can anticipate what will be said.

    Neither does he, apparently. 😬

    I honestly think he does know where he’s going! But so much is in the way. Per the above quote, he’s been swept away by side plots, secondary/tertiary characters, adding too many characters and plots, that it makes it that much more difficult to tie everything together so — and I know I’m a broken record at this point — I think he’s totally stuck.

  36. Adrianacandle,

    (Off-topic comment)

    Regarding Skyler, my opinion on her was that I obviously understood why she acted the way she did but I can say I didn’t really “like” her… whenever she was on screen, the character was causing me some sort of negative emotions and thus I really couldn’t sympathize with her. It was impossible for me to do so with the vibe this character was giving me. As for Walt, I can say I was kind of “on his side” for 4 seasons but in 5th (final) season, I realized how far gone he was and how he’s firmly in antagonist zone… so in S5, Walt became a character I really enjoyed watching his story unfold, but I was not on his side anymore then and I knew that sooner or later, things NEED to backfire on him if there’s any “justice”.

    (End of off-topic)

  37. Ten Bears: I tried looking up “Bayesian” in the context of your comment, but I’m not sure I understand what “Bayesian priors” means.

    D’oh, that really is my bad: that really is pretty obscure term. But to extend on what you looked up, what we need to look at here are prior attempts at prequels. There have been a handful, and usually in SciFi or Fantasy. The Star Wars prequel trilogy is the best known example. I’ve never seen/read one that did a good job of telling a story

    There is another aspect of priors that’s not in the Google definition, which is based on mathematical or logical models. For example, a lot of the research on COVID that you’ve seen summarized (usually pretty poorly) in the media includes mathematical priors based on “birth rates” of new strains, “death rates” of strains going locally extinct and “sampling rates” of expressed illnesses.

    Here, we’ve got something very different: literary theory. (The same theory applies to plays, TV series, movies, etc.) Modern literary theory, which dates back to Austin, Tolstoy, Hugo, etc., derives stories from character evolution, and thus creates plots that put protagonists into a series of situations that are analogous in that the put the protagonist(s) in situations where they have to go one way or another in some general sense. GRRM has talked about this: he’s particularly fond of the Faulkneresque theory in which protagonists who want to be Person Who Does A and B, and then have to do A at the expense of B or vice-versa. (For example, Daenerys is the magnanimous liberator who will stand up to her enemies: but she couldn’t be both in the end.)

    And here’s the problem: literary theory says make the story first and then the plot; so, when you do the opposite, then it’s like doing COVID research using inappropriate transmission / mutation models.

    (Incidentally, whenever you use odds to bet on which team will win a game, you basically are using a ratio of the prior probability of either team winning. To an extent, my first example is like this because prequels have a losing record compared to books & TV shows that are stand-alones or even sequels.)

  38. Adrianacandle: Well, I think both you and I can anticipate the response from pro-s8ers about this

    Would love to write a response for this if it wasn’t almost 1 am here. And as you know, my answers are always long and detailed so it takes significant time for me to write them… I guess tomorrow.

  39. Erik, formerly Lord Parramandas: Would love to write a response for this if it wasn’t almost 1 am here. And as you know, my answers are always long and detailed so it takes significant time for me to write them… I guess tomorrow.

    Erik, with all due respect, because this argument has been done again and again and again with identical points being traded back and forth, I don’t think anyone is going to change anyone else’s mind on these topics. I’ve read your thoughts on this and I appreciate them! But lines in the sand have been drawn, nobody is budging.

    That said, it’s totally up to you of course.

  40. Wimsey,

    There was nothing arbitrary about the final season. Everything that happened within the season, from the Night King’s defeat to Danerys burning down King’s Landing, to Jon stabbing Danerys in the heart, was properly set up and executed perfectly.

  41. Ten Bears,

    I don’t see why House Targaryen’s fate should stop you from connecting with some of the characters. Characters are not their House, after all.

  42. Adrianacandle,

    Some of us don’t mind continuing to discuss season 8. If it bothers you so much, you can just skip past our comments. It’s no big deal.

  43. Young Dragon: Some of us don’t mind continuing to discuss season 8. If it bothers you so much, you can just skip past our comments. It’s no big deal.

    I’m not referring to general discussion but to the same season 8 arguments had over and over, trading the same points back and forth, which can take over threads. I’m only expressing how I feel about these repeated debates that don’t really go anywhere new — occurring even in threads about the prequels. You can disregard my comments on this if you like and I wouldn’t at all be offended.

    I could be wrong but they don’t seem to bring much enjoyment but more frustration. That said, it’s not up to me of course what people want to discuss which is why I said it’s totally up to Erik.

    I suppose the same goes for the KotV stuff as well, in addition to some other topics (like the rape debates), which others have expressed exhaustion over. I try to drop the stick on those as well.

    Sometimes, I do feel compelled to join in if I feel there’s an inaccuracy, but I try to avoid doing so because of my own frustration over these same debates. That’s a me thing though.

    Nonetheless, I feel I can express frustration with these discussions as others have expressed frustrations with certain things. Another commenter expressed frustration with my off-topic chitchat that I’ve since made a serious effort to cut back on in consideration. You express objection and frustration yourself with people’s criticisms of season 8. You told Wimsey, “There was nothing arbitrary about the final season.” Well, people (including myself) can feel differently and it’s frustrating to be told we’re wrong or have an opinion pushed as fact. Yes, I’m very very glad you enjoyed season 8! But not everyone does and sometimes, it feels like there is a hair trigger response anytime somebody suggests they didn’t like season 8 or something about season 8.

    And then it goes into the same repeat cycle.

  44. “Could the divisive ending of Game of Thrones benefit House of the Dragon?”

    That’s a good question, and has spurred some lively debate here.

    If I may interject a bit of premature whining, from the set photos so far I’ve found the costumes for Alicent and Rhaenyra somewhat underwhelming.

    (Forgive me. I’m in a cranky mood. No slight against costume designer Jany Temime intended … Maybe I was spoiled by Michele Clapton).

    Here’s Alicent (Olivia Cooke in costume):

    https://pyxis.nymag.com/v1/imgs/f5c/c38/e319d69dfd88b77e56ffaf09c99dc61bc8-house-of-dragons-2.rsquare.w700.jpg

    And here’s Rhaenyra (Emma D’Arcy in costume), similar to the image at the top of Petra’s article:

    https://hips.hearstapps.com/hmg-prod.s3.amazonaws.com/images/emma-d-arcy-matt-smith-1620258602.jpg

    To me, they both look like they’re dressed in drab housecoats. Queen Alicent doesn’t look “comely.” (It’s hard to tell that’s even Olivia Cooke.)
    The Targ Princess doesn’t look very regal.

    Don’t get me wrong! I’m not complaining that they’re not dressed in skintight catsuits and stilettos like Marvel supervixens.

    Are my sensibilities warped? Am I the only one who wasn’t bowled over by the long-awaited photos of the two actors in costume?

  45. Ten Bears,

    I think I agree with you to an extent on Rhaenyra’s dress, which looks a little (to use a Project Runway term) “home sewn”. It feels too… too much like it’s been made from materials I could pick up at Fabricland or Michael’s. The richness isn’t there, nor is the medieval feel. It looks like it wants to be medieval ala Halloween fabric but isn’t authentic.

    But maybe how it moves in motion will totally transform it?

    I actually like Alicent’s styling though. Feels very Anne Boleyn and I like the colouring for her as well as the headwear.

  46. Young Dragon:
    Ten Bears,

    I don’t see why House Targaryen’s fate should stop you from connecting with some of the characters. Characters are not their House, after all.

    It’s because their legacy is empty. I’ll let Tywin explain. (From S2e7; at 1:14 – 1:32):

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9OTOiMQchKw

    Tywin: “Do you know what ‘legacy’ means? It’s what you pass down to your children. And your children’s children. It’s what remains of you when you’re gone.”

    For me, knowing that the Targaryens will have no legacy – nothing will remain of them – makes it difficult to care about their feuding ancestors.

    More dueling over which claimant gets to sit on the silly iron throne: Didn’t we just watch a whole series about that? And didn’t we already see scores of internecine power struggles, e.g., Dany vs. Viserys; Stannis vs. Renly; Ramsey vs. Roose; Sansa vs. Jon and Sansa vs. Arya [sorry]; Euron the Cackling Clown vs. Balon, and Euron the Cackling Clown vs. Yara?

    Not to mention that I already reached my DSP (Dragon Saturation Point) sometime around mid-S7 of GoT. Dragons, and people riding them, have lost their novelty.

    Besides, unless Drogon flew off with a clutch of fertilized eggs in order to hatch a new generation of baby dragons, it looks like dragons will become extinct too.
  47. Thanks for this great video essay, Petra! (And I raise Ten Bears’ statement about how you should narrate audiobooks: you should seek employment as professional voice talent in any number of fields.)

    To everyone who thinks that “knowing how it ends,” takes all of the fun out of it, I suggest you look at some actual history. Most Americans have some idea of what our Founding Fathers did, but few appreciate, say, just how nastily Jefferson and Hamilton hated each other*, or that the clause of the U.S. Constitution which requires the President (alone of all federal elected officials) to be a native-born citizen was written, in part, to keep Hamilton (who had been born on a Caribbean island) out of the top job.

    The devil is always in the details, and just because we know how it all ends does not necessarily remove any of the enjoyment from the tale. At least to this reader/viewer.

    ——

    *This caused their boss, President Washington, no small amount of heartburn. At one point, Secretary of State Jefferson thought he’d finally obtained information sufficient to get Hamilton fired from his job as Secretary of the Treasury: the husband of Hamilton’s mistress was extorting money from Hamilton to keep the affair secret. Washington, upon learning this, asked Hamilton if this personal issue had affected his performance in office, and Hamilton replied he had neither made nor changed any decisions based upon his need to keep paying blackmail money. Washington believed Hamilton, and dropped the matter entirely, much to Jefferson’s exasperation. (Jefferson’s own sexual relationship with his slave, Sally Hemings, was exposed by Hamilton, and subsequently denied by Jefferson and his white descendents for 200 years — until DNA evidence conclusively showed Jeffersonian genes in Hemings’ descendents.)

  48. OberonYronwood:
    So, before I watch your video I have to admit that I’m a little worried already because this show has to accomplish two things in order to survive:
    1. It has to stand on its on, in an era of constant remakes and reboots and such, HoTD desperately needs to prove the audience why this amazing storyline has to be told, that it isn’t another “cash grab”.
    2. And yet, at the same time, it has to, somehow, redeem seasons 7 and 8, which is gonna be hard because…well, they were not good (I’m being really diplomatic here lol).

    The thing is, GoT was the biggest show on Earth, everyone adored it and then, after season 8, it kind of disappeared, now they need to rely on the show fans and book fans alike to have a strong fanbase and I already see that they are making a lot of changes with the storyline, some of them I find nice (Velaryons being black or the Velaryon sigil) but others… They made me scrath my head in disbelief, not gonna lie, like giving the role of a complex and dynamic 40 year old woman in absolute power -Alicent Hightower- to a twenty something year old (and surely extremely talented) actress, its agism at its finest.

    This is a great post. For me at least we need to just HOTD on it’s own merits and not back to GOT. The reality is it will not have the same success, simply because GOT was the biggest show of all time. We can be optimistic because HBO know they need to get this right but I am expecting something like Better Call Saul i.e. plenty of nostalgia and head nods to the original show but something good that can stand on it’s own two feet.

  49. Adrianacandle: Erik, with all due respect, because this argument has been done again and again and again with identical points being traded back and forth, I don’t think anyone is going to change anyone else’s mind on these topics. I’ve read your thoughts on this and I appreciate them! But lines in the sand have been drawn, nobody is budging.

    That said, it’s totally up to you of course.

    When I love something, I love to respond in a way to express my appreciation, even more if there’s certain negativity surrounding it. And when I do, I love to answer in detail so there’s explicitly stated why. I love doing so and I know from my own experience from that LOST group that it can very much have an effect… not necessarily on person I’m responding to, but definitely on site/group itself. And I’m sure I WILL respond to the upper comment as soon as I get time and energy to do so. As long as I can counter something with something positive, I’ll keep doing it… over and over and over again as long as there are these kind of discussions sparking. If discussions die out, then I imagine I’ll stop doing it.

  50. Ten Bears,

    “For me, knowing that the Targaryens will have no legacy – nothing will remain of them – makes it difficult to care about their feuding ancestors.”

    I like to think that perhaps in the future when he had mourned Dany, Jon would find a Wilding lady to his liking though whether he would ever reveal his Targaryen ancestry is anyone’s guess. My fanfic is going to stay in my head – I’m not writing it down.

  51. Dame of Mercia,

    I think it’s more that the Targaryen name has died. There is still Targaryen blood floating around this world (especially in ASOIAF where you have Blackfyres, Baratheons, Velaryons, etc. — the Targaryens didn’t just marry other Targaryens but married into different branches like the Daynes, Arryns, and Blackwoods, etc. Dany has bits of all these bloodlines in her own blood). For me, I don’t think Jon would want a third go around after Ygritte and Dany (or at least not for a long, long, long time), which would haunt and grieve him, but I think being with the wildlings and Tormund is the best thing for him. They’d just let him be — not force him into positions, into battles, let him rest, give him company when he wants, leave him alone when he wants. I think Tormund is the ideal buddy for him at this point 🙂 But of course, this looks different to everyone and I guess everyone can decide it for themselves.

    That aside, while there may not be as significant a ration of Targaryen blood, there is still Targaryen blood floating around. The name itself probably would die though if Dany dies in the books and Jon is exiled (although, I don’t think Jon will hold the Targaryen name in the books either — R+L=J would be a difficult thing to swallow for Westerosi). Though… perhaps there would be more people popping up, claiming they are Targaryen ala Young Griff. And there are still probably Blackfyres around in ASOIAF too!

    The blood will always still be around but the name? That may die.

  52. On the topic of Targaryen blood and dragonseeds, I think this may be of interest. Before King Jaehaerys and Queen Alysanne ended the First Night custom, it was practiced on Dragonstone to create bastards known as “dragonseeds”:

    From The Princess and the Queen:

    Here, brides thus blessed upon their wedding nights were envied, and the children born of such unions were esteemed above all others, for the Lords of Dragonstone oft celebrated the birth of such with lavish gifts of gold and silk and land to the mother. These happy bastards were said to have been “born of dragonseed,” and in time became known simply as “seeds.” Even after the end of the right of the first night, certain Targaryens continued to dally with the daughters of innkeeps and the wives of fishermen, so seeds and the sons of seeds were plentiful on Dragonstone.

    Dragonseeds were believed to have a greater chance of taming a dragon:

    Prince Jacaerys [Rhaenyra’s son] needed more dragonriders, and more dragons, and it was to those born of dragonseed that he turned, vowing that any man who could master a dragon would be granted lands and riches and dubbed a knight. His sons would be ennobled, his daughters wed to lords, and he himself would have the honor of fighting beside the Prince of Dragonstone against the pretender Aegon II Targaryen and his treasonous supporters.

    Not all those who came forward in answer to the prince’s call were seeds, nor even the sons or grandsons of seeds. A score of the queen’s own household knights offered themselves as dragonriders, amongst them the Lord Commander of her Kingsguard, Ser Steffon Darklyn, along with squires, scullions, sailors, men-at-arms, mummers, and two maids.

    However, not all dragonseeds could tame a dragon and not all dragonriders (such as Nettles) are known to be a dragonseed at all. Nettles’ parentage is uncertain.

    Anyway, there you go about Targ blood floating around in Westeros 🙂

  53. There are major parallels between the trajectories of GoT and the Battlestar Galactica reboot. Both of them were hugely successful and influential shows, they emphasised intelligent realism in their earlier seasons (one of the reasons for their original acclaim), they eventually went off the rails because of issues with their showrunners, and they had very divisive and controversial finales.

    One of the main lessons from this: Given the widespread disillusionment with GoT, HOTD will need to hit it out of the park fairly early on, otherwise it’ll have the same fate as BSG’s cancelled-after-the-first-season prequel Caprica.

    I have to politely disagree with the comments about nobody having successfully pulled off a high-quality prequel; Rogue One and Black Sails were prequels that turned out to be superb. Apparently The Mandalorian and Better Call Saul are very good too, although I haven’t seen them yet. But I do agree that prequels are tricky to pull off and can go badly wrong if they’re not in the hands of the right showrunners and writers. In the *right* hands, of course, they can turn out to be suprisingly good and sometimes even extraordinary.

    As for the supposed downsides of already knowing a prequel’s overall story and the ending, the key here is a mixture of “filling in the blanks” and/or including things that challenge existing preconceptions and perhaps even completely change your perspective on those events and *future events that you already knew about*. Again, tricky to do, but fantastic when done right.

  54. Ten Bears: It’s because their legacy is empty. I’ll let Tywin explain. (From S2e7; at 1:14 – 1:32):

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9OTOiMQchKw

    Tywin: “Do you know what ‘legacy’ means? It’s what you pass down to your children. And your children’s children. It’s what remains of you when you’re gone.”

    For me, knowing that the Targaryens will have no legacy – nothing will remain of them – makes it difficult to care about their feuding ancestors.

    Not to mention that I already reached my DSP (Dragon Saturation Point) sometime around mid-S7 of GoT. Dragons, and people riding them, have lost their novelty.

    Well said, TB. I agree with you. The legacy of the Targaryens is already known, and it’s not good. It doesn’t matter what they do. They’re beholden to the “Targaryen Madness” label no matter what happens. It’s just a matter of time. Whoopdie freakin do.

  55. Young Dragon:
    Wimsey,

    There was nothing arbitrary about the final season. Everything that happened within the season, from the Night King’s defeat to Danerys burning down King’s Landing, to Jon stabbing Danerys in the heart, was properly set up and executed perfectly.

    Let me fix this for you.

    Young Dragon:
    Wimsey,

    IMO, there was nothing arbitrary about the final season. IMO, everything that happened within the season, from the Night King’s defeat to Danerys burning down King’s Landing, to Jon stabbing Danerys in the heart, was properly set up and executed perfectly.

    This is precisely why talking about the final season with certain people is a nightmare.

  56. Adrianacandle,

    Yes, I disagreed with Wimsey’s statement, but that’s all it was. A disagreement. I wasn’t frustrated in the slightest. I, for one, rather enjoy discussing season 8. I feel I’m in a strong position and have absolutely no problem sharing my opinion.

    I believe you’re referring to the poster who claimed that you and TB were turning the comment section into your own personal Facebook page. Well, I’m not that poster. To be clear, I don’t really care for your and TB’s off topic chit chat, or for TB’s musical interludes, but they don’t effect me in the slightest, so I just skip past those comments, the same advice I’m giving you. I won’t suggest you you can’t comment about something. That’s not up to me.

  57. Young Dragon,

    See, this is the problem. You’re not framing your opinion as an opinion. You’re framing it is a fact.

    You don’t seem to have any sense of self-awareness about this.

  58. Young Dragon,

    I didn’t say you were that commenter. Regardless, I have taken efforts to cut back on off topic talk since the commenter made their feelings aware.

    By the same turn, you can skip over my comments when I express frustration with these same debates repeating identical points if you don’t care to read those comments or disagree. I don’t mind. I may find some repeated discussions cringey but I can only control what I do. I can express my feeling on something like this but regardless, others may decide differently and I won’t try to stop them. People are free to choose what they do, just as they are free to express an opinion — whatever that is — and ideally, it should be civil.

  59. Adrianacandle: I’m very very glad you enjoyed season 8! But not everyone does and sometimes, it feels like there is a hair trigger response anytime somebody suggests they didn’t like season 8 or something about season 8.

    And then it goes into the same repeat cycle.

    Yes. You see it on this very thread. There’s been things said on both sides, but some of the pro season 8 fans on this site are lunatics and really have a hard time handling a different opinion.

    For example, we have Erik saying that he feels the need to rub in how much he loved the ending whenever he hears a differing opinion. There are few things more childish than that.

    Then you have young dragon, who cannot simply say his opinion of season 8 is very high. He has to tell everyone else who feels differently that they are factually incorrect. Not only that, but he never comments here UNLESS someone says something negative about season 8. It’s like he receives text alerts anytime something negative is said about season 8 in the entire galaxy.

    It’s insufferable and feels like overcompensation. It really makes any discussion about season 8 impossible.

  60. Young Dragon: I won’t suggest you you can’t comment about something. That’s not up to me.

    That is not what I did. I expressed concern wherein this would lead into another debate trading the same points back and forth, expressing my view on that but left it up to Erik. I finished with, “That said, it’s totally up to you of course,” and didn’t continue to push when Erik made his response to me.

  61. Mr Derp,

    It does feel a bit like a hair trigger response and navigating word landmines where I try to avoid triggering arguments which have repeated themselves for years at this point. Of course, people will do what they do but I’m hopeful new material will help freshen up discussion and debate.

    There are plenty of debates I like on this site — like fancasting, stuff about the world books, the ASOIAF books themselves, the prequels, weird book theories, etc. 🙂

  62. Jai: I have to politely disagree with the comments about nobody having successfully pulled off a high-quality prequel; Rogue One and Black Sails were prequels that turned out to be superb. Apparently The Mandalorian and Better Call Saul are very good too, although I haven’t seen them yet. But I do agree that prequels are tricky to pull off and can go badly wrong if they’re not in the hands of the right showrunners and writers. In the *right* hands, of course, they can turn out to be suprisingly good and sometimes even extraordinary.

    I think these are some really nice points, Jai 🙂 I have seen Better Call Saul and while it has a different feel from Breaking Bad, I really like it.

  63. I wouldn’t call GOT’s finale “divisive”. I daresay there’s a widespread consenus that it was unadulterated crap.

  64. Adrianacandle,

    I agree that it’s possible to have a good prequel, but there are so many more bad examples than good ones that it always makes me shudder a bit when I hear about a prequel coming out.

    I also think it’s possible to keep an audience engaged even when the outcome is already known. It can be compelling to watch characters try to stop the inevitable from happening. For example, we all knew the outcome of Robert’s Rebellion, but it was still compelling to see the details unfold.

    Another example, I love Ken Burns documentaries. I already know what’s going to unfold, but hearing HOW it all unfolded can be compelling tv.

  65. Mr Derp,

    Yeah, all good points! Plus, it does kind of feel like HBO is throwing everything at the wall, hoping something sticks, but I have hope this can be a compelling story — and maybe that’s due to my own desperation for something new in this world 🙂

    I also think it’s possible to keep an audience engaged even when the outcome is already known. It can be compelling to watch characters try to stop the inevitable from happening. For example, we all knew the outcome of Robert’s Rebellion, but it was still compelling to see the details unfold.

    Another example, I love Ken Burns documentaries. I already know what’s going to unfold, but hearing HOW it all unfolded can be compelling tv.

    Yes! I’m actually rewatching The Tudors at the moment and while I know it took a lot of, erm, liberties with history, it’s still entertaining despite knowing what happens to all of these people. I was watching a documentary on Mary I and Elizabeth I. I know how each of their lives end and how their reigns go but the documentary is still so engaging..

  66. Kate:
    I wouldn’t call GOT’s finale “divisive”. I daresay there’s a widespread consenus that it was unadulterated crap.

    Some liked it and some didn’t. Considering the statements on this very thread, I’d say “divisive” is pretty accurate.

  67. Adrianacandle,

    As long as the story is engaging and stands on it’s own then I think any prequel can work. The problem is that too many prequels feel like box-checking to me rather than an organic story with it’s own flow. It’s merely “content” rather than a story.

    I want these prequels to stand on their own and not feel like “content”.

    Endings are obviously important, but sometimes the journey can be more satisfying than the ending, which was the case for me when it came to GoT. Sometimes one can overthink the ending and spend too much time trying to subvert expectations rather than make a coherent, sensible ending.

    I’m just hoping for stories that stand on their own and are also not influenced by the perpetually offended in the Twitterverse. That would make for one bland, boring story.

  68. Mr Derp: As long as the story is engaging and stands on it’s own then I think any prequel can work. The problem is that too many prequels feel like box-checking to me rather than an organic story with it’s own flow. It’s merely “content” rather than a story.

    I want these prequels to stand on their own and not feel like “content”.

    Those are my feelings exactly and I’d say these prequels standing on their own would be crucial to their success because while they take place in the same world, they are essentially different shows. New characters, plotlines, backstories, narratives.

    However, I get what you’re saying about too many prequels/spin-offs feeling like “box checking” rather than an organic narrative all of its own apart from predecessor shows.

  69. Kate:
    I wouldn’t call GOT’s finale “divisive”. I daresay there’s a widespread consenus that it was unadulterated crap.

    I myself know several people who loved GoT finale, including my father, my former coworker Nina, my online friends Ryan, Irene, Ege and Stacey (two of them being BIG Dany fans btw), several members from LOST FANS UNITE group, several people here on WotW, from what I know critics’ opinion was certainly divisive otherwise it would have 0 % on RT, and I daresay that even a lot of people who weren’t satisfied with the finale or S8 don’t outright consider it “unadulterated crap”. Because newsflash, you can not be satisfied with episode but still not hate it with passion or you can like an episode, but not be crazy about it or you can be neutral about an episode, not really liking it but not really disliking it. But considering I don’t even remember you commenting here on WotW, I think your comment is just meant to spew negativity.

  70. Mr Derp,

    Here you are moralising but at same time calling me a lunatic because I love to express my appreciation for TV shows I love? Wow, that’s certainly very constructive…

  71. Adrianacandle,

    The recent “Cruella” film is a perfect example of a needless prequel.

    Some characters simply don’t need an origin story.

    She’s mean, hates animals, and wants to kill them for fur. That’s her entire schtick. Disney ​completely took all of that out of the prequel to make her more palatable.

    Another one of Cruella’s trademarks was to have a cigarette holder (Quellazaire), which Disney removed because they literally removed all smoking from their films (This is no joke, look it up).

    What you end up with is a neutered character that doesn’t remotely resemble the character people have become familiar with. It’s “content”.

  72. Erik, formerly Lord Parramandas:
    Mr Derp,

    Here you are moralising but at same time calling me a lunatic because I love to express my appreciation for TV shows I love? Wow, that’s certainly very constructive…

    Don’t give me your bullshit about being “constructive”. You’re the guy who came here and told everyone they weren’t worthy enough of being a GoT fan, so please take several seats.

    You also admitted you like to rub it in people’s faces when they don’t like something that you like. Hardly “constructive”.

    Your entire schtick is to come here and claim you’re being Mr. Positive when you’re spewing more negativity than anyone. You’re such a fraud.

  73. Mr Derp: Another one of Cruella’s trademarks was to have a cigarette holder (Quellazaire), which Disney removed because they literally removed all smoking from their films (This is no joke, look it up).

    Aw, jeeze. RIP opera-length cigarette holder 🙁

    But yeah, I agree with many of your concerns. Instances of the pendulum swinging too much the other way into over-sanitization. And sometimes, yes, said prequels are just not… needed… but are clear cash grabs.

    I guess I would be interested in The Life & Times of Cruella De vil — just like The Life & Times of the Wicked Witch of the West was made into a novel (it was done well but it was very much an adult novel that was more than a little bleak). But it’d have to be done right, well, and for its own purposes.

  74. Erik, formerly Lord Parramandas:
    Mr Derp,

    Just proving my point… hypocrisy at its highest

    You have no point and I don’t think you even know what hypocrisy means considering nothing I said is hypocritical. You. however, the hypocrisy is astounding.

    You loved the ending to GoT and have no tolerance for any other opinion. We get it. You love to frequently advertise how “positive” you are despite the fact that you’ve called everyone here not worthy of being a GoT fan and you like to rub it in every chance you get when you disagree with someone. This is negativity, not positivity, and these are the actions of a child.

    If you want to actually address any of this, then, please, by all means. So far, all you’ve done is deflect.

  75. Dame of Mercia,

    I like to think that perhaps in the future when he had mourned Dany, Jon would find a Wilding lady to his liking though whether he would ever reveal his Targaryen ancestry is anyone’s guess. My fanfic is going to stay in my head – I’m not writing it down.”

    • Yeah, I liked to think Jon would find a nice Wildling lady*, or a fiery redhead. 👩🏻‍🦰 That’s why I thought Meg Parkinson was cast (as Alys Karstark I think). But she had maybe one line (“Now and always!”) and apparently died with Theon’s crew defending Bran. As I recall, she had a death scene but it wound up on the cutting room floor.

    * What was it that Ygritte told Jon when she first met him and tried to induce him to blow off the NW and live with the Free Folk?

    Something about how the girls would claw each other’s eyes out to get naked with him?

    • My fanfic – before S8 – assumed Dany would die a heroic death after or during childbirth, leaving Jon to raise a daughter as a single dad. And I did write it down. Too bad S8 obliterated my fanfic scenario.

  76. Ten Bears,

    Well, I feel very differently. I know absolutely nothing about the events surrounding the civil war or the characters involved, so I’ll have to speak hypothetically. Let’s say Rhaenyra Targaryen is a sympathetic character that you can’t help but fall in love with. Knowing the fate of House Targaryen won’t stop me from connecting with that particular character, because she’s more than her House. I would want her to succeed and live a happy life, and I’ll be gutted if she didn’t make it through the series, because a promising life has been cut short. The people involved in the Dance are long dead by the time the events in GOT take place, so what happened in GOT will not effect how I view House of the Dragon.

  77. Young Dragon,

    ”To be clear, I don’t really care for… TB’s musical interludes, but they don’t effect me in the slightest, so I just skip past those comments, the same advice I’m giving you.”

    Oh good! I’ll dedicate the next Musical Interlude to you, Young Dragon!

    P.S. I’ve been pretty vigilant in trying to cover off topic stuff and musical interludes with spoiler coding and a ⚠️ warning icon. It’s easy enough to scroll through and skip over greyscale-covered text, and that way you don’t have to read it inadvertently.

  78. Mr Derp,

    That’s funny. You didn’t have a problem with Oberyn Yronwood stating seasons 7 or 8 weren’t good and you didn’t have a problem with Wimsey stating that season 8 was filled with random events. I’m guessing you don’t mind people stating opinions as if they’re facts so long as their opinions line up with your own.

    That being said, I didn’t call them out either, just like no one called me out, before you. That’s because the rest of us know that on this site, when people comment about something, that they are merely giving their opinion goes without saying.

  79. Young Dragon: when people comment about something, that they are merely giving their opinion goes without saying.

    Speaking of going without saying, throughout my commenting history here I’ve spoken with all three of you many times and read numerous comments from Oberon, Wimsey, and you. Oberon and Wimsey are very easy to talk to and are open to other opinions despite having strong opinions of their own. You, however, are a completely different story.

    Young Dragon: That being said, I didn’t call them out either, just like no one called me out, before you.

    No. See below. You specifically went out of your way to tell Wimsey he’s wrong in the most rigid of ways.

    Young Dragon: Young Dragon
    June 6, 2021 at 9:41 pm
    Wimsey,

    There was nothing arbitrary about the final season. Everything that happened within the season, from the Night King’s defeat to Danerys burning down King’s Landing, to Jon stabbing Danerys in the heart, was properly set up and executed perfectly.

    This is not a comment that describes an opinion. This is you trying to pass opinion as fact in a particularly insufferable way.

  80. Mr Derp,

    Really, clean up before your own doorstep first. You’re doing exactly what you’re accusing me of and yet pretend you’re somewhat “better” than me. You called me a fanatic, a child, a lunatic, possibly something else…you’re obviously annoyed or maybe feel even threatened that some of us are able to enjoy entirety of GoT and you can’t, otherwise you wouldn’t keep bringing me and Young Dragon and probably someone else in your comment, even when I’m not interacting with you or speaking about you at all and you even admitted recently that you want me banned here… and don’t think I didn’t notice the “GTFO!” which you edited shortly after you made your comment. But I guess you have every right to harass me to no ends while I must keep my mouth shut, right? Please, get off your high horse. If I’m such a terrible person that you’re trying to portray me, then you’re not trying to be any better. If you think you’ll drive me off this site with all this, I’m sad to inform you that you won’t! In fact, I’ll probably feel even more pleasure now expressing what I like about S8 and GoT.

    Young Dragon,

    This

  81. Erik, formerly Lord Parramandas: You called me a fanatic, a child, a lunatic, possibly something else…

    Possibly something else?

    Erik, formerly Lord Parramandas: you’re obviously annoyed or maybe feel even threatened that some of us are able to enjoy entirety of GoT and you can’t

    I’ve made it pretty damn clear what my issues are with you, yet you constantly either ignore, deflect, or pretend that it’s something else. You WANT this to be about something that it’s not. You WANT this to be about season 8 “haters” trying to rain on your parade because you like it, but this has nothing to do with that, as I’ve said many times over. You don’t seem to get it.

    Erik, formerly Lord Parramandas: otherwise you wouldn’t keep bringing me and Young Dragon and probably someone else in your comment

    Probably someone else?

    Erik, formerly Lord Parramandas: even when I’m not interacting with you or speaking about you at all

    This is a site to discuss GoT and HoTD. Every comment is fair game. Especially, ones where you put others down all under this fake guise of “positivity” and then claim the opposite. You have not once addressed anything I’ve actually said to you. You just deflect.

    Erik, formerly Lord Parramandas: But I guess you have every right to harass me to no ends while I must keep my mouth shut, right?

    There is no “harassing” going on here. I’m simply calling out your bullshit. You have a habit of being able to dish it out but not able to take it. And no one ever said you have to keep your mouth shut. You’re making this all up.

    Erik, formerly Lord Parramandas: If you think you’ll drive me off this site with all this, I’m sad to inform you that you won’t! In fact, I’ll probably feel even more pleasure now expressing what I like about S8 and GoT.

    Strange. I’m not trying to drive you off this site. You’ve actually done that to yourself NUMEROUS times. You’ve gone out of your way to post some overly dramatic “I’m leaving this site forever” crap and then proceed to come back 2 days later saying the same crap.

    I also don’t care that you liked season 8, no matter how much you seem to want me to. Again, you’re a hypocrite, and I’m going to continue to call you out on it until you stop.

  82. Ten Bears,

    Not necessary, but I thank you. And I’m sorry for calling you out.

    I always have spoiler coding off in order to catch book discussions, so I didn’t know that. But yes, I am able to scroll past your off topic posts. I didn’t mean to imply you were doing anything wrong.

  83. Mr Derp,

    The Cruella movie

    sucked? I’ve been reading glowing reviews, and I like Emma Stone.

    On on unrelated note, you might be pleased to learn that I couldn’t pull the trigger on Alanis Morissette concert tickets. $399 -$999 per ticket ($800 – $2,000 a pair) for seats in the first ten rows ?
    Nope. No Thank U, Alanis.

  84. Ten Bears,

    I love Emma Stone too. She’s terrific. Unfortunately, Disney spares no one from the wrath of it’s evil empire.

    Damn, $400-$1,000 just for an Alanis Morissette ticket? Is she owned by Disney too?

  85. Mr Derp,

    Whatever… keep harassing me as much as you want but it won’t do any difference except that you’ll probably only make your own experience even more bitter here. I don’t feel a thing when hearing anything from you and I’m certainly NOT going anywhere!

  86. Mr Derp,

    You clearly lack the self awareness to realize this, but the only one who’s being difficult right now is you. Everyone else was having a pleasant discussion. There were disagreements, to be sure, but that’s all they were. Disagreements. Then you came in and cranked the hostility up to eleven. You have only yourself to blame.

    You misunderstand. I’m saying I didn’t call Wimsey out for not putting “imo” in front of their comment. That’s because I knew full well that they were only giving their opinion, just like everyone knew I was only giving mine. Everyone except you, apparently. You still haven’t explained why you singled me out. Those two other posters also didn’t clarify they were only giving their opinion, yet you didn’t say anything to them.

  87. Adrianacandle,

    😔 Jon will never be sliding in anonymity! He’ll get a FB page like a proper brooding future boomer and he’s going to be LC of the Nightswatch, AdrianaCandle!

    You better watch yourself. Talking about Jon like that! ☺️

    In all seriousness I expect like you that politically he won’t be motivated to rule absolutely nothing. It’s just that we haven’t yet seen ambition from him, only duty. Of course that may change but I have a feeling in his mind, (or Martin’s) he will still be a Ned so to speak. Walking in KL and not taking the IT for himself when he steps in the throne room and opportunity is there, simply because that’s not who he is. 🤷‍♀️

  88. Loved the parallel you’ve made with the Six of Crows duology, Petra. I did not read the books in that universe but I knew that the TV series plot that involves the thieves crew is sort of a prequel from friends who did read them and thus I got the point.

    If season 8 critics are willing to give this new series from Asoiaf universe a chance I’d say it’s a win. As you say, Marie Antoinette still has movies and stories written about her, and some are told in a fascinating manner.

    Personally I still watch every Titanic movies, even though historically I know how it ends. I also rooted for Spartacus’ rebellion against the might of Rome and hoped for a miracle survival story in that particular Starz’ series. 😈

    In the end it might be that show Tyrion was Right and it really is about the best story!

  89. TormundsWoman: In all seriousness I expect like you that politically he won’t be motivated to rule absolutely nothing. It’s just that we haven’t yet seen ambition from him, only duty. Of course that may change but I have a feeling in his mind, (or Martin’s) he will still be a Ned so to speak. Walking in KL and not taking the IT for himself when he steps in the throne room and opportunity is there, simply because that’s not who he is. 🤷‍♀️

    Hi TormundsWoman! 🙂

    I think Jon has some differences from Ned but during book 5, when he’s gotten a taste of leadership, he finds it miserable, isolating, and lonely. Before, he did used to yearn to lead (his hero is a 14-year old Targaryen conquerer 😉 ). However, like most of the characters in the series, they find that the dream is very different from the reality.

    I also don’t expect Jon will be a claimant for the throne simply because R+L=J will be such a difficult thing to believe for the average, non-magical Westerosi in-universe (but I think his parentage will serve a different purpose). He can’t really undergo a DNA test, he has Ned Stark’s look through and through, he’s widely accepted as Ned’s bastard son, bastards are stigmatized as wanton, untrustworthy individuals seeking to usurp a trueborn’s claim, and Jon is already viewed negatively in-universe. If people were to hear Jon is being pushed as the secret child of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark who was never known to exist, I imagine it’d be viewed as a bastard’s trick.

    Young Griff though — with his Targaryen looks, upbringing by Varys to be king, and arriving in Westeros as a fresh slate — would be more believable with his claim to be the known son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Elia Martell.

    I think that speaks to Varys’s line: “Power resides where men believe it resides.” It doesn’t matter so much about the truth but what people perceive to be the truth.

    There’s this passage in Jon’s chapter from AGOT which I personally think may hint at his anonymous/exiled fate:

    Tyrion Lannister had claimed that most men would rather deny a hard truth than face it, but Jon was done with denials. He was who he was; Jon Snow, bastard and oathbreaker, motherless, friendless, and damned. For the rest of his life—however long that might be—he would be condemned to be an outsider, the silent man standing in the shadows who dares not speak his true name. Wherever he might go throughout the Seven Kingdoms, he would need to live a lie, lest every man’s hand be raised against him

.

    and from ACOK:

    Mormont gave a whistle, and the bird flew to him again and settled on his arm. “A lord’s one thing, a king’s another.” He offered the raven a handful of corn from his pocket. “They will garb your brother Robb in silks, satins, and velvets of a hundred different colors, while you live and die in black ringmail. He will wed some beautiful princess and father sons on her. You’ll have no wife, nor will you ever hold a child of your own blood in your arms. Robb will rule, you will serve. Men will call you a crow. Him they’ll call Your Grace. Singers will praise every little thing he does, while your greatest deeds all go unsung. Tell me that none of this troubles you, Jon… and I’ll name you a liar, and know I have the truth of it.”


    Jon drew himself up, taut as a bowstring. “And if it did trouble me, what might I do, bastard as I am?”


    “What will you do?” Mormont asked. “Bastard as you are?”


    “Be troubled,” said Jon, “and keep my vows.”



  90. Young Dragon:
    Mr Derp,

    You clearly lack the self awareness to realize this, but the only one who’s being difficult right now is you. Everyone else was having a pleasant discussion. There were disagreements, to be sure, but that’s all they were. Disagreements. Then you came in and cranked the hostility up to eleven. You have only yourself to blame.

    You misunderstand. I’m saying I didn’t call Wimsey out for not putting “imo” in front of their comment. That’s because I knew full well that they were only giving their opinion, just like everyone knew I was only giving mine. Everyone except you, apparently. You still haven’t explained why you singled me out. Those two other posters also didn’t clarify they were only giving their opinion, yet you didn’t say anything to them.

    I’m reacting to the back and forth. I was going to ignore it, but I did my best to read through some of it anyway. Perhaps a trial by combat is in order to let the gods decide. All joking aside, whatever is going on with this back and forth has real feelings involved and it’s hard to read. It’s been 2 years, and many of us still come to WotW because something about the show and/or books brought out passion and feelings. I’m still working on my writing, and I feel awkward finding the words to express what I’m feeling and why I wanted to respond to your back and forth. I guess I’m accepting of family arguing, and I do think WotW is like a family. Family members call each other out, but in the end they are still family and have to get past the issue. I’m amazed at the passion GOT created. Whether it’s passion and anger about the show ending, anger about GRRM not finishing, acceptance that GRRM may never finish, idolizing favorite actors, amazement at the artistry, amazement with the costumes, amazement with the special effects, wonder at the talent of people like Petra who can create awesome video essays… I’ll stop that thought for a moment. It gets tough when it seems to get personal, and that’s what gets harder to read.
    I can see how people say they’ve had enough and won’t return and then return later. The passion is still there and we have to talk to someone about it!! What better place than here? It has been 2 years. But I keep coming back. I envy others here who have had complex and insightful discussions. There are some in this thread. I barely know how to respond, so often times I don’t. I am impressed by the depth of knowledge of the books, including Fire and Blood and GRRM’s other works. You have inspired me to read the books. I haven’t delved into Fire and Blood, but I did read the Princess and the Queen novella to give me a little background in HotD.

    Anyway, even if you guys don’t resolve your arguments, I hope you keep coming back. Feel free to yell at me if you wish or yell at each other. Families do that. Just recognize we are still family, a family that is passionate about a show that ended 2 years ago. A family that is still passionate about waiting 10 years for the next book. Some are angry about it, others have given up, and yet others are still hopeful. I don’t mind hearing about season 8, but many do. I was mostly disappointed that the show had to end. That was the hardest thing about season 8. It all had to come to an end. Now we have a chance for a new show!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and I’m really excited to see where it goes.

  91. Tron79,

    “I don’t mind hearing about season 8, but many do. I was mostly disappointed that the show had to end. That was the hardest thing about season 8. It all had to come to an end.”

    I’ve reconciled that some aspects of S8 were disappointing and some were satisfying. It doesn’t have to be one or the other.

    Many say the ending was bad. Others say it was beautiful. It was both. But that’s not something everyone would understand. They just don’t like endings.

    It was bad. And it was beautiful. And now it’s over.

    at 0:54 – 1:37
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aAAc6qBty8g

    P.S. at 1:50:
    Ashildr: “We know summer can’t last forever.”
    Arya: “…And winter is coming.”
  92. Young Dragon,

    At 6/7/21, 3:56 pm I replied:
    ”Thank you. I appreciate the sentiment.

    (I’m still going to dedicate a Musical Interlude to Young Dragon.) 😎”

    So… are you ready?

    Teed up for you are: (1) a video of a live performance of an upbeat, bouncy song, followed by an enjoyably goofy interview, and concluding with a truly lovely rendition of a ballad; and (2) another video of the same singer, following the same formula.

    On 6/6/21 at 5:39 pm, I wrote:
    🐴⚰️(Beating a dead horse?)
    • I’m one of those GoT fans Petra described who has expressed concern that it may be difficult to get emotionally invested in The House of the Dragon because of the way House Targaryen ended up on S8 of GoT: extinguished.
    (S8 showed them the “B.A.D. Principle”: They were “Beaten. Annihilated. And Destroyed.” I forget where I heard this…)

    Now I remember.

    It’ll be in the second video I’ve got teed up for you. Stay tuned.
  93. Adrianacandle,

    I agree on the bastard angle and him being probably viewed by and large by the Westerosi as a upstart should that become common knowledge, trying to trick the world into a a possible Targaryen position of power and inheritance.

    Martin is definitely playing fake Aegon for that plot though and I think you may be right and he won’t use Jon against Daenerys that way a second time.

    “Secret Targ” may come in when Jon and Dany meet as an emotional obstacle for Dany (just as it was in the show) to deal with the fact there’s another, a true born, that’s either more deserving or more entitled to the IT. Never mind that I’m curious how the incestuous relationship truly plays out in Jon’s mind. Dany may be just fine with that one.

    In regards to the second quote: to me it always seemed that it is Robb that he’s envious about. Robb’s the oldest legitimate son of Ned Stark and King in the North by virtue of that specific heritage. I truly believe that Jon is envious about a very specific someone else being deemed worthy AND getting Ned’s full benefit of the name and legitimacy. A double coronation that at his age he’d have liked himself to have, that type of approval and acknowledgement. But I don’t believe it’s ambition and him being troubled because of the satins and titles and ladies and so forth.

    And obviously he’ll do his duty. Which will be not exile, but being LC of the Kingsguard! Because he chose that life. Mind you he didn’t know there might be a different option at the time, because Ned was an ass and didn’t tell him.

    And before anyone chimes in letting me know Ned was right in doing so because he was protecting Jon as per his promise to Lyanna, let me preemptively say: ok, buddy…

    Just adding that It’s good to read everyone even though I see all are just as combative as ever. Some things don’t change and sometimes that’s good. Though obviously it may not seem like that to some.

  94. Adrianacandle,

    Thanks, and I’m responding to Ten Bears too.
    His reference to Maisie’s DR. Who scene about endings reminded me, and because he also does lots of musical interludes, it reminded me of a line from Almost Famous.
    RUSSELL
    Look. Nobody’s feelings are getting
    hurt here. She already knows Leslie’s
    coming To New York tomorrow. They all
    understand. This is the Circus.
    Everybody’s trying not to go home.
    Nobody’s saying goodbye.

    I think when I wrote the post I realized how excited I was that a new show was coming. The fact the GOT had to end was the hardest part for me. That’s why I cried during “A Knight of the 7 Kingdoms”. It wasn’t just because I thought many of my fav’s would surely die in episode 3. It was because we wouldn’t get to see our fav’s anymore at all. It was coming to an end and there was nothing I could do about it. And with Jenny’s song it hit home that I was like Jenny, and after 2 years even more so!

    Thanks so much for your posts. Speaking of “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms”, that’s also the name of the Dunk and Egg compilation I’ve been reading. I’m almost done with the last novella “The Mystery Knight”. I don’t think I would have started reading ASOIAF at all if it wasn’t for reading your posts and posts from other book readers here at WotW. I’m glad I did, and the books gave me new insights to characters I only knew from the show. I’ve also never really read many novellas, and I quite enjoy GRRM’s. It’s a welcome change from 1000+ page installments and for those who like to have endings, you get them with the novellas!

  95. Wimsey,

    Having watched every GoT episode multiple times, I still cannot understand your claim, “… the conclusion and motivations were divorced from the story.” I also do not see any “arbitrariness” in the final season(s). To this viewer, at least, all of the story arcs and character arcs reached conclusions which felt richly earned. In the opening sequence, we see how easily trained soldiers are overcome by a single whatever-it-is. During the series, we learn what this threat is, how to defeat it, and how the characters who will defeat it come to do so. Their literal and metaphorical journeys to the battle progressed appropriately, at least for this viewer. I’m genuinely interested in knowing why you saw the same story much differently than did I.

  96. TormundsWoman: In regards to the second quote: to me it always seemed that it is Robb that he’s envious about. Robb’s the oldest legitimate son of Ned Stark and King in the North by virtue of that specific heritage. I truly believe that Jon is envious about a very specific someone else being deemed worthy AND getting Ned’s full benefit of the name and legitimacy. A double coronation that at his age he’d have liked himself to have, that type of approval and acknowledgement. But I don’t believe it’s ambition and him being troubled because of the satins and titles and ladies and so forth.

    I’m more referring to Mormont’s words and Jon’s response as indicators of where he end up 🙂 More a hint at exile and how he may be viewed by the Westerosi.

    As for the “secret Targ” stuff, I don’t think it’ll be a problem in that way because a) people would have to buy R+L=J in universe for it to be something worth worrying about and I don’t think it will be believed by the common man and b) he’d have to want the Iron Throne, which I don’t think he will. That’s never been something that he’s yearned for. I think its purpose would play out in a different way and obstacles could also be different.

    And obviously he’ll do his duty. Which will be not exile, but being LC of the Kingsguard! Because he chose that life. Mind you he didn’t know there might be a different option at the time, because Ned was an ass and didn’t tell him.

    I honestly don’t think his fate will be different between the books and the show. I don’t think Jon is meant to be celebrated but unsung, per Mormont’s words to him, and “condemned to be an outsider, the silent man standing in the shadows who dares not speak his true name”. I think Jon’s purpose is as a shield and ultimately a bridge — he’ll play a major part in ushering in a new era but won’t be part of era. Further, with Jaime, the scorn he faced was very much his Start of Darkness when he stayed in Westeros and dealt with the people’s derision, which had a corrupting influence on him. With Jon, he’d face an even greater scorn because in addition to the kingslaying if he kills Dany, there’d also be the bastard prejudice, letting in the wildlings, etc. Jon’s already got a bad reputation in-universe among the Westerosi and I don’t think Westeros is the best place for him. I think Jon beyond away from Westeros is a good thing in the end.

    As for Ned agreeing to let Jon join the Night’s Watch, I don’t think that was ever Ned’s plan but Robert arrived, Ned hadn’t made plans for his kids and had to make hasty decisions, Catelyn refused to have Jon stay in Winterfell with Robb as Ned had hoped, and Castle Black — while hard — is viewed as an honorable calling in the North. It’s where Benjen was and while it had some very unpleasant people, it also contained an assortment of good people (nothing a trained guy like Jon couldn’t handle) and placed Jon beyond Robert’s reach. I get Jon’s resentment, which Jon did have, but I think it was best choice considering.

  97. Tron79,

    I hope you’re enjoying the Mystery Knight and I’m glad this whole world had been opened up to you! 🙂 I was thinking of giving myself a refresher as I had with the novellas for HotD and Fire & Blood. It’s so easy to get all the names mixed up with the similar roots (the Ae’s, the Rhae’s, and so on) but when they’re attached to a personality and visualization of the character in your mind’s eye, I think it’s easier to keep them apart 🙂

  98. Adrianacandle,

    I know what you’re saying about the names. Some have very similar roots as you say. We need nick names like Dany for the blacks and greens.

  99. Tron79,

    Yeah, especially considering there

    are two Aegons in the current narrative: Aegon, son of Viserys and Alicent (Rhaenyra’s half-brother and rival) and then Aegon (the Younger), Rhaenyra’s own son and I believe — along with her son Viserys — her only child that survives the narrative. Oh, and the two Viseryses. Then you have Rhaenyra and Rhaenys, as well as Aemond and Aegon who often share page-space as brothers close in age and cause, etc. Oh! And Helaena’s children: Jaehaerys and Jaehaera, while you also have Rhaenyra’s oldest Jacaerys!
  100. Adrianacandle: I’m more referring to Mormont’s words and Jon’s response as indicators of where he end up 🙂 More a hint at exile and how he may be viewed by the Westerosi.

    Exiled North of the Wall, you mean? I’m not even convinced that happens in the show to begin with. I’m of the belief he’s in the NW. And if he truly kills Dany after she burns KL, I have difficulty believing that anyone would exile him. Especially Bran, Sansa, Tyrion or any other Westerosi POV with power in the books. I found GW asking for him to be exiled sort of awkward and out of place in the series and I just binge watched the whole series again. I seriously cringed.

    Adrianacandle:

    I honestly don’t think his fate will be different between the books and the show. I don’t think Jon is meant to be celebrated but unsung, per Mormont’s words to him, and “condemned to be an outsider, the silent man standing in the shadows who dares not speak his true name”. I think Jon’s purpose is as a shield and ultimately a bridge — he’ll play a major part in ushering in a new era but won’t be part of era. I don’t think Westeros is the best place for him. I think Jon beyond away from Westeros is a good thing in the end.

    Mormont may be right about John not speaking out his true name that if Aegon Targaryen. And you may be right about him being a shield but beyond the wall he’s not really a shield to anyone.

    With the Others gone, I can see him resuming the NW duties simply because of self punishment and not knowing other duty he can be at peace with, assuming he was truly in love with Dany and he’s suffering for killing her. In the end that’s what I believed Mormont to be saying to him.

    Many argued when the series finished what good is a NW now? but wildlings will still be wildlings. They were the natural enemy of the Westerosi North even when no one believed anymore that a supernatural threat existed that can arise in the Lands of Always Winter. It’s hard to believe that they simply will stop raiding the North just because they fought on the side of the living with Jon for a while.

    ^^ And all of this why I’m in the Jon will remain LC in the NW camp.

    Adrianacandle:

    As for Ned agreeing to let Jon join the Night’s Watch, I don’t think that was ever Ned’s plan but Robert arrived, Ned hadn’t made plans for his kids and had to make hasty decisions, Catelyn refused to have Jon stay in Winterfell with Robb as Ned had hoped, and Castle Black — while hard — is viewed as an honorable calling in the North. It’s where Benjen was and while it had some very unpleasant people, it also contained an assortment of good people (nothing a trained guy like Jon couldn’t handle) and placed Jon beyond Robert’s reach. I get Jon’s resentment, which Jon did have, but I think it was best choice considering.

    Oh I remember her and her refusal to allow Jon to stay. I also remember her thinking NW will be perfect for Jon to have no children and thus not threaten in any possible way Robb and her other children’s inheritance and Stark legacy.

    To that point if I recall correctly that little shit master Lewin gave Ned the news that Jon to NW may be a good road the 14 yr old was “inspired” to take. More likely disappointed and disillusioned to take but who cared about that.

    Never mind that Ned knew exactly what it meant and as an honorable person he hesitated for a minute to take away Jon’s possible future fam should he choose to have one at some point. But then, it wasn’t really his son so I guess it was ok.

    I will now take my little #JusticeForJon soapbox and let you people discuss more important things than BookJon and BookCat and BookNed.

  101. TormundsWoman,

    Exiled North of the Wall, you mean? I’m not even convinced that happens in the show to begin with. I’m of the belief he’s in the NW. And if he truly kills Dany after she burns KL, I have difficulty believing that anyone would exile him. Especially Bran, Sansa, Tyrion or any other Westerosi POV with power in the books. I found GW asking for him to be exiled sort of awkward and out of place in the series and I just binge watched the whole series again. I seriously cringed.

    Well, Jon being in the NW or not — I’ll leave that up to each individual viewer 🙂 People have their own ideas on that. I think he is serving the spirit of his NW vows and is on an extended ranging.

    As for exile, kingslaying and oathbreaking are up there with the most serious and forbidden crimes you can commit in Westeros. No matter the reason or what it prevented, this action would be met with scorn — as it was for Jaime. Aerys was not a beloved king, he was hated and feared but Jaime was still derided and scored for killing his king. The Westerosi, their ways, and prejudices…. :/

    As for the rest, I’m going to side-step because I seriously don’t want to get into a season 8 fight! But I don’t think GW requested exile, it was decided by Bran as a compromise for peace.

    Mormont may be right about John not speaking out his true name that if Aegon Targaryen. And you may be right about him being a shield but beyond the wall he’s not really a shield to anyone.

    I more meant Jon’s role in the story itself, not really after. However, the Others may come again or whatever defeated them (or whatever truce they may reach with the living) could be finite. There is a deleted line from the 8×06 script in which Tyrion says, “Winter may come again”. But as for Jon, I think Jon isn’t an Aragon but more a Frodo and per the scripts, he did love Dany, and I think killing her would haunt him and stay with him forever — and the losses of other loved ones would follow him as well. I don’t think Jon is set up for a happy ending — but I think being away from Westeros is the best place for him.

    Many argued when the series finished what good is a NW now? but wildlings will still be wildlings. They were the natural enemy of the Westerosi North even when no one believed anymore that a supernatural threat existed that can arise in the Lands of Always Winter. It’s hard to believe that they simply will stop raiding the North just because they fought on the side of the living with Jon for a while.

    I think that goes to how the Others are dealt with in the books. They’re quite a bit different from the show’s iteration. The conflict with the Others may end (for a time) with negotiation. I have my own tinfoil on that. However, given GRRM’s own views on unity vs. separatism, I don’t think he’d have the wildlings be excluded as enemies again but I think how to manage the wildling goes to what GRRM wondered about Aragon’s tax policy — how do you deal with these intricacies and more mundane aspects of ruling? What kind of conditions do you impose on the wildlings if they wish to say in Westeros?

    GRRM’s comments on this subject:

    I’m not an “American First” (and maybe because I read science fiction) I’m a “Terran First”. I’m a human being first. And I have this sympathy for other human beings no matter what side of the giant ice wall they happen to be born on.

    (Tuscon 43, November 15, 2016)

    Putting aside the specifics of [Brexit], and taking a long-range look, I think history shows that we do better when we join together into larger political units that embrace diversity, rather than building walls and breaking into smaller units. Alexander’s empire was better than the squabbling city-states of ancient Greece that preceded it (a pity he did not live long enough to make the union with Persia permanent, and twice a pity that his successors broke it all up into smaller countries to war on each other). The thirteen American colonies were wise to join together into one large country, despite their differences, than they would have been as thirteen small ones. The nations of Europe have been fighting each other for centuries; joining together into one great multi-national nation represents real progress.

    Eventually I do hope we will be one peaceful world, like the SF writers of my youth once predicted. Terra, Old Earth, call it what you will. We’re all human.

    Source

    Also, the reason the wildlings raided was for survival because they lived in such a harsh landscape where, like, nothing grew and food was of short supply but if the Lands of Always Winter thaw, they may not have to do that anymore. Natural food sources may become more plentiful where nomad wildlings can hunt and gather instead of raid.

    More likely disappointed and disillusioned to take but who cared about that.

    Never mind that Ned knew exactly what it meant and as an honorable person he hesitated for a minute to take away Jon’s possible future fam should he choose to have one at some point. But then, it wasn’t really his son so I guess it was ok.

    Well, Jon did express a desire to join the Night’s Watch to do some hero-ing and to earn his own honor. It was also one of the few places a bastard could rise. Jon was also told it meant giving up the chance to marry and have kids — he and Benjen have that conversation in Jon’s first chapter of AGOT.

    But I don’t think Ned was thinking this way (“it wasn’t really his son so I guess it was ok”). Ned had to make fast decisions in an extremely limited amount of time (two weeks), which wouldn’t really be enough time to set up a fostering considering how slow communication is in these days. One can fault Ned for not preparing for the future but he didn’t have a lot of great options and time was extremely finite.

  102. TormundsWoman,

    Oh! I forgot to include Aragorn’s tax policy quote from GRRM for reference 🙂 Maybe, for wildlings who choose to stay in Westeros (if they do in the books), such conditions would need to be looked at so their practices don’t impose on others who don’t observe their culture. Tricky things :/

    Ruling is hard. This was maybe my answer to Tolkien, whom, as much as I admire him, I do quibble with. Lord of the Rings had a very medieval philosophy: that if the king was a good man, the land would prosper. We look at real history and it’s not that simple. Tolkien can say that Aragorn became king and reigned for a hundred years, and he was wise and good. But Tolkien doesn’t ask the question: What was Aragorn’s tax policy? Did he maintain a standing army? What did he do in times of flood and famine? And what about all these orcs? By the end of the war, Sauron is gone but all of the orcs aren’t gone – they’re in the mountains. Did Aragorn pursue a policy of systematic genocide and kill them? Even the little baby orcs, in their little orc cradles?

  103. TormundsWoman: but wildlings will still be wildlings. They were the natural enemy of the Westerosi North even when no one believed anymore that a supernatural threat existed that can arise in the Lands of Always Winter. It’s hard to believe that they simply will stop raiding the North just because they fought on the side of the living with Jon for a while.

    I had another thought on this in addition to Aragon’s tax policy and the wildlings’ way of life being impacted by the harsh lands they were forced to survive.

    In the books, Val tells Jon that there are good apples and bad apples with wildlings and Westerosi both. Even within Westeros, there are people who raid and reap — the Ironborn. Conquerers also raid and reap (even Robb did during his conquest of the Westerlands). Jon comes to adopt Val’s view himself — they all have good, bad, and everything-in-between people, no matter where they come from but they’re all people. The wildlings aren’t so much the “natural enemy of the Westerosi North” — the Northerners and wildlings descend from the same ancestors. The First Men. But the wildlings are the ones who were excluded and left on the wrong side of the Wall, forced to inhabit and survive incredibly harsh terrain and lifestyles, which is what their customs developed around (encouraging and prioritizing strength and endurance). Not to mention the Northmen fought amongst themselves for dominance over thousands of years so it’s not like the wildlings were the only source of conflict 🙂

    The true purpose of the Night’s Watch was never to fight wildlings but to guard the realms of men — all men, as Jon realizes in this passage:

    The shield that guards the realms of men. Ghost nuzzled up against his shoulder, and Jon draped an arm around him. He could smell Horse’s unwashed breeches, the sweet scent Satin combed into his beard, the rank sharp smell of fear, the giant’s overpowering musk. He could hear the beating of his own heart. When he looked across the grove at the woman with her child, the two greybeards, the Hornfoot man with his maimed feet, all he saw was men.

    This is a major turning point for Jon, his character, and it reflects what GRRM said here:

    I’m not an “American First” (and maybe because I read science fiction) I’m a “Terran First”. I’m a human being first. And I have this sympathy for other human beings no matter what side of the giant ice wall they happen to be born on.

    I have a hard time seeing GRRM go back on this and having Jon head a NW to fight so as to keep out the wildlings again. Unity seems to be an important theme in ASOIAF. It’s difficult to achieve, super tricky to maintain, and hard to navigate — but it seems to GRRM, it’s an important part of a better world.

  104. Jai,

    The show runners did nothing wrong. Just became you dislike it doesn’t mean they did anything wrong.

  105. Adrianacandle,

    “I think HotD needs to set itself apart as a separate show with hooks of its own rather than trying to make up for anything or rely on an existing audience.”

    You are absolutely right here, I think it should rely a little on the nostalgia but clearly mark itself as something different from GoT, like GoT did at the beggining by marketing itself as a “fantasy show for those who don’t like fantasy”.

    It would be SO funny if the show’s intro was the same as the one of the Tudors, maybe with the actress playing Rhaenyra sayng “you think you know a story, but you only know how it ends, to get to the heart of the story, you have to go back to the beggining”.

    “I don’t know if it’s agism, I don’t believe we know how old Alicent is when we start the show? Born in 88 AC, I think she is 23 when she and Rhaenyra wear their respective black vs. green clothes. Perhaps they may jump back and forth throughout the timeline, showing a younger Alicent? I think it may be easier (via make-up) to age up a younger actress than to age down an older one.”

    So Alicent was born in 88 ac and got married in 106 ac, meeaning that alicent was 18 when she married (is that right? I’m awful at math lol), anyway, the infamous tourney happened 5 years after which would have made Alicent 23 yes, however, a while ago we speculated that the still images that we saw corresponed to

    [SPOILER] Laena Velaryon’s funeral [/SPOILER]

    That event takes place in 120 ac making Alicent already 32 years old, already 6 years older than the actress, and, 9 years later its when the Dance actually begins, and that’s When we see Alicent’s true nature, who she has become, her range, complexities and emotional core, clearly one of the most extraordinary and dynamic characters in ASOIAF, a much much more competent Cersei / Margaery.

    The only reason why I would accept this approach is if the show actually focused more on Alicent’s POV so we see her in KL during her adolesence, then it would completely make sense to have casted a 26 year old.

    [SPOILER] Maybe the show starts with a teenage Alicent attending to an old King Jaehaerys, we see glimpses of her wit and resourcefulness, we may even root for her [/SPOILER]

  106. Adrianacandle,

    Oh honey, Don’t apologize for replying “too much” I love to read your thoughts on the matter!

    The thing is, as awful as the other families are, which I’m not gonna deny, they are the only ones who have weapons of massive destruction and that makes them even more dangerous,it literaly puts them on god tier level, and thats scary.

    Yeah my Highties (Hightowers lol) are quite bad, but you understand their motives, its not that they are twisting their moustaches and speaking with an awful russian accent, they are deep rich characters and their cause is more than justified by the law, the culture and their own inner character traits.

  107. OberonYronwood,

    My speculation is that the series may be filming out of order — which is common — and we’re not sure whose funeral that is (but I imagine you’re right!) I speculate that they will be showing some of the earlier parts of the story,

    including the infamous tourney which establishes the greens vs. blacks wherein Alicent is 23. There isn’t a big physical difference between 32 and 26 — quite a few 32 year olds can look 23, depending on a variety of factors (genes, lifestyle, health, etc. although it may be more common nowadays to look younger than one’s age because modern times allow us to live in more sheltered, healthier, and hygienic conditions with access to skin care utilizing technologies such as tretinoin.)

    But should the series be showing the earlier parts of the story as well as the later parts, it might be more efficient to employ a 26-year old actress who can play her teenaged self as well as have make-up applied to make her look older.

    It would be SO funny if the show’s intro was the same as the one of the Tudors, maybe with the actress playing Rhaenyra sayng “you think you know a story, but you only know how it ends, to get to the heart of the story, you have to go back to the beggining”.

    And now The Tudors theme song is in my head 😉

  108. Fire blood87,

    Well, the fact that something is succesfull doesn’t mean is good though, Doesn’t it?

    But hey, if you liked them that great for you, I enjoyed them (otherwise I wouldn’t be in this website) but I personally think the writing could have been so much better.

  109. OberonYronwood,

    The thing is, as awful as the other families are, which I’m not gonna deny, they are the only ones who have weapons of massive destruction and that makes them even more dangerous,it literaly puts them on god tier level, and thats scary.

    Yeah my Highties (Hightowers lol) are quite bad, but you understand their motives, its not that they are twisting their moustaches and speaking with an awful russian accent, they are deep rich characters and their cause is more than justified by the law, the culture and their own inner character traits.

    You’re right about motives — which would go for all characters too (well, most characters). However, the Hightowers did have access to weaponizing dragons themselves through Alicent’s sons and

    utilized dragons in their wars against Rhaenyra and her supporters. I think there was actually a period of each side trying to gather as many dragons as possible in their battles.

    Likewise, not all Targaryens put themselves on a god-tier level. Some did but I don’t see that attitude so much in HotD.

    There’s also the fact that non-Targaryens flew dragons too

    and two of them defected from the blacks to the greens, sacking Tumbleton and performing atrocities. I think it was Hugh Hammer who decided that he wanted the crown for himself.

    So I think it goes beyond family name but to individual character. I quoted this passage above but I’ll include it again here 🙂

    GRRM once said:

    But I think it is a mistake to generalize about ‘the Westerlings,” just as it would be to generalize about “the Lannisters.” Members of the same family have very different characters, desires, and ways of looking at the world… and there are secrets within families as well.

    (Btw, I love hearing your thoughts on these stories as well! 🙂 )

  110. Erik, formerly Lord Parramandas,

    “This is something that really confuses me… when S7 came out, it was loved by majority. Episodes all had high ratings on IMDB and I don’t think there was any controversy circling around among the fandom… but since S8 ended, S7 is now hated among firm portion of fandom. There’s some “general consensus” among certain fandom now that GoT “got terrible” with S7 and I don’t get how is it possible then that S7 was so well-recepted when it got released but then reception made 180 turn after the show wrapped up.”

    Well, I ‘m not an authority myself on anything so I’m just gonna talk about my own experience: I LOVED the first three episodes of season 7, the pacing was great, the characters were as vibrant and as complex as always, and loved every single scene, honestly, the queen’s justice is one of my favs in the entire series, however, the writting became messier towards the end of it.

    I just brushed off my concerns thinking that everything would have a HUGE payoff in season 8 and everything would be great and… nope not even close, and it was specially frustating given that my absolute favourite character Sansa ended up as Queen, I should have been over the moon with the ending but I didn’t I hated the rushed and nonsensical way we got there.

    Mind you this is my personal experience, I’m not trying to be edgy or cool or whatever, and It genuinely makes me happy to know you enjoyed the last two seasons the most, but it’s not my case.

    “Something I do hope HotD will “imprint” among audience is firmly showing the darker side of the dragons and of course Targaryens. In GoT, dragons were “magical”… ”
    I completely agree with you, they need to show that whilst being great and all, dragons are extremely dangerous creatures, especially if they are controlled by terrible tyrants like Daemon or Aemond one eye.

  111. Jon Snowed,

    I LOVED the Better call Saul reference, that is precisely what I want this show to become, clearly based on nostalgia but good enough (outstandingly good in fact) that it can rely on its own.

    I feel like we are always the same people commenting, we should honestly do a podcats with the people from the comment section and the people in charge of Watchers on the wall or something hahaha, Petra, Sue Luka, what do you think??

  112. Adrianacandle,

    Oh absolutely, what I find thet most fascinating about the Hightowers is that they are..well, nothing tbh, they Don’t have inmense fire breathing dragons, the Targaryens have, they Don’t command the biggest fleet the world has ever seen like the Velaryons, heck, they don’t even rule over their own hourse, Otto is just the second son, his brother, and then nephew, is the actual ruler.

    What what they DO have is their cunning, they are able to control half of the dragons, a huge army and basically rule an entire continent by themselves, that takes a huge amount of talent and an equally big amount of ambition which

    [SPOILER] of course, will be their downfall [/SPOILER]

  113. Adrianacandle,

    Yeah, you are right, and please guys, Don’t take what I said about the casting as an attack towards Olivia, I’m sure she’ll be outstanding in the role and I cannot wait to see her portraying my fav character.

  114. Adrianacandle,

    YOUNG GRIFF FOR THE THRONE. ARIANNE MARTELL QUEEN OF THE UNIVERSE YES PLEASE.

    AT LEAST UNTIL THEY GET BURNED BY DANY WHEN SHE GOES CRAY CRAY

    Look, I’m dornish, I cannot help myself haha and I truly think my sweet Aegon would make a great king with Arianne by his side.

  115. OberonYronwood,

    Yes, re: the Hightowers but while these qualities and choices led to their demise, I’d argue it also led to this entire conflict in the first place.

    Had they accepted Viserys’s will, Rhaenyra would have been able to ascend peacefully and may have been an adept and able ruler. This instead of plunging the realm into civil war over greed and desire for power. Even when Rhaenyra took the throne, they managed to make off with the majority of the funds, putting King’s Landing into a state of poverty and famine to sabotage Rhaenyra’s rule.

    Not that Rhaenyra isn’t responsible for her choices and actions in turn — she is!! But the Greens seemed to want to kindle those sparks and set the world on fire for their own interests so long as they get what they want — power (well, I’m referring to Alicent, Otto, Aegon, and Aemond — Helaena was an innocent casualty of this war, in addition to her children, who suffered unimaginable cruelty from Team Black).

    As for the books, I don’t know how it’s going to go with Young Griff and all that but I do think he will win the approval of Westeros and Dorne and appear to be an ideal ruler. Although, there is a difference between perception and reality. However,

    I’m hoping Dany doesn’t just go crazy and there’s human heart in conflict with itself within her choices too if she burns King’s Landing in the books too — which GRRM is good at. Nuance, layered motives, difficult choices, conflicting emotion, etc. Dany is not just one thing, she’s her good parts, the in-between parts, and the dark parts — like any other character. However, I admit I am exhausted by the Dark Dany debates now, as I am with most season 8 arguments. I think people have drawn their lines in the sand on this and on Dany and aren’t budging.
  116. Fully agree, if anyone has read Fire & Blood then they should appreciate all those connected with the show gave absolutely everything and some of hthe criticism of D&D is widely inaccurate and wrong.

  117. OberonYronwood: and [the Greens’] cause is more than justified by the law, the culture and their own inner character traits.

    Unfortunately, I have a quibble with this and can’t entirely agree.

    I agree the Hightowers have human traits and motives — just like anyone else but…

    I don’t think plunging the realm into civil war and disregarding a king’s public will is more than justified. The Precedent wasn’t really the law since Viserys’s will, as king, could override that and he did when he named Rhaenyra his heir.

    Otto and Alicent defying this so as to get Alicent’s son on the throne, I don’t know any other motive than power? They didn’t really earn Rhaenyra’s ire until they took the crown and defied the king’s will — and the king is who makes the law.

    Otto was the one who initially pushed Viserys to make Rhaenyra his heir because he thought Daemon (who’d be Viserys’s heir per the Precedent) was The Worst. But then, that all changes when his daughter marries Viserys and has sons with him, making the Precedent appealing to Otto now because under the Precedent, it’d be his grandson on the throne — consolidating power for his family line. However, prior to Alicent marrying Viserys, Viserys ended up doing as Otto initially wanted and made Rhaenyra his heir in a very public ceremony for all to see. Rhaenyra didn’t have any alarm bells going off at this time, what the Hightowers did wasn’t for the good of the realm, Rhaenyra was raised to be queen under Viserys and had the proper education. She was celebrated as the “Realm’s Delight” as a girl.

    So I don’t think the Hightowers hijacking the throne in defiance of Viserys’s will was actually justified. That doesn’t mean they aren’t human characters twirling mustaches. Alicent, for one, had a deep deep love for her children. But I can’t call their action in kicking off the DoD justified… :/

  118. OberonYronwood,

    “….. Alicent’s true nature, who she has become, her range, complexities and emotional core, clearly one of the most extraordinary and dynamic characters in ASOIAF, a much much more competent Cersei / Margaery.
    ———-
    Really? That’s quite an impressive description. Then I’ll reaffirm…

    https://funart.pro/uploads/posts/2019-11/1575025257_instagram-olivija-kuk-15.jpg

    …She is my Queen.

    https://media.vanityfair.com/photos/6064e0685e531a46c84d7e7f/master/w_2560%2Cc_limit/0421-Olivia-Cooke-Beauty-001-Lede.jpg

    Now and always!

    💚

  119. Jai,

    Mando is very good, but it’s very safe. They dont take many chances to piss off the die hard star war fans. i enjoy it but it does sometimes become very fan fiction at times. I’m worried that house of the dragon might go this route and i would enjoy it as much as i enjoyed the original series.

  120. Stew,

    Bob Odenkirk is great. Even his cameo appearance in Waynes World 2 back in the day was funny.

    He comes in around the :25 second mark.

  121. Adrianacandle,

    ”I agree the Hightowers have human traits and motives — just like anyone else but…

    I don’t think plunging the realm into civil war and disregarding a king’s public will is more than justified….

    So I don’t think the Hightowers hijacking the throne in defiance of Viserys’s will was actually justified … But I can’t call their action in kicking off the DoD justified…

    :”/

    That’s kind of like how I felt about Ned Stark disregarding King Robert’s will – actually forging Robert’s Will – and essentially “plunging the realm into civil war.”

    One might even say the Dance of the Stags was set in motion by Ned’s ill-advised decision to override the express last wishes of his supposed best friend and monarch. If Ned hadn’t presumed to reconfigure the orderly ascension of Robert’s heir upon his death, there would’ve been no Stannis B. vs. Joffrey B. vs. Renly B. civil war.

    Thanks Ned.

  122. Ten Bears,

    Ned did inadvertently play a role in kicking off the war but there are some crucial differences.

    Cersei lied about her childrens’ parentage. Robert didn’t know this. He didn’t know Joffrey wasn’t his son. Robert named Joffrey in his will based on false information.

    Ned didn’t write “lawful heir” instead of “Joffrey” for power or to consolidate power for himself, he was following the line of succession — which was the established law Robert was following. Ned knew Cersei’s children weren’t Robert’s but Robert didn’t know this. This is why Robert expected his throne to go to Joffrey, because he thought Joffrey was his son. Had Robert known the truth, Cersei and her children may have been put to death. Ned didn’t intend to withhold the truth from Robert — he did intend to tell Robert but Robert was then fatally injured. He only does so on Robert’s death bed so as not to hurt him in his last moments.

    Cersei lied, in part to secure power for herself and because she refused (in the books) to bear Robert’s sons due to her hatred for him.

    Meanwhile, there was no false information in the case of Viserys, Rhaenyra, or the Hightowers. Rhaenyra was Viserys’s — Viserys, himself, made his will clear knowing all of the information. Otto first pushes for Rhaenyra but then flip-flops upon Alicent having a son by Viserys and defects from Team Rhaenyra — because it’d be his grandson on the throne if the Precedent had been followed.

    Otto first pushes Viserys to disregard the Precedent so as to disinherit Daemon but then when Alicent has sons by Viserys, he switches teams again. For power. They defy Viserys’s will to consolidate power for their own.

  123. Ten Bears:
    Thanks, Ned.

    Haha! Hilarious.

    Also true! Martin uses Ned horrendously. Stannis B being next in line to Bobby (who by all accounts was a disastrous king and he realizes that himsef) was perfectly acceptable over Lannister kids, but any other Targ being in rightfully in line to rule after Arys the Mad King was a no-no if it interfered with his Bobby’s rule.

    Basically what we notice with Ned is: lines of succession are really super important only sometimes.

  124. TormundsWoman,

    I’m really sorry if I’m misunderstanding but Ned wasn’t pushing for a Targ rule or inheritance. The Targaryens were overthrown so they no longer had the right of succession. Under Robert, with Cersei’s kids not being true Baratheons, Stannis was Robert’s heir. That’s who Ned was supporting for the throne per the line of succession.

  125. Adrianacandle:

    The wildlings aren’t so much the “natural enemy of the Westerosi North” — the Northerners and wildlings descend from the same ancestors. The First Men. But the wildlings are the ones who were excluded and left on the wrong side of the Wall, forced to inhabit and survive incredibly harsh terrain and lifestyles, which is what their customs developed around (encouraging and prioritizing strength and endurance).

    I think they are. Wildings and Westerosi may have the same ancestor it doesn’t mean their ways of life haven’t diverged to the point where they are the natural opposites from a societal and economic point of view. TWOIAF goes into some detail on how they are enemies for thousands of years. It’s not only the raiding and raving across the Wall it’s their whole system of beliefs, like that land belongs to no one in particular, that there are no kings unless you chose them and you definitely do not owe allegiance to none, unless you chose to bestow it unconditionally.

    The several times in the last 3000 yrs when they DID chose a single leader, they marched in force to take the Wall and the North. It was the North with the Umbers and the Starks that opposed them. These are not things that go away just because Jon realizes there are bad apples in any society.

    However, given GRRM’s own views on unity vs. separatism, I don’t think he’d have the wildlings be excluded as enemies again but I think how to manage the wildling goes to what GRRM wondered about Aragon’s tax policy — how do you deal with these intricacies and more mundane aspects of ruling? What kind of conditions do you impose on the wildlings if they wish to say in Westeros?

    Well, in the TV series, Jon himself chose to oppose Mance when he asked to let him cross the Wall because the winds are rising in the North and the Others are coming. He eventually relented but only because he finally realized there’s a bigger threat. A threat to humanity.

    In the books Jon goes to assassinate Mance and this one asks the same things as in the TV series, offering the Horn of Joramund but the important thing in the negotiation is that Mance says the wildings will keep to their way of life if let south of the Wall.

    Extremely important: There will be no kneeling, no abiding by Southron laws and as a little shoutout to Aragorn tax policy issue, Martin says no taxes :D. I say Martin because Mance is also a bit of Martin’s voice.

    Honestly, I fail to see how Jon the way he was written so far, can sit at the Wall without doing anything to prevent what wildings were doing for thousands of years. It may also take generations for the free folk to change their ways and not attack the Wall and the North. Nevermind that the North is Sansa’s apparently now…

    Just to be clear. I love the free folk. I love their chaos, their unruliness their fearlesness and their liberty. I am not sure I would like living between them though.

    Maybe with Tormund. After all his my fave.

  126. Adrianacandle:
    I think he is serving the spirit of his NW vows and is on an extended ranging.

    Lol I love that. Extended ranging. 😀

    Could be, after all that’s what his heart was set on when he joined the NW.

    Adrianacandle:

    As for the rest, I’m going to side-step because I seriously don’t want to get into a season 8 fight! But I don’t think GW requested exile, it was decided by Bran as a compromise for peace.

    I wasn’t fighting or looking for one. I would never! Cringing is a natural way of expressing displeasure and disbelief at what one perceives as a bad thing.

    You are correct about GW not asking specifically for NW punishment. I consolidated the whole scene from the start to finish. GW just simply says Jon cannot go free or some such and there will be punishment. Tyrion points out that it’s not up to him and then I simply stopped paying full attention because I was busy cringing…

    Adrianacandle:
    But I don’t think Ned was thinking this way (“it wasn’t really his son so I guess it was ok”).

    That was sarcasm, Adriana. Of course Ned didn’t think that. We are after all in his head and even if we wouldn’t be, one can tell from Ned’s ways of trying to be honorable that he’d be horrified should that type of thought ever cross his mind.

    We leave that type of thinking to someone like Cat. /sarcasm

  127. TormundsWoman,

    I think they are. Wildings and Westerosi may have the same ancestor it doesn’t mean the ways of life haven’t diverge to the point where they are the natural opposites from a societal and economic point of view. TWOIAF goes into some detail on how they are enemies for thousands of years. It’s not only the raiding and raving across the Wall it’s their whole system of believes that land belongs to no one in particular, that there are no kings unless you chose them and you definitely do not owe allegiance to none, unless you chose to bestow it unconditionally.
    The several times in the last 3000 yrs when they DID chose a single leader they marched in force to take the Wall and the North. It was the North with the Umbers and the Starks that opposed them. These are not things that go away just because Jon realizes there are bad apples in any society.

    The wildlings weren’t fighting the Westerosi for nothing or because they don’t have anything better to do, they were doing doing all this for survival. The Wall was erected, leaving the wildlings in a harsh, barren landscape where resources are extremely limited. This is why the wildlings raid and reap (but not all clans — the Thenns don’t, for instance). And then vulnerable to the Others.

    They also unified under Mance to breach Westeros in order to survive because the Others were after them. They wanted to get on the other side of the Wall.

    With the threat of the Others gone, the Lands of Always Winter thawing, these aren’t really issues anymore. The wildlings can be permitted to stay in Westeros — but, of course, under conditions. And if they break those conditions, they face the consequences — like any other people. The wildlings can adapt if they want to be south.

    The wildlings aren’t the only cultures who raid and reap. The Ironborn do too as do leaders participating in conquest.

    He eventually relented but only because he finally realized there’s a bigger threat. A threat to humanity.

    Well, Jon’s primary goal there was because the wildling were people — men, women, and children — who are also deserving of protection. They are part of the realms of men, of humanity. Jon also wants to embark on a suicide mission to save the wildlings at Hardhome and plans on settling them in the Gift — and not temporarily. He also creates a new House — House Thenn — in order to integrate the wildlings into Westeros via the marriage of Alys and the Sigorn of Thenn.

    In the books Jon goes to assassinate Mance and this one asks the same offering the Horn of Joramund but the important thing in the negotiation is that Mance says the wildings will keep to their way if let south of the Wall. Extrememly important: There will be no kneeling, no abiding by Southron laws and as a little shoutout to Aragorn tax policy issue, Martin says no taxes :D. I say Martin because Mance is also a bit of Martin’s voice.

    I believe Mance says the wildlings will not bend, which is different from saying they will not abide by conditions set upon them. Jon isn’t requiring the wildling to pledge fealty but, as he says, he needs them to obey. And if they don’t and proceed to raid and reap, they face consequences. This is why Jon takes the 100 hostages to keep the wildlings in line. From thereon, wildlings can learn to adapt or after the threat is dealt with, return to the thawing Lands of Always Winter. It’s up to them. But as long as they abide by the conditions and only practice their customs amongst themselves, there should be no problem. For those who break the laws, they are subject to the punishments of the king.

    Also, I believe Jon is sent to assassinate Mance to end his attack on the Wall — this attack being done because the wildlings are trying to escape the Others.

    Honestly, I fail to see how Jon the way he was written so far, can sit at the Wall without doing anything to prevent what wildings were doing for thousands of years. It may also take generations for the free folk to change their ways and not attack the Wall and the North. Nevermind that the North is Sansa’s apparently now…

    Jon’s arc is about unity and GRRM has impressed the importance of unity — in his own thoughts and through Jon’s arc. Plus, the wildlings were only doing what they could for thousands of years to survive in a hostile land. That may no longer be the case after the threat of the Others is over. I don’t see why they’d have to be enemies again, especially since Westeros has its own raiders and reapers they put up with as it is (the Ironborn).

    In ADWD, Jon has also imposed conditions on the wildlings so they abide by southern laws in order to prevent bloodshed. In a similar vein, laws can be applied to the wildlings by the ruling king after the Others are defeated for any wildlings willing to stay in Westeros. Some may not. The Gift is land belonging to the Night’s Watch so I don’t think Sansa — if she is QitN in the books (and I’m not sure about that) — has dominion over that parcel of land.

    I don’t think ASOIAF is going to end with the wildlings becoming enemies of Westeros again, I think that would be contrary to GRRM’s themes. However, I can see how GRRM’s thoughts on Aragon’s tax policy would apply here to wildlings wishing to stay in Westeros. They may not though if the land beyond the Wall proves habitable.

    Plus, Jon — much like the Others — is a misfit who doesn’t really belong. It’s that empathy and understanding that I think makes Jon more of a bridge and negotiator. His experiences as a bastard and outsider are, I think, one of the reasons why he gels with certain views the wildlings have (merit-based leadership) and certain members of the freefolk.

  128. TormundsWoman:

    Well, in the TV series, Jon himself chose to oppose Mance when he asked to let him cross the Wall because the winds are rising in the North and the Others are coming. He eventually relented but only because he finally realized there’s a bigger threat. A threat to humanity.

    Correction: I mean after decimating the wildlings in droves and killing the Giants in the first wave of attack when Mance comes with the biggest fire and army the North has ever seen. Anyway Sannis took care of that problem by taking the rest of the free folk prisoners.

    And when I say he finally relented, it was really the Hardhome fallout.

    I make this correction because I consolidated the whole thing in my head again. I don’t think it’s good to post on large issues for me, looks like I tend to mush things together 🙁

  129. OberonYronwood,

    Funny, I was actually the other way around with S7… I was the most unsure about it BEFORE it was released but with its release and S8 release, I grew to love it even more than I assumed I would (now I firmly treat them as one 13-episode season though). I absolutely LOVED S6 and it’s still my favorite GoT season up to this day, additionally brightened by my participation here on WoTW in 2016. But as soon as S6 ended, I started to some sort of… alienate (?) myself from hype for S7 because I was worried we’ll be dealing with very “fanservice season” that would be made with intention to elevate Dany into worshipping clouds while Cersei would be straight “mad queen” who would be no match for Dany. Immense hype started to appear about Jon and Dany meeting and numerous comments surfaced regarding how they’re actually “the story” and everyone else is just supporting characters in their stories – that was kind of “bothering me” because I always saw GoT as ensemble cast story and I was never really into “worshipping” characters above others. And on top of that, some “dark Sansa” theories started to emerge after S6 (the season that firmly solidified her as my favorite character), including something that Arya might kill her and so on and so on so as much as I loved GoT, I ended up being “worried” about S7 instead of eagerly expecting it.

    But when S7 aired, my fears were soon put to rest because I realized we’re not following this typical fantasy story flow. Some of the major points that made me put my fears to rest:
    1) Cersei was not really “mad queen evil” and actually managed to deliver a heavy blow to Dany in early season, obliterating majority of her Westerosi allies
    2) Jon and Dany met early on and their meeting was tense with both characters being “deconstructed” to some extent
    3) Dany burning the Lannister army was not really shot in “worshipping manner” but in much darker tone, even ambigous tone if we’re at that
    4) Sansa remained a protagonist and there was no villainous plot from her side
    5) White Walkers came into heavy play this season, including killing Dany’s dragon and evening the odds immensely – no “fantasy future” of three dragon riders facing White Walkers with entire force of Westeros behind
    6) The temporary “truce” between Dany and Cersei made me firmly think that S8 won’t be typical “heroic story” but something more complex and possibly darker because if that wasn’t the case, Cersei would have been dealt with this season

    So with all these ticked off (and some more I didn’t list) my appreciation for S7 ended up being very strong, with my least favorite episode being Eastwatch (my no.53 out of 73 episodes – also my lowest ranking among all S7/S8 episodes) which simply wasn’t anything special to me. Two episodes climbed into my top 10 (with S8 release, one of them is now no.11), two more into my top 20 (still there after S8)… all in all, I appreciated it a lot and I think if I singled out my least favorite part of S7, I would probably say Sam’s Oldtown detour which I felt was a bit too “sped up” considering he kept traveling there for entire S6.

    And with S8 release (which I loved) and my subsequent “conjoining” of these two seasons, my fondness of S7 grew even higher as now S7 became the “build-up arc” to the twisted and dark climax in form of S8 and with the way how S8 ended (or to be more exact, how it resulted in The Bells) I started seeing S7 as darker than before and I already said numerous times I LOVE if TV shows get truly dark in its endgame stages. So pieces fell into place for me, knowing where and how it all ends, and combined S7/S8 became my third favorite season behind S6 (my favorite) and S4 (my second favorite). Any part from S7 or S8, from the least controversial to most controversial ones, I KNOW why I love it or am satisfied with it and I can always firmly answer that in long essays. I won’t go into details here but if someone askes me, I’m always happy to answer… from Dany’s downfall, to Cersei’s death, to Bran’s coronation. There are areas of improvement of course but all in all, I have very little actual issues with these two seasons, even less now when I know where the story is headed.

    The only “piece” that remains for me now is for me to rewatch the entirety of GoT for the first time with knowledge where it ends because regardless of TV show, first rewatch is crucial for me and so far in any TV show I rewatched, the emotional impact and “insightfulness” only deepened for me and I’m sure I’ll feel similar with GoT and discover stuff that I didn’t pay much attention first time around but will make more impact on me when knowing where the story is headed. But considering I’m currently watching “Supernatural” and “The Office” for first time and rewatching “The Sopranos” for first time and I rewatched LOST last year (4th journey), GoT rewatch is not on my schedule yet but I’m hyped when it will happen.

  130. TormundsWoman,

    I wasn’t fighting or looking for one. I would never! Cringing is a natural way of expressing displeasure and disbelief at what one perceives as a bad thing.

    Oh, no! I’m sorry for the misunderstanding! I didn’t say you were looking for a fight! I am expressing my own wariness and caution in order to avoid one because I find the s8 ones exhausting — it was not meant to be a comment on you! I’m sorry!

    That was sarcasm, Adriana. Of course Ned didn’t think that. We are after all in his head and even if we wouldn’t be, one can tell from Ned’s ways of trying to be honorable that he’d be horrified should that type of thought ever cross his mind.

    I’m sorry for my mistake of your meaning, TormundsWoman — I sometimes can’t tell sarcasm from text 🙁

    Anyway, I did reply to your post re: the wildlings but our gracious and loving Lord of Light has held it back for moderation so it may be released later today! I made the post at June 9, 2021 at 12:32 pm WotW time 🙂

  131. OberonYronwood,

    ”Well, I ‘m not an authority myself on anything so I’m just gonna talk about my own experience: I LOVED the first three episodes of season 7, the pacing was great, the characters were as vibrant and as complex as always, and loved every single scene, honestly, the queen’s justice is one of my favs in the entire series, however, the writting became messier towards the end of it.”


    Until S7e3? What about S7e4? I thought the Loot Train battle scene aka Field of Fire 2.0 was edge-of-your-seat thrilling. And for those of us who were partial to a certain

    super ninja warrior princess

    character, there was this delightful scene in S7e4

    beginning at 0:17 when she strolls into the WF courtyard all cleaned up with a new hairdo, new combat suit, new boots, new dagger, new fighting skills, and that nifty dagger twirl at 0:44 and hand-to-hand dagger flip at 2:45.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1mWKRXV7gFk

    I think for many fans, the show started going off the rails in S7e5

    with the silly, contrived LF WF “plot” to turn “sister against sister,” and weird, out of character behavior by GullibleSansa and PsychoArya.

    Still lots to love about the show. It’s just that some aspects of it started feeling slapdash and dumbed down.

  132. Adrianacandle,

    “Well, Jon being in the NW or not — I’ll leave that up to each individual viewer 🙂 People have their own ideas on that. I think he is serving the spirit of his NW vows and is on an extended ranging.”

    That last scene of the last episode with Jon escorting the Free Folk out of Castle Black was one of the few times I liked that things were left open-ended and ambiguous.

    (“Where’s he going? Is he coming back? Is he gonna be the new King Beyond the Wall? Why’d they need him to ride on horseback with them?”)

    One thing I thought was pretty clear is that the Free Folk adored King Crow. After all, he fought for their very survival. Those young Wildlings accompanying him seemed pretty happy.

    An “extended ranging” sounds nice. In my mind, I’d like to imagine there are plenty of unattached spearwives and war widows who’d like nothing better than to soothe his heartache.

  133. Mr Derp,

    thats awesome he is great i didnt realize he goes that far back acting. i loved his role in how i met your mother as well. very good under rated actor for a long time.

  134. One of the items not included in Game of Thrones appears in the final chapter of the fourth book, when

    Sam reaches The Citadel and learns the Maesters had conspired to poison all of the dragons on Westeros.

    I’m hoping this becomes part of the story of the decline of House Targ’.

  135. Erik, formerly Lord Parramandas,

    Funnily enough I also got incredibly nervous about season 7, and my nerves soothed when I watched the first episode, I said “wow, this is absolutely great”, well done, and episodes 2 and 3 were amazing too, especially episode 3 with Jon and Dany meeting, Sansa ruling the North, Ellaria’s prison scene and Olena’s death, sure, they sacrified a lot of logic during this episodes for the sake of the narrative (like the greyjoy fleet attack or Highgarden being stupidly armed and patheticaly weak) BUT the pay-off clearly compensated for it, just like in season 6, logic in some capacity was thrown out of the window but it was still amazing.

    then episodes 4 – 7 came and there was not emotional pay-off anymore, Yes, Daenerys and Jon were quite sweet and LF was finally killed but they way we got there was so incredibly messy I just didn’t enjoy the result anymore, I just got slightly annoyed but I justified it by thinking that season 8 would be worth it.

    Don’t get me wrong, this is not me saying “well, I’m clearly right and you are wrong”, I love the fact that you enjoyed the last two seasons I really do, I just dont share the sentiment.

    I agree with seasons 7 and 8 being one total final season with two parts, that’s a smart way of looking at it, I just think 13 episodes was nowhere near enough to finish this many plot lines, which is excatly what’s happening to George, there is no way he is gonna finish the plot in just two books.

    I wanted more time to see Daenerys’ descend into madness, Cersei’s awful rule as Queen, Sansa’s schemes for power, Bran’s…welll, doing something?, Arya’s doubts on what her place was gonna be, I wanted the show that took its time to let its characters grow and evolve, make mistakes and clearly pay for them, I personaly didn’t get that,

    It only took Daenerys one episode from going to badass queen savour of Westeros in episode 3 to go full genocidal madness, she was ruthless before but never to that level of killing innocent peasants, again, this is the same Daenerys that was risking her own life two episodes ago, fighting on the battlefield to save the entire world.

    I’m not saying the ending was awful on itself, in fact, I enjoyed most of the things happening (primarily Sansa getting crowned as QiTN) but I truly believe the show would have benefited from having more time, it felt rushed and borderline nonsensical, and that’s not what GoT used to be, I think thats what offended people the most, is that GoT presented itself as a serious fantasy story, where the characters will be flawed and complex and will suffer from the consequences of their actions, just as humans do in real life, I didn’t get that feeling anymore when I was watching the last two seasons, it felt like a completely different show.

    We could spend hours and hours talking about this tbh, and I personaly pride myself on not one of those who will insult the people who enjoyed seasons 7 & 8 (seriously, some people need to get a life) but I’m afraid I will not agree with you on this one.

  136. Erik, formerly Lord Parramandas,

    I would also like to say how sorry I am that people attack you online, its one thing that you Didn’t like (or even hated) seasons 7 & 8 but to attack other individuals and even calling them stupid? I mean, come on!

    And now that we have opened Pandora’s box, I would very much like to know you opinion on Daenery’s downfall, I’m not being sarcastic or anything, I genuinely wanna know what you think.

  137. Tensor the Mage, Enjoying All The New Material,

    Sam reaches The Citadel and learns the Maesters had conspired to poison all of the dragons on Westeros.

    I believe that’s the claim and theory but it’s not quite confirmed or understood yet. The thought is put into readers’ head by Marwyn though.

    It’s thought that the maesters didn’t only want to get rid of dragons but magic altogether as they don’t trust or like magic:

    “If I tell you, they may need to kill you too.” Marywn smiled a ghastly smile, the juice of the sourleaf running red between his teeth. “Who do you think killed all the dragons the last time around? Gallant dragonslayers armed with swords?” He spat. “The world the Citadel is building has no place in it for sorcery or prophecy or glass candles, much less for dragons. Ask yourself why Aemon Targaryen was allowed to waste his life upon the Wall, when by rights he should have been raised to archmaester. His blood was why. He could not be trusted. No more than I can.”

    Yet:

    * Most of the dragons were killed in The Dance. Those that weren’t vanished. Only one dragon remained.

    * Aemon himself says he choose to serve in the Night’s Watch while the A World of Ice and Fire (app) explains he went to Castle Black so as not to be used against his brother, Egg (Aegon).

    The old man heard him. Though Aemon’s eyes had dimmed and gone dark, there was nothing wrong with his ears. “I was not born blind,” he reminded them. “When last I passed this way, I saw every rock and tree and whitecap, and watched the grey gulls flying in our wake. I was five-and-thirty and had been a maester of the chain for sixteen years. Egg wanted me to help him rule, but I knew my place was here. He sent me north aboard the Golden Dragon, and insisted that his friend Ser Duncan see me safe to Eastwatch. No recruit had arrived at the Wall with so much pomp since Nymeria sent the Watch six kings in golden fetters. Egg emptied out the dungeons too, so I would not need to say my vows alone. My honor guard, he called them. One was no less a man than Brynden Rivers. Later he was chosen lord commander.”

    There is the fan-developed giant Grand Maester Conspiracy Theory surrounding this and Alt Shift X explores what might be going on but concludes there is no actual evidence.

    Wrt dragons, it’s theorized that the maesters may have used their position to manipulate the Hightowers (who are largely responsible for The Dance) into starting this war that killed all the dragons. Maesters wield great influence over the powers in Westeros — they are teachers, advisers, healers. Dustin tells Theon:

    “They heal, yes. I never said they were not subtle. They tend to us when we are sick and injured, or distraught over the illness of a parent or a child. Whenever we are weakest and most vulnerable, there they are. Sometimes they heal us, and we are duly grateful. When they fail, they console us in our grief, and we are grateful for that as well. Out of gratitude we give them a place beneath our roof and make them privy to all our shames and secrets, a part of every council. And before too long, the ruler has become the ruled.”

    But still, no evidence of that the maesters manipulated the Hightowers or other powers into starting this war. The Hightowers had their own believable motivations — power. Otto wanted Rhaenyra on the throne to disinherit Daemon until Otto’s daughter has a son by the king and that’s when Otto flips. And Otto’s grandson is who the Hightowers place on the throne. Otto’s line through Alicent would rule Westeros with Aegon on the throne — Aegon is half Hightower. The Hightowers don’t really need maester manipulation to start this conflict. Families have warred for power and dominion for years to get their blood in the seat of power, including the Starks and their conquest of the North.

    The maesters also don’t show much fondness for magic either. Several passages have maesters talking about how magic was once a mighty force in the world but is no longer. They also don’t trust magic:

    “Leave spells and prayers to priests and septons and bend your wits to learning truths a man can trust in,” Archmaester Ryam had once counseled Pate, but Ryam’s ring and rod and mask were yellow gold, and his maester’s chain had no link of Valyrian steel.

    But there’s no proof for these conspiracies — which is what makes Marwyn’s statement so interesting. Marwyn also is a bit of a rogue maester too who practises magic himself, I believe. Something probably is going on but we don’t know exactly what or what went down 😉

  138. OberonYronwood: which is excatly what’s happening to George, there is no way he is gonna finish the plot in just two books.

    Yeah, this is why I wonder if two books is a bit optimistic (for a number of reasons — we’d be lucky to get one book) but I don’t think two books is enough to finish everything he’s got going on either. ASOIAF was originally meant to be a trilogy but that turned into five books and now seven books… going by that pattern, maybe our final number is nine? 🙂

  139. Adrianacandle: Yeah, this is why I wonder if two books is a bit optimistic (for a number of reasons — we’d be lucky to get one book) but I don’t think two books is enough to finish everything he’s got going on either. ASOIAF was originally meant to be a trilogy but that turned into five books and now seven books… going by that pattern, maybe our final number is nine? 🙂

    It makes sense he wanted a trilogy since GRRM is such a fan of LOTR. I had estimated about 3000 pages were needed to finish the story so that really is three books or two 1500 page books. I was just looking at the pacing of the other books as my guide. Of course he could just wrap it all up on one page if he wants with a brief cliff note outline but I would think he’ll keep the same style and follow the characters where they lead. He also did build up to faster paced action at the end of each book which I enjoyed.

  140. Tron79: It makes sense he wanted a trilogy since GRRM is such a fan of LOTR. I had estimated about 3000 pages were needed to finish the story so that really is three books or two 1500 page books. I was just looking at the pacing of the other books as my guide. Of course he could just wrap it all up on one page if he wants with a brief cliff note outline but I would think he’ll keep the same style and follow the characters where they lead. He also did build up to faster paced action at the end of each book which I enjoyed.

    I think — given how much GRRM has going on, how many characters, plots, and side-plots he’s introduced (I can’t even remember them all off the top of my head) — more than 3000 pages would be needed. I’m hoping he doesn’t add more to that but he has talked about getting swept up with side-plots and characters which he now needs to resolve. Each book has gotten bigger and bigger and bigger and GRRM talks a bit about that here:

    GRRM: I won’t say the plotlines have diverged, but the process of getting from here to there has taken more time and more pages than I initially estimated… perhaps because I found the places and people I encountered along the way so interesting. The secondary and tertiary characters are largely to blame, the spearcarriers who keep insisting that they’re human too, when all I want them to do is stand there and be quiet and hold that spear. Yes, some of my initial plans have changed along the way. If they hadn’t, I would just be connecting the dots, and that would drive me mad. Some writers are architects and some are gardeners, and I am in the second camp. The tale takes on a life of its own in the writing.

    I feel, where ADWD leaves off, it’s largely at a precipice for so many characters, plots, and stories that he now needs to start weaving together into coherent narratives, which would be tricky. ADWD still feels like a mid point. I think at least one more book would be needed. GRRM seems to really enjoy the exploration and journey between points. His editor may pull him back from his inclination to add more and more but he’s given himself a lot on his plate to deal with as is.

    I agree he wouldn’t be up for a Cliff’s Notes version — for reasons he explains why above and here:

    Essentially I know the big stuff, but a lot of little stuff occurs in the course of the writing. And of course some of the little stuff is very, very important. The devil is in the details. The devil is what makes the journey more than just an outline or a Cliff’s Notes kind of experience.

    I think this is largely why a) GRRM has taken increasingly longer to get each book out and b) why this story has expanded so much. I think he does have his bare-bones outline but the journey between points has expanded beyond what he’s anticipated.

  141. Adrianacandle,

    Thank you for the background material! I’ll respond with some general points, so we won’t need to cover our comments in greyscale.

    + You are of course correct: maesters do not decide, they advise. However, there’s nothing to stop them from advising for courses of action which could also be really convenient to advancing a general policy the Citatel may have, and likewise slanting their advice against courses of action which are inconvenient to any policy from the Citadel.

    + You’re also right, the topic I covered in greyscale is not as definite as I made it sound in my comment. Then again, in Martin’s world, nothing is definite, so (as you noted) we speculate on what hints Martin drops for us.

    Still, I hope some material like what I mentioned makes it into House of the Dragon — even if it contradicts my speculation!

    Again, thank you for your informative response.

  142. Tensor the Mage, Enjoying All The New Material,

    Of course! It’s a topic I find really interesting because Marwyn’s comment there is…. thought-provoking at the very least 🙂

    I do think there is something to it — it’s just hard to know what exactly but I also hope we get more information on that too. I think the maesters have a bigger role in what goes on than how it appears, definitely.

    You are of course correct: maesters do not decide, they advise. However, there’s nothing to stop them from advising for courses of action which could also be really convenient to advancing a general policy the Citatel may have, and likewise slanting their advice against courses of action which are inconvenient to any policy from the Citadel.

    Oh yes, definitely, which I think goes to Dustin’s comment: “And before too long, the ruler has become the ruled.” The maesters have great influence over the most major powers in this world. They advise, they teach, they heal, they council, they receive communications, they assist in the raising of the children. That’s a lot of access and power they have.

    In a way, it reminds me of this one position I had heard about in a podcast I was listening to: The Groom of the Stool. He was a guy who was basically responsible for assisting the king with his — outputting — activities. Cleaning the pot, wiping, all that fun stuff. While it definitely sounds (and is) gross, this guy would often have the king’s ear and while the king was on his porcelain throne, he’d talk to the groom and sometimes ask his advice. It’s that access which gave this position power and made this position one that was quite sought after. Taking care of the king’s waste was an appealing position 🙂 (Also, it reportedly came with high pay and great benefits)

  143. Fire blood87,

    “Nobody should be offended by a TV show”

    Well, you of most people should understand that people have strong feelings about books, movies and definitely TV shows, for the same reason you are defending seasons 7 & 8, as it is your right, people also have the right to be offended or mad or whatever they feel about the show and express it accordingly.

    “I disagree with almost all of this especially the Offended part that’s ridiculous”

    You are more than welcome to respectfuly express your disagreence with me.

  144. Fire blood87:
    OberonYronwood,

    Nobody should be offended by a TV show

    Agreed. For people to be straight offended and make statements they wasted X years of their life because they didn’t like a certain TV show’s ending, that’s straight toxic and in no way justifiable in my eyes. Worst of the worst when it comes to fan toxicity in my opinion For example, LOST finished 11 years ago and people are STILL berserking on official page and acting enraged if the page dares to even post something LOST related. Not to mention that more than often, these same kind of people will try to embitter first-time-watchers’ journey.

  145. OberonYronwood,

    ”then episodes 4 – 7 came and there was not emotional pay-off anymore, Yes, Daenerys and Jon were quite sweet and LF was finally killed but they way we got there was so incredibly messy I just didn’t enjoy the result anymore…”

    Back to my defense of S7e4 (6/9/21, 4:44 pm above):
    I only had a few minor quibbles with “The Spoils of War”:

    • I loved the Brienne – Arya sparring scene:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1mWKRXV7gFk
    It was especially nice to see Arya in a spiffy new combat suit, instead of the drab Arry outfit or dirty HoBW shmata.

    However, as far as “emotional payoff,” it would have been more satisfying if Jon rather than Sansa had been the one to witness the reveal of Arya’s swordfighting skills. That would’ve been an appropriate bookend to Jon’s S1e2 scene (giving Needle and advice to Arya). The sparring scene could have waited until Jon’s return to WF in S8e1. Sansa and LF witnessing the match didn’t really lead to any payoff (for me).* Again, this is a quibble, not a criticism.

    • Bronn or Jaime should have fried and died, or drowned at the end. It was a little too unrealistic that both made it out alive. (How they both washed up on dry land far from the battlefield at the beginning of the next episode was never explained.) No big deal. It’s just that surviving kind of detracted from that last shot of Jaime, in full armor, slowly sinking to the bottom of the river.

    * More fitting for Sansa could have been something like … [To be continued]

  146. Erik, formerly Lord Parramandas,

    “For people to be straight offended and make statements they wasted X years of their life because they didn’t like a certain TV show’s ending, that’s straight toxic and in no way justifiable in my eyes… For example, LOST finished 11 years ago and people are STILL berserking on official page and acting enraged…”

    I know you’re a LOST aficionado. I’ve never seen a single episode. I’m conflicted whether I should even consider taking a deep dive into that show.
    On one hand, I’m aware that GRRM likened the ending to a fecal surprise being left on his doorstep. (Not that he should be one to complain about the ending of a series, especially with an end to the books (still) not in sight, and an ending to GoT that crashed and burned on the runway instead of “sticking the landing,” in many fans’ eyes.)
    On the other hand, after I gushed about Jack Bender’s direction of GoT S6e5 “The Door,” you pointed out that Jack Bender directed the series finale of LOST.
    What say you?

  147. Ten Bears,

    Here’s some of GRRM’s ironic thoughts on the Lost ending:

    “We watched [Lost] every week trying to figure it out, and as it got deeper and deeper I kept saying, ‘They better have something good in mind for the end. This better pay off here.’ And then I felt so cheated when we got to the conclusion.” Martin also cites the Lost ending as the type of mistake he fears making with his own show, saying, “I want to give them something terrific. What if I f— it up at the end? What if I do a Lost? Then they’ll come after me with pitchforks and torches.”

  148. Damon’s response to fan criticism of the Lost ending:

    One of the things that I think I’ve evolved on is, I started from a very petulant place of, “If you didn’t like/get the Lost ending, then you’re not a true fan of the show.” And I began to realize, “Hey, wait a minute, there’s [other] stuff that I took issue with, but I still consider myself a fan of that.” Wasn’t crazy about the last Harry Potter movie, but I’m a huge Harry Potter fan, and a fan of most of the other movies, and I would be bummed if J.K. Rowling tried to strip me of my fandom. I’ve come around to saying, everybody has a right to saying that they didn’t like the finale, or even if the finale retroactively destroyed the entire series that they loved.”

    IMO, this is a very mature mindset from Damon.

  149. Mr Derp:
    Ten Bears,

    Here’s some of GRRM’s ironic thoughts on the Lost ending:

    “We watched [Lost] every week trying to figure it out, and as it got deeper and deeper I kept saying, ‘They better have something good in mind for the end. This better pay off here.’ And then I felt so cheated when we got to the conclusion.” Martin also cites the Lost ending as the type of mistake he fears making with his own show, saying, “I want to give them something terrific. What if I f— it up at the end? What if I do a Lost? Then they’ll come after me with pitchforks and torches.”

    His workaround? Dont Finish the books at All lol.

  150. Ten Bears:
    Erik, formerly Lord Parramandas,

    “For people to be straight offended and make statements they wasted X years of their life because they didn’t like a certain TV show’s ending, that’s straight toxic and in no way justifiable in my eyes… For example, LOST finished 11 years ago and people are STILL berserking on official page and acting enraged…”

    I know you’re a LOST aficionado. I’ve never seen a single episode. I’m conflicted whether I should even consider taking a deep dive into that show. On one hand, I’m aware that GRRM likened the ending to a fecal surprise being left on his doorstep. (Not that he should be one to complain about the ending of a series, especially with an end to the books (still) not in sight, and an ending to GoT that crashed and burned on the runway instead of “sticking the landing,” in many fans’ eyes.) On the other hand, after I gushed about Jack Bender’s direction of GoT S6e5 “The Door,” you pointed out that Jack Bender directed the series finale of LOST. What say you?

    First of all, I couldn’t disagree more about what GRRM said about the LOST ending because for me personally, LOST ending is the most beautiful and emotional episode I’ve ever watched. While it’s my 2nd favorite episode from the series (S5 finale being my favorite), it’s unrivaled in terms of my emotional reaction to it and this comes from a person who quickly gets emotional. Another thing is that there’s a big misunderstanding of LOST ending circling around which also contributes to a lot of people hating it and as I said several times before, these people won’t even want to listen to correct explaination (I was called dumb when I tried to explain the ending on official LOST page). I for one know a lot of people who absolutely loved the ending and the show as a whole. From pretty much everyone I’m still in online friendship contact from LOST FANS UNITE! group, to my father, to my highschool friend Lovro… I know majority of Youtube streamers who watched LOST in recent years loved the ending too. Not to mention “The End” won one of my episode elimination contests in LFU and scored third in another one. So if it’s mere GRRM statements that are turning you off from watching, I would say go for it. LOST ending is far from “universally hated”, divisive at worst and majority of people who “hated” it are the ones from original run while those who watched it later usually ended loving it or maybe only needed a bit of help explaining it (at least those who were on their first watch in LFU group). I would say appreciation for it is growing with “newer generations” of LOST audience.

    Then again, I can’t firmly say if LOST would be your taste. That, you would need to decide by yourself. I would say that if you feel you’re not invested in the show after 4 or 5 episodes, it’s not for you. But if you decide to watch it, I would give you this bit of “wisdom”: LOST is the story about the characters. The characters who are “broken” in their lives and are given a chance to start over. Big part of the early seasons are flashbacks to characters’ lives prior to the beginning of the story and it’s important to pay attention to that. The show is heavy on mystery elements, especially in early seasons, mysteries that audience would desperately want answers to and to many people, mysteries are what got them invested to the show in first place… most of the mysteries indeed get explained, some very directly, other more implicitly, and some CAN be explained by what we’re given through story even though we don’t get an outright answer on screen. But mysteries are NOT the story. The story are the characters! The “overaching mythology” is there to serve the characters and not the other way around. That’s something I would tell anyone who would want to watch LOST for first time… so they don’t get into the show relying on mysteries alone because characters are the one that most attention should be paid to in order to get the full meaning of the story.

    I’ll post my tribute video here again:

  151. Ten Bears,

    In order that I’m not talking only about my own appreciation, here’s also what my girlfriend had to say about LOST and its ending the day after she finished the show herself for first time, way back in August 2016 before we even knew each other (interesting fact, it’s this post where we made our first online contact)

    LOST helped me in so many ways. What a spiritual and emotional journey it was! It helped me realize that we are all damaged in some ways. Many people are carrying traces of a horrible past, a past that is forever a part of their conscience. But we all have to learn to let go of that past and move on, however hard it may be. To go past our fears and obstacles. I have always believed that we meet people for a reason. I really think that each person I came in contact with, taught me something. There were many ”black and white pebbles”. The black ones teach us how important the white ones are. I realized that I need the black ones too. Without them, I would have never experienced that feeling of joy and proving them wrong. Proving them that I CAN.
    Characters in LOST were very complex and layered, every scene was so detailed. I found myself emotionally attached to them. I felt like I was there. Every episode left me in deep thoughts.
    Maybe it is all planned and we are all candidates. We are supposed to be protecting this planet, our only home. Maybe it is all a web of tangled threads. I really hope that each of us chooses the right one. LOST opens up so many philosophical questions. I had so many ”accidental” small encounters that led me to most meaningful and wonderful friendships. It’s just like I was following an ”invisible thread”. When I think of that, ”maybe” disappears and I know that it is all part of a greater plan. It must be. And the final episode? It left me in tears. When Christian said to Jack: ”This is the place that you…that you all made together, so that you could find one another. The most…important part of your life, was the time that you spent with these people. That’s why all of you are here. Nobody does it alone, Jack. You needed all of them, and they needed you.” – that was the part that got me the most. I had immediate flashbacks of my dear family members and friends. And the music… Absolutely brilliant. It brought so much to those final scenes. The episode was over, I turned my laptop off and cried for another 15 minutes… I have never seen a more emotional ending in my life. People that I loved and lost will always be the most wonderful memory. They are the part of me, and their life stories are engraved in the eternity of universe. I am still a bit lost in many areas of my life, but that’s fine. Life is a journey. We spend years and years in search for something, but life often finds us when we least expect it.
    If you are reading this now, it means that you came to the very end of this long post! Thank you for reading! It means so much to me. Thank you for being a part of my life!
    Let’s spend the time with our loved ones. Because they need us and we need them… And let’s enjoy the unpredictability of tomorrow together, because every tomorrow is unknown and every second is a countdown to something out there – big or small, that is going to happen to us…
    Greetings to all of you, my dear fellow LOSTies!
    Jovana

  152. Erik, formerly Lord Parramandas,

    I somewhat agree, Look, I didn’t like season at, at all, at least from a narrative /character perspective (on a technical level it was superb, as always), and I do undertand why people got really upset in the heat of the moment, and even I understand that some of them might still being slightly annoyed by it.

    However, wishing D&D the worst things you could possibly imagine or already hating on House of The Dragon is straight up petty and childish, even if I had many many issues about the last bit of the series, I still love the show dearly and I’m incredibly excited for HoTD, to see Westeros again, to go back.

  153. Ten Bears,

    I completely agree with Arya and Brienne’s scene, it was a nice touch, also, yeah, Sansa was the only Stark sibling who had good reunions with her siblings, which is ironic given how much she wanted to escape from the north.

    “Bronn or Jaime should have fried and died, or drowned at the end. It was a little too unrealistic that both made it out alive. (How they both washed up on dry land far from the battlefield at the beginning of the next episode was never explained.) No big deal. It’s just that surviving kind of detracted from that last shot of Jaime, in full armor, slowly sinking to the bottom of the river.”

    You perfectly pinpointed the moment where I lost my faith in the old GoT and I knew the new GoT had been born, in earlier seasons both Jaime and Bronn should have died for their actions but nope, the writers sacrified all inner world logic for a cliffhanger.

    “* More fitting for Sansa could have been something like … [To be continued]”

    Well, now I’m intrigued!

  154. Erik, formerly Lord Parramandas,

    ”Then again, I can’t firmly say if LOST would be your taste. That, you would need to decide by yourself. I would say that if you feel you’re not invested in the show after 4 or 5 episodes, it’s not for you…”

    That’s my problem. I’m impatient. I have a short attention span. I doubt I’d make it to the 4th or 5th episode unless the first episode hooked me in within 15-20 minutes. (I’ve written here before that I was seconds away from clicking off the remote about fifteen minutes into S1e1 of GoT … when the 🎯 scene piqued my curiosity.)
    Is the Lost pilot episode really good?

  155. Mr Derp,

    Awn, thats very bittersweet to read, Although, to be completely honest, the ending points were fine, it was just the way we got to the finish line that I find “not well executed”.

  156. Ten Bears:
    Erik, formerly Lord Parramandas,

    ”Then again, I can’t firmly say if LOST would be your taste. That, you would need to decide by yourself. I would say that if you feel you’re not invested in the show after 4 or 5 episodes, it’s not for you…”

    That’s my problem. I’m impatient. I have a short attention span. I doubt I’d make it to the 4th or 5th episode unless the first episode hooked me in within 15-20 minutes. (I’ve written here before that I was seconds away from clicking off the remote about fifteen minutes into S1e1 of GoT … when the 🎯 scene piqued my curiosity.)Is the Lost pilot episode really good?

    LOST pilot is actually split in two episodes “Pilot part 1” and “Pilot part 2” and are in fact universally acclaimed episodes. I can say for myself that “Pilot part 1” is incredibly intense episode in my opinion, “Pilot part 2” is a bit more character-focused but no less good in my opinion…. both episodes well introduce us to the “mystery atmosphere” and I think they’re excellent opening episodes in order to make someone invested into the show. But I would say episodes 3 and 4 are truly the ones that introduce us to the “formula” of the episodes in terms how how characters get explored. But if you’re worried Pilot episodes would bore you… they’re certainly very intense episodes and if you would find them boring, then I think the show would simply not be your taste. For me personally though, it was episode 4 that truly gave me “chills” and that one is very character-focused without a lot of actual story.

  157. Ten Bears: Is the Lost pilot episode really good?

    If you are interested in taking the plunge, I personally found the pilot episodes pretty engaging — especially for the time. I got into it circa 2007 because my best friend at the time described the pilot to me as “like a movie”.

    Albeit, Lost premiered in 2004 but there you go 🙂 I think they did have a solid start and it was innovative for the time.

  158. OberonYronwood,

    I wrote. “Sansa and LF witnessing the [Brienne + Arya] match didn’t really lead to any payoff (for me).*
    ….
    * More fitting for Sansa could have been something like … [To be continued]”
    —————
    You replied: ” “* More fitting for Sansa could have been something like … [To be continued]”

    Well, now I’m intrigued!”

    ———————-
    • In general, I thought the show was setting up Sansa and Arya’s reunion and eventual reconciliation in S7, to include some comparison of their common or parallel experiences. Even though they’d been separated ever since Ned’s blunder in KL in S1:
    -They both had been protected and saved from death by the unKnight, Sandor Clegane.
    – They both got beaten and punched in the stomach by Meryn F*cking Trant.
    – They both had been traumatized by witnessing their father’s beheading, and their brother and mother’s murder at the RW – Arya from witnessing Frey goofballs parading Robb’s decapitated body, and Sansa from learning the details about what happened. [See the Sansa & Tyrion S4e1 scene linked below.]

    • In particular, I really thought the show was going to tie in the cold open to S7 (Arya’s wine-tasting soirée with the Freys) with Sansa’s S4e1 scene and her S7 discovery of Arya’s facemask satchel, not only to show how Sansa was initially freaked out by her little sister’s lethal new hobbies, but as a means of demonstrating Sansa’s powers of deduction, i.e., that she was “smart.”
    …………..
    S4e1 Sansa & Tyrion
    Traumatized Sansa distraught over the murder of her mother and brother at the Red Wedding and the desecration of their corpses
    at 1:12 – 1:40

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lw5CJ0VX4U4

    Lemme find another clip and try to explain what I mean. (Sorry for the delay.)

  159. Ten Bears,

    My tribute is mostly a compilation of hugs and emotional moments between characters themselves. It shouldn’t be spoilerish because it doesn’t really focus on story.

  160. Erik, formerly Lord Parramandas,

    All I really know about “Lost” is that

    passengers were castaways on an island after their plane crashed, and something about a “smoke monster” and a mysterious hatch,
    Oh, and two of the main cast members were Terry O’Quinn, who was also in one of my favorite movies “The Cutting Edge;” and Evangeline Lilly, who I liked in “Ant-Man.”

    I’ll have to check to see how many total episodes of “Lost” aired before I even think about “binge watching” it.

  161. “House Of The Dragon” will more than likely have to coast on GOT brand recognition to get off the ground. But it has to stand on it’s own two creative feet. It needs its own narrative voice, character development and storyline. If it doesn’t…crash and burn is one possibility we may have to entertain. This will be especially relevant once Warner Media is sold by AT&T to Discovery Inc., a parent company with a very different philosophy and mentality. Underperforming, overly-expensive shows, maybe a thing the new would-be overlords might not take kindly to or tolerate for long, especially in the now cutthroat streaming wars.

    So how about the “divisive” GOT ending stays away from “House Of The Dragon” which will need to find it’s own way…GOT made it’s own path and carved it’s own place into the very selective pantheon of great fantasy.

  162. Ten Bears,

    There’s 114-121 LOST episodes overall… depending on whether you get season finales and S6 premiere in their original 90-minutes form or if you get them in split form (two 45 minutes long episodes). I have 116 of them because I have S3 and S4 finales in split form, while having S1, S2, S5 and S6 finales and S6 premiere in their original 90 minutes form (S6 finale is actually 105 minutes long though)

  163. Ten Bears,

    In general, I thought the show was setting up Sansa and Arya’s reunion and eventual reconciliation in S7,

    Why? Martin has said he created Sansa to have conflict within the Starks, who would be otherwise too altogether too perfect in their agreement. It would be hard for Arya to ‘reconcile’ with a character to whom she’d never been conciliatory, especially as said character had been created especially to be in conflict with her. (Arya and Sansa had ever exactly one point of agreement: that Father should let their family stay in King’s Landing. How’d that work out for everyone?)

    Still, it would be fun to imagine them comparing experiences:

    “No one had any respect for Sandor, but he saved my virtue from a mob in King’s Landing.”

    “Yes, it was important for a Northern Lady like yourself to go pure to her marriage-bed with her proper Northern husband, so he could show her our ways, unbothered by Southron knowledge.”

    “Still, he was a valiant knight after all. He should have had our respect.”

    “After Brienne beat him half to death, he begged me to give him the other half. I refused and walked away, leaving him to die alone in as slow, painful, and hopeless a death as the Old Gods and the New could muster.”

    […]

    “I avenged our House by killing Walder, and every other Frey involved in the Red Wedding.”

    “Tyrion told me old Walder Frey wouldn’t even use his own chamber-pot without prior written permission from Tywin Lannister. Did you ever have a chance to kill Tywin?”

    […]

    “I use magic to kill our enemies.”

    “Father always said all magic belongs beyond the Wall. When are you leaving for Castle Black?”

    😉

  164. Erik, formerly Lord Parramandas,

    85.5 total hours of “Lost”?

    If my math is correct, and assuming an average episode of Lost has a run time of 42 minutes excluding commercials, you’ve got (111 episodes x 42 minutes) + 4 extended length 90 min episodes + 1 extended length 105 minute episode, which comes out to a grand total of:
    5,127 minutes = 85.45 total hours of Lost.
    It’s hard to imagine there weren’t at least a few “filler” episodes among the 116. Plus, I thought I read somewhere that the network pressured the showrunners into adding an extra season or two along the way, resulting in unplanned plot detours and meandering storylines.
    3 1/2 days of binge-watching straight through with no sleep or interruptions….That would be quite an investment of time.

    Maybe at some point I’ll check out the series premier and see if it reels me in before my itchy trigger on my remote clicks off the TV.

    I hate to admit it: I will probably give HotD a short fuse as well. If I’m restless halfway through the pilot episode (e.g., if it’s coming off like a note-for-note, The Force Awakens-style retread of GoT), I may change the channel or do the dishes.

  165. Tensor the Mage, Enjoying All The New Material,

    ”Why? Martin has said he created Sansa to have conflict within the Starks, who would be otherwise too altogether too perfect in their agreement…”

    Forgive me. I wasn’t clear. I imagined the sisters would have conflict, before resolving it in a way that reflected Sansa’s intelligence and a new-found appreciation for her sister’s…unique skills.

    It would not have involved that ridiculous LF stolen letter “plan.” And for that matter, it would not conclude with a trial by ambush of LF, facing “charges” he should have easily talked his way out of instead of folding like a cheap suit.

    I’ll try to explain what I had in mind…

  166. Tensor the Mage, Enjoying All The New Material:
    Why? Martin has said he created Sansa to have conflict within the Starks, who would be otherwise too altogether too perfect in their agreement. It would be hard for Arya to ‘reconcile’ with a character to whom she’d never been conciliatory, especially as said character had been created especially to be in conflict with her

    Yes, that’s the starting point for the characters’ relationships, but them being changed by their experiences and reconciling is the dramatic endpoint of that (hence Ned’s “sun and the moon” comment in the first book).

    The show flubbed this completely and had all the character stuff happen offscreen, but that’s a whole other matter.

  167. More fun with Arya & Sansa “reconciliation” dialog:

    “Aunt Lyssa told me what happens … when a person … goes through the Moon Door. Then she accused me of betraying her, and dragged me by my hair to that door. I thought she was going to throw me through it, but at the last, she relented. And then — and then — she … she went through herself! I prayed to the gods for weeks, for her and for me, but nothing could take from my eyes the sight of her just … just … falling and falling and falling (sobs). What did you do when you heard Aunt Lyssa had died?”

    😉

  168. Ten Bears,

    I think the problem between LOST showrunners and the TV network that you’re refering to is that the showrunners eventually wanted to set up a firm end date so they could properly outline the story for the rest of the seasons while the ABC network wanted the show to go on for as long as it would be popular without an end date being set in place. This happened during early S3 run when the wrters really wanted to have an exact number of remaining episodes set in place. They even intentionally made a very filler-like episode “Stranger in a Strange Land” in S3 (which is deemed least favorite episode by majority of the audience, myself included) as a warning to ABC network that if they don’t allow them to set up the end date and number of remaining episodes in order for them to firmly plan the rest of the story, these are likely the kind of episodes that would keep emerging. So they eventually negotiated for 48 more episodes post-S3 but instead of making two 24-episode seasons like S1, S2 and S3 were, they opted for three 16-episode long seasons that eventually became S4, S5 and S6. Then another minor complication came in S4 when writers’ strike happened and they had to shorten the season for 2-3 episodes. Instead of 16 episodes, we got 13 episodes with 90-minutes long season finale in S4, with story being a bit condensed in second half into 5 (or 6 if you count the finale as two) episodes. Due to S4 being shortened to writers’ strike, they managed to extend S5 and S6 by the amount of lost episodes, making S5 finale, S6 premiere and S6 finale double-sized episodes.

  169. loco73,

    ““House Of The Dragon” will more than likely have to coast on GOT brand recognition to get off the ground. But it has to stand on it’s own two creative feet. It needs its own narrative voice, character development and storyline. If it doesn’t…crash and burn is one possibility we may have to entertain.”

    I could have not said it better myself

  170. Ten Bears,

    “Forgive me. I wasn’t clear. I imagined the sisters would have conflict, before resolving it in a way that reflected Sansa’s intelligence and a new-found appreciation for her sister’s…unique skills.”

    Exactly, We all understood that there should be confict between Sansa and Arya, they never saw eye to eye with each other and time and distance could only agravate it, however, at the end of the day, by season 7 both Arya and Sansa had become the extreme versions of who they were in season 1:
    – Arya wanted to be a knight and fight like the other men, have a life of adventures and she got that, after being through hell and back, suffering inimaginable pains she became an extremely skilled assasin, capable of the highest level of ruthlessness and sadism.
    – Sansa on the other hand wanted to be the Queen for the beauty and glamour of it and yet, as we all know, was already the epitomy of the perfect little lady, well, after being through hell and back, suffering inimaginable pains she became a true Lady, cunning and power hungry, desperate to avenge her family and stablish house Stark as the royal family in the North, with herself being the power behind the Throne as power for Sansa means security, even if sometimes it meant to undermine her brother’s own power, she would scheme and plot as much as she has to (or wants to) to keep the northern crown.

    This laid the ground for such an interesting dynamic between both sisters, and we saw glimpses of that, but I feel like the conflict never reached it’s own potential, mostly due to the lack of time, which meant that we watched Arya and Sansa bicker like little girls whilst being manipulated by a cartoonish shadow of what Baelish used to be. quite sad tbh.

  171. Just looking at this talk-back here, the problem is pretty clear: This is a dying franchise and a dozen and a half hardcore nerds posting here spritzing off here won’t change that. The Zeitgeist for GRRM has come…and gone. At best, 2 seasons for any spin-off – then oblivion and some sort of sweet remembrance of the good ole times.

    TWoW? Who gives a sh*t?

  172. flintstonewielder:
    Just looking at this talk-back here, the problem is pretty clear: This is a dying franchise and a dozen and a half hardcore nerds posting here spritzing off here won’t change that. The Zeitgeist for GRRM has come…and gone. At best, 2 seasons for any spin-off – then oblivion and some sort of sweet remembrance of the good ole times.

    TWoW? Who gives a sh*t?

    I thought for a second you said “Who gives a SHIRT”. I love my WotW shirt(s), and I thought maybe you were announcing a giveaway, but no such luck.

  173. flintstonewielder:
    Just looking at this talk-back here, the problem is pretty clear: This is a dying franchise and a dozen and a half hardcore nerds posting here spritzing off here won’t change that. The Zeitgeist for GRRM has come…and gone. At best, 2 seasons for any spin-off – then oblivion and some sort of sweet remembrance of the good ole times.

    TWoW? Who gives a sh*t?

    I will definitely read TWOW if it comes out one day, but I’m not anxiously waiting anymore. And it doesn’t seem to bug me that much. I’ve enjoyed some of GRRM’s other works. I hate to think of all of the book characters stuck forever, but I rarely think about The Winds of Winter now. I’ll jump all over it though and binge read it, if it does come out one day.

  174. I agree the endings seemed fine although I was disappointed Jon never became king it was fair outcome. I’ll probably spark controversy but most of the hate comes from the staunch Dany fans who felt she would become Queen. I think some of this is purely down to individual bias, I mean go back and watch the entire series and the set up is there and I’d argue well established that she would eventually go mad. People were even predicting this on other forums back around S3 – I read it online and spoke with others at the time. I was also heavily predicting this in S7 and got knocked back by some of the mods on this site (who are extremely knowledgeable) that it wouldn’t happen.

    But I agree the ‘how’ had some faults, particularly after the long night there were a number of plot holes and poor execution for Dany’s final descent (the way Missandei was captured and the second dragon killed especially). This was below par for GOT but in my opinion still not as bad as say Dorne in season five or the Beyond the Wall episode.

  175. Jon Snowed: most of the hate comes from the staunch Dany fans who felt she would become Queen

    Jon Snowed: But I agree the ‘how’ had some faults, particularly after the long night there were a number of plot holes and poor execution for Dany’s final descent (the way Missandei was captured and the second dragon killed especially). This was below par for GOT

    You said criticism of the final season is based on hate, but then you proceeded to criticize the final season yourself, so it’s obviously not just limited to staunch Dany fans. I personally was never a Dany fan. I always found her entitlement off-putting and I thought she was a hypocrite. You can’t be all about freeing people and ruling people at the same time.

    No doubt a lot of Dany fans were probably pissed about the ending, but the majority of the criticism of the final season on this particular site that I’ve personally read has been based on the “how” not the “what”.

  176. Correct and I stand by my statement most of the “hate” has come from a certain segment of the fan base – largely those who expected Dany to win/claim the iron throne. Personally overall I enjoyed S8 more than S7/S5 however I do recognise it had some faults.

    I also feel like a lot of the criticism started after the show surpassed the books – see the Shireen burning which many people swore would not happen and yet even GRRM confirms Stannis will decide to burn her.

    This site is definitely a safer place where contributors can largely debate the pro’s and cons where as a certain forum dedicated to the books became over ran with negativity some time back – just as one example.

  177. Jon Snowed,

    Look, we all had our own predctions and theories for the ending, however, I personally was fine with the ENDING itself, the Starks won and thats fine by me.

    It was just the way we got there, it was incredibly rushed and borderline nonsensical:
    – Jon went from being a good honrable man trying to do the right thing to Dany’s pet to then murdering her, Mind you, Jon wasn’t my favourite by any means but everything was taking from him as a character, his parentage meant absolutely nothing nor did his previous encounters with the NK.
    – Daenerys went mad which would have been fine if it happened throught seasons to make some sense, not ONE episode, heck, two episodes ago she was risking her own life in the battlefield trying to save the entirety of westeros and then boom, she goes full Stalin / Hitler on KL.
    – And I would have never thought that Bran, a character that the writers left for one entire season and was hugely underdeveloped would be king but okay, I accept it, but EXPLORE WHY he should be king.

  178. I fully agree there were issues with the execution of the ending (I would call out how everyone but minor characters survived the long night for starters). I’m not in agreement on Dany though the build up is there from the very early seasons and becomes increasingly obvious. She simply didn’t turn on one episode it was building slowly up to that point then it became quick on the final sprint. Look back at her time in Essos for numerous teasers to suggest this was how she was going to end up. Over the last few episodes the last remaining embers which held her madness were removed one by one until there was nothing left to stop it – remember she wanted to burn kings landing in S7?!

    Also on Bran it was clear this was communicated to the show runners by GRRM, it was always leading to this, most people don’t seem to like it and I do agree there are some plot holes (if he knew he was going to be king why did he want Sam to tell Jon about his heritage?!) but I don’t feel the execution was that bad.

  179. Jon Snowed,

    Correct and I stand by my statement most of the “hate” has come from a certain segment of the fan base – largely those who expected Dany to win/claim the iron throne.

    I think this is pretty limiting. I’ve seen criticism and lack of enjoyment come from various segments of the fanbase, even the casuals — not just from one segment. I, for one, did not care who ended up on the throne and — without wanting to get into it — my issues still stand.

    I also feel like a lot of the criticism started after the show surpassed the books – see the Shireen burning which many people swore would not happen and yet even GRRM confirms Stannis will decide to burn her.

    Yes, but I think criticism started even before this — around season 4/5 when the issues surrounding adapting AFFC and ADWD arose. AFFC and ADWD are essentially two sides of the same book and posed significant challenges in adaptation compared to AGOT, ACOK, and ASOS — which were not only far more straight forward (ie. linear) but also far shorter and less complex. I think the book fandom started to turn around this point.

    OberonYronwood,

    Jon went from being a good honrable man trying to do the right thing to Dany’s pet to then murdering her, Mind you, Jon wasn’t my favourite by any means but everything was taking from him as a character, his parentage meant absolutely nothing nor did his previous encounters with the NK.

    Well, Jon has been willing to sacrifice honour for the greater good before. But he didn’t kill Dany out of the blue or for no reason. I think J kills D does happen in the books as part of the most significant iteration of “the human heart in conflict with itself” — killing a loved one would be probably among the worst things one would face. That said, again, Jon didn’t kill Dany out of the blue — he didn’t want to do it at all because personal feelings were seriously conflicting with his duty to the realm. He couldn’t even bring himself to feel it was right after because of those feelings. However, Dany felt the destruction she did to King’s Landing was justified and wanted to keep it up all over the world. Jon didn’t have a lot of good options — he tried giving Dany another chance, he wanted Dany to take that chance, but (in my best estimation) she became an extremist idealist (utilizing destruction to bring about a “good world”). He also can’t let her burn the world.

    And I say “my best estimation” because Dany did seem disconnected from reality in 8×06 with a desire to do what she thought was good but utilizing and justifying mass murder and destruction to get there. I’ve probably spoken my issues on this enough though and people are set in their opinions over this. I wasn’t happy.

    I think Young Griff will take on the political rival part in the books. He would be more believable as a Targaryen and he’s claiming to be somebody who was known to exist. I think Jon’s parentage will mean something different in the book and will play more a part in the mystical arena. I don’t think it’ll have much political impact because who — in-universe — is going to buy R+L=J? It’ll sound like totally fake news — especially coming from a known bastard with an already crappy reputation. I think a version of AA/NN will be going on. Not quite like that but I think some key factors will line up.

    I feel the same for Dany’s dark spiral and Bran becoming king. Both will still happen but how we get there will feel more organic, I think.

  180. Jon Snowed,

    I disagree about Bran, they even took the character out for one entire season, and then they brought him back completely fine but the next season he was an emotionless robot who knew everything and did nothing, at least that’s my opinion.

    I don’t know, I was fine with Bran throught the first 4 seasons but it feels like the writers (and George) didn’t know what to do with him).

  181. Adrianacandle,

    Oh I completely agree with you when you say Jon will kill Dany, its a full on greek tragedy, just as our dear George likes it, but I wish we had seen a little bit more of that heart in conflict with itself that you brilliantly pointed out.

    Also, you mentioned my boy Young Griff and I already got teary eyed, look, I know he and Arianne are soon gonna be a barbecue but I cannot help but LOVING THEM!! I think they will act as the perfect fuel for Daenerys to finally snap: she has been to hell and back, conquered an entire empire and crossed tha narrow sea to just see how her supposed fake nephew sits on her throne, if you add that to the fact that Arianne is not gonna be particularly happy with Quentin’s death, thinking that it was Dany’s fault… we are in for some DRAMA people.

  182. Adrianacandle,

    Sometimes it hard to put feelings into words in a way that adequately represents my thoughts. All I know is that I felt a lot of emotion over the deaths of many characters throughout the show, but I have to admit that I felt nothing when Jon killed Dany in 8×6. No emotions whatsoever. I was just happy it was over with. I am genuinely glad it worked out better for others, but that was my instincts telling me that Dany’s descent into madness didn’t work.

    I felt genuine emotions over Tyrion discovering the bodies of Jaime and Cersei in the final episode though, so it’s not like I hated everything in the last episode.

    I didn’t entirely dislike Jon’s final season, but I do understand why others felt like he was sidelined and turned into Dany’s lapdog. Jon gave as good as he got from Dany in season 7, yet all of a sudden in season 8 there’s this sentiment among their advisors that Dany would eat him alive and Jon wasn’t strong enough to handle her.

  183. Mr Derp,

    And that’s fair (re: J&D) ! Honestly, I hate this topic and broached it with hesitation but I think this is one of the bullet points that will be approached differently in the books. I mean, I felt something but I’m only me. I have my own ideas on it and how it’ll go in the books but I guess for me, s8 especially felt like a grocery list of items D&D were checking off as they went.

    but that was my instincts telling me that Dany’s descent into madness didn’t work.

    I’d agree with this.

    I agree that Jon felt sidelined especially wrt the AotD. I know we’ll face resistance and arguments on that probably, which is why I try to leave all of this alone for the most part, but these are my feelings too. I sort of felt with the amount of toning down of the magical elements D&D did in the show, this impacted a lot of things, including Jon’s part to play in the story. I feel they shoehorned him into the Young Griff story when I don’t think it really worked.

    OberonYronwood,

    I think we did get to see some of that conflict because he really didn’t want to do it, he grieved tried rationalizing her actions, but it could have used more fleshing out — like a lot of things. As I said above, I think it’ll be done differently in the books.

    Also, you mentioned my boy Young Griff and I already got teary eyed, look, I know he and Arianne are soon gonna be a barbecue but I cannot help but LOVING THEM!! I think they will act as the perfect fuel for Daenerys to finally snap: she has been to hell and back, conquered an entire empire and crossed tha narrow sea to just see how her supposed fake nephew sits on her throne, if you add that to the fact that Arianne is not gonna be particularly happy with Quentin’s death, thinking that it was Dany’s fault… we are in for some DRAMA people.

    And this is where I’ll get into a bit of book spec!

    This is how I think Dany loses Dorne. And how I think Young Griff starts winning Westeros. I don’t think Dany will just snap (or I’m hoping she doesn’t) — but I’m hoping she faces her own human heart in conflict with itself. A choice with compelling factors on both sides — and for the reader too. Not her just breaking. Not just her getting angry over power or loss. But sympathetic and relatable reasons on both sides over her choice to burn KL or not.

  184. OberonYronwood,

    …[Jon’s] parentage meant absolutely nothing nor did his previous encounters with the NK.

    His parentage (and his having been raised by the dim and inflexible Ned and Cat) meant everything. It meant he could not bring himself to marry Dany, even though that would have been the best outcome for everyone. His parentage directly caused Dany’s first despotic act: she ordered him not to tell anyone he was Aegon VI, even though, according to her own logic, she did not have any authority to give him orders.

    At Hardhome, the NK watched (ha!) Jon kill a WW with one swing. During the Long Night, the NK made sure Jon stayed far away, and the NK attacked Jon with the one undead asset which could attack Jon from beyond sword’s-reach. This kept Jon occupied, and should have won the battle…

    Ten Bears, can you please take it from here? 😉

  185. I personally don’t feel that Jon’s parentage meant nothing, but I would say that Jon’s parentage affected Dany much more than Jon, and I think that’s where some of the criticism comes from.

    This was built up for 8 seasons. When the revelation happened in season 8, it wasn’t really something that changed Jon or made him evolve as a character. It was more about Dany’s reaction to it.

  186. OberonYronwood: Also, you mentioned my boy Young Griff and I already got teary eyed, look, I know he and Arianne are soon gonna be a barbecue but I cannot help but LOVING THEM!!

    So I know somebody else who really enjoys Young Griff and I’ll ask him too — but what draws you in about Young Griff? 🙂 I also know you love Alicent as well and I wonder if I can ask you the same question about her character for you? I just like hearing these kinds of thoughts and I enjoy your posts! In my head, I kind of consider you the resident HotD expert since you’ve brought so much to the boards on that story! 🙂

    In the promo shots, I feel Alicent sort of has some Anne Boleyn vibes going on with her costuming and she is a second wife to a king who wants to improve her status but unlike Anne Boleyn,

    Alicent actually does give Viserys sons.
  187. Tensor the Mage, Enjoying All The New Material,

    I’m actually quite surprised by my own love towards Jon, I never truly cared for him but I have this feeling that he got deprived from his two key character plot points:
    – Killing (or at least fighting) the NK, it was him who knew about him, his sworn enemy (I guess it was Bran but he was too occupied doing… I don’t know, his sister getting raped or something), but then, his sister, who had nothing to do with the NK killed him in a very anti climatic way. I guess you could argue that she had experience with the God of death and such but that to me was a ver weak explanation.
    – His heritage, it seemes to be a big deal for everyone until it was time to choose the new king, then they just forgot about him, so much build up for, well, very little.

    And again, I’m fine with the ending points, I just don’t happen to like the way we got there.

  188. Adrianacandle,

    Oh, well that’s a really really good question. I guess it’s because, for me, Young Griff works as the perfect fuel for both, Daenerys and Jon, as they all have the narrative of the long lost prince who had nothing but came to claim his throne.E

  189. Griff is Young, inteligent, cultivated and has been bred to rule as king, he has been raised to accept that being king is his DUTY instead of his RIGHT, unlike most characters in the series and he seems to be goos hearted, albeit a little impulsive.

    Also, his storyline with Arianne and that of his role as a possible King of the Seven Kingdoms seems that it will bring them all nothing but tragedy coming his way, and that makes me quite sad but I’m a sucker for those kind of narratives lol.

    I see Griff succeeding in his conquering of both the Stormlands and KL, the Tyrells are overthrown and mostly killed and he takes his place as the Ko7K only to be burned by Daenerys when she comes. I obviously Don’t know how it’s gonna go but I expect something T R A G I C.

  190. OberonYronwood: Griff is Young, inteligent, cultivated and has been bred to rule as king

    In addition to Young Griff having the traditional Targ look and arriving in Westeros as a blank slate, I think this is where his advantage lies.

    I think Young Griff works well as Varys’s “power resides where men believe it resides.” Young Griff may well not be a true Targaryen but I imagine people will believe he is this long-lost prince who was hidden away and raised in secret. He looks the part, was raised to act the part, and I believe that’ll win people over. Varys has fashioned Young Griff into the ruler he wants and he probably has been raised with those people skills but yes, in private, I feel he’s kind of immature for his age. Well, relatively speaking in comparison to other younger characters who have lived and seen some serious stuff. I think once, GRRM described Arya as being “older” than most 40-year olds in the story when it comes to emotion. I’d have to find that quote though.

    Found the quote! It was from an archived SSM on westeros.org, a report of a November 2000 book signing:

    [GRRM] thinks Arya is “older than some of the 40-year-olds in the book”, what with all she’s gone through.

  191. OberonYronwood,

    …his sister, who had nothing to do with the NK killed him in a very anti climatic way. I guess you could argue that she had experience with the God of death…

    Not all of the characters in the story were on-screen. The Lord of Light kept Beric alive to save Arya. The Many-Faced God (who may also have been The Lord of Light) had Arya trained to kill the NK. The Faceless Men give ‘the gift’ (i.e. death) from the Many-Faced God. The NK takes this gift away from his victims, forcing them into a form of slavery. Braavos was founded by escaped slaves, and the Faceless Men originated in a secret society which killed slavers in Valeyria. (Jaqen Hagar clearly allows Arya to leave Braavos, even though the Faceless Men could have killed her.)

    Arya is also a Stark, and the Starks defend The North. Starks served honorably at The Wall, and in a way, Arya becomes the greatest Stark of them all.

    [Jon’s] heritage, it seemes to be a big deal for everyone until it was time to choose the new king, then they just forgot about him, so much build up for, well, very little.

    They didn’t forget about him; his status as Dany’s killer was their main problem. After Dany’s short reign in King’s Landing, nobody wanted another Targ’ ruling them, so there was another reason to send him into an ‘exile’ he welcomed anyway.

  192. Tensor the Mage, Enjoying All The New Material: [Jon’s] heritage, it seemes to be a big deal for everyone until it was time to choose the new king, then they just forgot about him, so much build up for, well, very little.

    They didn’t forget about him; his status as Dany’s killer was their main problem. After Dany’s short reign in King’s Landing, nobody wanted another Targ’ ruling them, so there was another reason to send him into an ‘exile’ he welcomed anyway.

    Yes, I agree with this. They couldn’t elect Jon as ruler otherwise it would’ve started another war. It wasn’t a viable option.

    It does beg the question why Greyworm took Jon prisoner at all after Jon killed Dany. Jon’s Plot armor is one thing, but that was a bit of a stretch to this viewer.

  193. I honestly didn’t mind that Arya was the one to take out the NK. That worked for me.

    I did find it strange that the White Walker generals did absolutely nothing during the Long Night though.

  194. Jon Snowed:
    I fully agree there were issues with the execution of the ending (I would call out how everyone but minor characters survived the long night for starters). I’m not in agreement on Dany though the build up is there from the very early seasons and becomes increasingly obvious. She simply didn’t turn on one episode it was building slowly up to that point then it became quick on the final sprint.Look back at her time in Essos for numerous teasers to suggest this was how she was going to end up.Over the last few episodes the last remaining embers which held her madness were removed one by one until there was nothing left to stop it – remember she wanted to burn kings landing in S7?!

    This! I would always disagree with the statement that it took Dany one episode to “get mad”. While I believe there’s certain “hero gone bad” element in her story, I think big element in her story, which I imagine is “much harder to swallow” for audience, is that she was never as good as we were led to believe. I believe there’s a bit of “unreliable narrator” present in her story… not literally but the way her story conveniently unfolds in Essos, dealing with almost cartoonishly evil characters and such, I think we’re kind of “manipulated” into rooting for her in these circumstances but as she comes to Westeros, it now becomes harder because she’s dealing with characters we got attached to. I firmly believe the character was always darker than we thought, more messed up… a character who desired power and who had this need to be loved by people… or to be more exact, a character who believed was entitled to power and love, entitled for everyone to bow to her. I think a lot of this supposed “her caring for people” originated from this aspect of her. Something I recently got to know for example is that when Daenerys delivered that speech to Dothraki in S06E06, director Jack Bender compared that speech to Hitler’s… and I even remember when episode aired, there was portion of fandom that felt this speech was… unnecessary because it didn’t really advance story or anything like that, it was just Dany showing off. Back then, I thought it was simply a “service to Dany fans”, now knowing Jack Bender’s comment, I’m seeing the scene differently.

    I won’t go into details on why I believe Dany was always “less heroic” than we were led to believe because that would require me to write an essay but that’s my firm interpretation of the character.

  195. Mr Derp,

    It does beg the question why Greyworm took Jon prisoner at all after Jon killed Dany.

    We don’t know exactly how Jon became Grey Worm’s prisoner. Drogon took Dany’s corpse, already at the great height of the throne room, and flew away into a sky filled with ash and dust from the destruction of King’s Landing. (During Dany’s victory speech, which seems to have happened mere hours before her death, parts of King’s Landing are still burning.) Her death might not have been obvious to anyone on the ground. We do know that the presence of the Northern Army was stated as a deterrent to killing Jon. (I doubt the Unsullied were spoiling to fight the Northerners in the ruins of a city none of them even wanted.)

    I did find it strange that the White Walker generals did absolutely nothing during the Long Night though.

    They were controlling their wights. The wights had the humans completely overwhelmed, so like the senior officers in any competent army, the WW had nothing to do but observe the slaughter. But this fight wasn’t going to be won by soldiers…

    (Anyone? Anyone? Ten Bears? Anyone?) 😉

  196. Tensor the Mage, Enjoying All The New Material:
    Mr Derp,

    It does beg the question why Greyworm took Jon prisoner at all after Jon killed Dany.

    They were controlling their wights. The wights had the humans completely overwhelmed, so like the senior officers in any competent army, the WW had nothing to do but observe the slaughter. But this fight wasn’t going to be won by soldiers…

    (Anyone? Anyone? Ten Bears? Anyone?)

    And let’s not forget the White Walkers knew at this point that humans have weapons that can kill them. Why would they unnecessarily expose themselves which could result in destruction of many wights if one of them died?

  197. Tensor the Mage, Enjoying All The New Material,

    Greyworm knew that Jon had killed Dany (as did Yara) so I’m pretty sure Jon confessed. He did have Dany’s blood on him, was crying, and I doubt he’d lie about something like that.

    But I agree with Mr Derp that it is strange Greyworm just opted to take Jon prisoner instead of killing him outright — which is one reason why I think it may go down a bit differently in the books if the books ever see the light of day. Jon seems to be meant to survive the ending.

    I also agree with you both that it wouldn’t make sense to try and make Jon king at this point for a number of reasons. Kingslaying is viewed as one of the most vile crimes in Westeros and his exile was a compromise for peace. I think exile was the most merciful option for Jon considering everything. I don’t think his emotional state at this point would make for the best ruler as it was.

    As for how the Long Night ends, I have my own speculation on that… if we ever see the books 🙂 But I don’t think Arya will really be involved. Not that I object to her involvement but I also have reservations over how it was done in the show.

  198. Erik, formerly Lord Parramandas: Why would they unnecessarily expose themselves which could result in destruction of many wights if one of them died?

    Sure, but one could argue their lack of involvement got their NK killed. They’re supposed to protect him too, but they just stood around and watched. It felt like a lot of buildup just for them to fall asleep at the wheel.

  199. Tensor the Mage, Enjoying All The New Material: But this fight wasn’t going to be won by soldiers…

    (Anyone? Anyone? Ten Bears? Anyone?)

    But by…. Hot Pie? 🙂

    The heat of Hot Pie and the power of his baking melted the ice core of the Night King, turning him into a puddle and with him, all his minions… WF was flooded with demon juice in the months to come. So much water-damaged wood…. Only the crypts survived. Some people drowned off-screen. Very sad 🙁

  200. Mr Derp: Hey, that information is only on a knead to dough basis…

    *files away in fun pun box* …. For later + special baking occasions 🙂

  201. Tensor the Mage, Enjoying All The New Material,

    “At Hardhome, the NK watched (ha!) Jon kill a WW with one swing. During the Long Night, the NK made sure Jon stayed far away, and the NK attacked Jon with the one undead asset which could attack Jon from beyond sword’s-reach. This kept Jon occupied, and should have won the battle…

    Ten Bears, can you please take it from here? 😉

    —-
    … except then the Starship Enterprise beamed down Arya to NK’s precise coordinates, and with one blast from her Valyrian Steel phaser she disintegrated the NK and his entire zombie army.
    Then she went on a voyage to seek out new life and new civilizations. To boldly go where No One has gone before.

  202. Ten Bears: Then she went on a voyage to seek out new life and new civilizations. To boldly go where No One has gone before.

    Bran could just tap into his superpowers to tell her what’s West of…oh, nevermind 😉

  203. Have you read Blood of the Dragon by James Hibberd? It confirms in there that GRRM told the show runners that Bran would be King during several days when they planned for when the show will over take the books. They also talked about (may not be in the book) about why Bran initially goes full robot – something along the lines of how he has a ton of information and is trying to come to terms with how to process it.

    None of this explains how Bran can see the future however.

  204. Mr Derp,

    Really because every single person who hated I read claimed the change they would make is Dany accidentally burning down the city and becoming Queen which takes away the entire point of her story.

  205. Here is a kind of by proxy movie recommendation here…relevant because of the cast…this is “Official Secrets” (2020), starring one Matt Smith, Rhys Ifyns aaaand someone called Conleth Hill aka Varys…oh yeah Keira Knightley and Ralph Fiennes are in it too…

  206. Mr Derp,

    Sure, but one could argue their lack of involvement got their NK killed. They’re supposed to protect him too, but they just stood around and watched. It felt like a lot of buildup just for them to fall asleep at the wheel.

    The Fist of the First Men, Hardhome, and the Frozen Lake had all been completely one-sided affairs, and at the last, the only reason they didn’t simply slaughter the Magnificent Seven was because they were waiting for Dany to arrive with the dragon they wanted. From the cold open of Winter Is Coming through to the climax of The Long Night, there had been just two minor blemishes, and both because the humans involved didn’t even know how powerful their weapons were; there was no way the White Walker involved could have known, either. A group of White Walkers had, well, just walked unopposed through the great fortress of Winterfell, and right into the Godswood, the humans’ spiritual sanctuary. Bran’s last surviving defender posed no threat, and was easily dispatched. They were on point of witnessing their greatest victory. Why should they believe they were all about to be destroyed?

    For a real-life example, the trench line of the Western Front had been static from September 1914 through most of March 1918, when suddenly the Germans punched through, at the juncture of the British and French armies. The British Fifth Army collapsed, and lost a large number of senior officers, as the German infantry over-ran HQ positions in the British rear areas. These German soldiers were ordinary human beings, each carrying ~60 pounds of equipment, running through the blasted open country of No-Man’s Land in the bright morning sun. Yet, they exploited the element of surprise to the extent they were halfway to Paris by the time the Allies stopped them. (The joke, and it’s actually close to being entirely true, was that after years of wartime privation in Germany, the stocked wine cellars and bulging cheese storehouses of the French countryside posed the largest impediments to the German advance.)

  207. Agree on Jon’s parentage. I feel it was built up as one of the great mysteries of the series and was handled extremely well up until series 6 episode 10, after which it seemed to be a bigger topic for Dany rather than Jon – although they did give some insight into Jon’s dilemma it felt more like a plot device to speed up Dany’s descent than the fact Jon is actually the true air and had a big internal struggle on what to do (keep it quiet or claim the throne).

  208. Jon Snowed,

    Had R+L=J been revealed earlier in the story, it could well have been a huge dilemma for Jon. (He confesses to Sam that Stannis’ offer of legitimization is sorely tempting, but as Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, he can’t get involved in southern politics.)

    As the story did actually go, by the time Sam (motivated by spite against Dany) reveals Jon’s true name and lineage, Jon no longer cares. He’s been an elected commander of men, he was murdered for his performance in that role, and once the Army of the Dead have been defeated, he’s ready to be done with it all. In particular, he hates leading men into battle, and that is one of the major elements of a feudal monarch’s job description.

    Had he not been raised as a Stark, and not been Dany’s nephew by blood, he might well have married her, both for love and for politics, and given us the “happily ever after” ending which Martin despises. That’s why R+L=J was central to the story; it prevents this, and does indeed precipitate Dany’s latent despotism.

  209. Tensor the Mage, Enjoying All The New Material: As the story did actually go, by the time Sam (motivated by spite against Dany) reveals Jon’s true name and lineage

    Minor quibble. I’m sure Sam was happy to tell Jon the news, but didn’t Sam reveal this because Bran told him to and not necessarily out of spite? I honestly don’t remember.

  210. Tensor the Mage, Enjoying All The New Material,

    Well, I think R+L=J being revealed to Jon would go deeper than roles and inheritance. Yes, I think it makes sense that Jon would no longer care for being king or for any leadership roles at this point given what you said. I’m not even sure how he’d feel about leadership in the books due to his misery over the position. Marriage (ie. a formal negotiation to enter a legal union per medieval times) was never actually discussed by the two parties it most concerned or brought to them by their advisors but discussed by others around them, with it being written off by Varys. Maybe because it would solve too many plot problems. Incest issues notwithstanding, if it was presented in such a fashion, I can’t see really Jon saying no since it would prevent more war for a claim he doesn’t want but YMMV.

    Yet, back to the main reason I wanted to reply: I think this goes down to Jon’s core identity. Everything he’d ever been told himself had been a lie. He made major life decisions based on that lie. He joined the Night’s Watch because spots for bastards were so limited in Westeros and thought it was one of the only ways for a bastard to earn their own place and honour in this world. He withstood harsh, harsh Westerosi prejudice because of that lie. His self-esteem is impacted by that lie. The man he grew up idolizing and loving as his only parent (with some resentment mixed in) is the man who lied to him — for good reason, but that doesn’t change the pain this lie brought on. Ironically, this lie is the very thing that saved Jon’s life but altered his core sense of self since birth.

  211. Mr Derp: Minor quibble. Didn’t Sam reveal this because Bran told him to and not necessarily out of spite? I honestly don’t remember.

    Yes, I think that’s right.

  212. I mean Game of Thrones will benefit House of the Dragon in the sense that it was the biggest show in history. Even if only half of GoT watchers watch this show it will be the biggest HBO show by far and probably in TOP 3 biggest shows in the world right now. That’s how huge GoT was.

    I think new material will bring new energy to fan base, because we are talking about the same things for more than 2 years now. Nothing happened and nowdays 2 years in pop culture is a lot. No new GoT shows, no new ASOIAF books, no new projects from Benioff & Weiss or Cogman, or someone from the cast… Anything to bring new topic.

    But I think things will change in the next months.

  213. Adrianacandle,

    Well, I think R+L=J being revealed to Jon would go deeper than roles and inheritance.

    I agree, and your second paragraph shows how it would affect him. He doesn’t care to rule Westeros, but he did care very much about being a trueborn Stark, and R+L=J makes him that. He shared his lineage with Sansa and Arya specifically because he was now their trueborn cousin, not their bastard half-brother. (And he clearly meant for them to keep that information within their family.) It’s Martin’s twist on the “secret king” trope: Jon doesn’t care about R+L=J because it makes him the rightful Targ’ heir to the throne, he cares about R+L=J because it makes him a trueborn Stark; that is what his lie-filled upbringing conditioned him to want.

    But that’s all private, and has no effect upon the other characters. (Looking back on it now, he could have had a conversation with Tyrion about it, harking back to their first conversation about how dwarves and bastards share some common traits. I don’t know if it would have served the story, or been just fanservice, though.)

    He joined the Night’s Watch because spots for bastards were so limited in Westeros and thought it was one of the only ways for a bastard to earn their own place and honour in this world.

    And it was also a way for him to demonstrate his Stark blood. His uncle Benjen was a trueborn Stark, and served honorably at The Wall, just as other trueborn Stark men had in generations past. Lord Waymar Royce also went to The Wall, as a younger son who would (presumably because Westeros, like England, has primogeniture) not have an inheritance at Runestone. (I assume Waymar was the NW Ranger giving orders in the opening sequence, although his name does not appear in dialog.) So, families with enough martial spirit might also send trueborn sons to serve honorably at The Wall.

  214. I think that HOTD will bring back a lot of people to fan base and with casual fans returning discourse will be more postive. We already have a lot of those “it wasn’t that bad” takes. Which is just the first step. Also HOTD will bring new watchers to GoT, people who never watched the show will start watching because of marketing hype for HOTD.

    I know that a lot of us watched Snyder movies for the first time thanks to the hype around his JL. Or Star Wars back in 2015 thank to The Force Awakens.

    I followed those who binge watched the entire show both online and in real life and in general they have a much better response to the show. If HOTD is big enough in the next couple of years those who watched GoT after 2019 will become a huge part of fan base. Not the majority yet, but huge part. And combined with us, old fans, who liked every season, as I said the % of postive people in the fandom will be much higher.

    Future is bright for Game of Thrones I feel.

  215. When it comes to the fact that House Targaryen will be destroyed I don’t think that matters. Showrunners Condal and Sapochnik have a job to make us care about these characters not the ruling dinasty. Since this show starts almost 200 years before GoT, we already know that every character will die, but how and when and why is unknown.

    So making interesting characters is the major task showrunners have.

    I also think that major difference between this prequel and Star Wars and The Hobbit for example is that here we have a completely different cast of characters and different conflict. So this is not about young Cersei or Robert or Ned, it’s about these new people.

    So again, characters will make or break this show.

  216. Tensor the Mage, Enjoying All The New Material,

    I agree, and your second paragraph shows how it would affect him. He doesn’t care to rule Westeros, but he did care very much about being a trueborn Stark, and R+L=J makes him that. He shared his lineage with Sansa and Arya specifically because he was now their trueborn cousin, not their bastard half-brother. (And he clearly meant for them to keep that information within their family.) It’s Martin’s twist on the “secret king” trope: Jon doesn’t care about R+L=J because it makes him the rightful Targ’ heir to the throne, he cares about R+L=J because it makes him a trueborn Stark; that is what his lie-filled upbringing conditioned him to want.

    Well, I don’t remember Jon wanting his sisters to know because this makes him a trueborn “Stark” ever being stated or supported as his motivation. I remember Jon feeling that he owes his family the truth because he said this, just as he felt he owed Dany the truth as Bryan Cogman stated that Jon didn’t feel he could lie to Dany about this either. There’s a part in that scene where Jon looks pained when they refer to him as ‘brother’ and them believing something he now knows to be false. Arya is careful to clarify her brother, not her bastard brother. And I remember him only allowing Sansa and Arya to know on the condition that they never tell another living soul. I don’t think proving he had a trueborn name was driving him here though but rather, a feeling of obligation of honesty to those closest to him. Jon has long accepted his bastard status — thus Tyrion’s words to him in book 1/season 1, as you pointed out.

    In the books, and I think this is a theme for all of the characters, I believe part of Jon’s story is about moving beyond that childhood dream to be a trueborn Stark. He turned it down. He finds a different purpose as a unifier. He finds found family. Additionally, R+L=J doesn’t make him a trueborn Stark. It makes him trueborn but with a different name.

    And the end of the day, I don’t think Jon is either Stark or Targaryen. I think he’s ‘other’, which is why he may fit in so well among his “found” family — other misfits (like Arya, Sam, his friends in the Watch), other outsiders who he connects with (Tyrion), free folk, etc. And I think this ultimately serves Jon’s role as a unifier, not as an either/or.

    And it was also a way for him to demonstrate his Stark blood. His uncle Benjen was a trueborn Stark, and served honorably at The Wall, just as other trueborn Stark men had in generations past. Lord Waymar Royce also went to The Wall, as a younger son who would (presumably because Westeros, like England, has primogeniture) not have an inheritance at Runestone. (I assume Waymar was the NW Ranger giving orders in the opening sequence, although his name does not appear in dialog.) So, families with enough martial spirit might also send trueborn sons to serve honorably at The Wall.

    Well, in the books, it being something some Starks did wasn’t really stated as Jon’s motivation either. It was so he could earn his own place. His own sort of honor. It’s also noted as one of the few places bastards could rise:

    “I forget nothing,” Jon boasted. The wine was making him bold. He tried to sit very straight, to make himself seem taller. “I want to serve in the Night’s Watch, Uncle.”

    He had thought on it long and hard, lying abed at night while his brothers slept around him. Robb would someday inherit Winterfell, would command great armies as the Warden of the North. Bran and Rickon would be Robb’s bannermen and rule holdfasts in his name. His sisters Arya and Sansa would marry the heirs of other great houses and go south as mistress of castles of their own. But what place could a bastard hope to earn?

    But it’s only really seen as a place of honour in some parts of the North. It’s considered a joke by the rest of the realm. When Jon sees what it really is… that’s where some of his resentment toward Ned seeps in. Jon joined to be a hero, a hero ranger like his uncle but thanks to lack of funding and it being also used as a dumping ground for mistfits and criminals, it’s also serving another purpose as a penal colony. Something Jon was never told about.

    There are good men there too (Donal Noye, Jeor Mormont, Aemon Targaryen, Benjen Stark) but it’s mostly the unwanted and criminals populating the grounds now.

  217. mau: So again, characters will make or break this show.

    I agree with this. The characters and their stories need to made engaging and into fully fleshed-out roles the audience cares about enough to invest in that’ll be a major factor in this show becoming a success or not.

  218. I mean even for me (a hardcore GoT fanatic) talking about GoT became almost boring. Maybe not talking, but arguing. After more than two years since finale I just don’t have energy or will to try to convince someone in something.

    I stand by my opinion that 90% of criticism is BS, that people who hate the end points of characters in S8 never understood the story and that they completely missed the point the show and the books were trying to make.

    So if it’s boring for me to argue I can only imagine how boring it is for more casual fans, especially since a lot of really bad things happened in real life in the last 2 years so wasting energy online to talk about fantasy show that is finished long time ago is pointless.

    That’s why I think having new material makes fandoms better. Next year we will finally have something to talk about.

  219. mau,

    ”I know that a lot of us watched Snyder movies for the first time thanks to the hype around his JL. Or Star Wars back in 2015 thank to The Force Awakens.”

    I stopped watching Star Wars thanks to The Force Awakens. It blew.

  220. mau: That’s why I think having new material makes fandoms better. Next year we will finally have something to talk about.

    I look forward to this! 🙂

  221. Typo fix! Good lord, my missing word errors (keyboard is having major issues but that can apply to my brain as well):

    *I agree with this. The characters and their stories need to be made engaging and into fully fleshed-out roles that the audience cares about enough to invest in and that’ll be a major factor in this show becoming a success or not.

    What a word salad 🙁

  222. Adrianacandle,

    Yeah. People won’t watch this because they care abut history and lore, they will watch to see what happens next with Daemon, Alicent and Rhaenyra. If they make the show right.

    Just like in GoT audience watched because they cared about Jon, Arya, Dany and the rest. 90% of GoT audience finished the whole show without knowing almost anything about history, lore, geography… I am sure that 90% of people wouldn’t be able to show Winterfell on a map. That’s why general audience loved 706 and S7 in general. They don’t care about geography.

    I think what people in fandoms often forget is how unimportant we really are.

    The only fandom that I saw that has this level of self awareness is Eurovision Song Contest fandom lol They know that they are like 5% of the whole ESC audience, maybe even less.

    But TV and movie fandoms don’t get this. They don’t understand that 90% of GoT watches don’t even know what Benioff is. City in Denmark?

    I am not sure that majority of GoT watchers understand much that happened before S1. That was my experience with every causal fan I met in real life. And I met a lot of them. Even now my good friend is watching the show with her boyfriend for the first time and some of her takes are hilarious. She understands the characters and their relationships and she cares about that. The rest is not important.

  223. Ten Bears:
    mau,

    ”I know that a lot of us watched Snyder movies for the first time thanks to the hype around his JL. Or Star Wars back in 2015 thank to The Force Awakens.”

    I stopped watching Star Wars thanks to The Force Awakens. It blew.

    I started because of that movie. Hype was everywhere lol

  224. mau: I am not sure that majority of GoT watchers understand much that happened before S1. That was my experience with every causal fan I met in real life. And I met a lot of them. Even now my good friend is watching the show with her boyfriend for the first time and some of her takes are hilarious. She understands the characters and their relationships and she cares about that. The rest is not important.

    I imagine that not many GoT watchers, especially the casual ones, are aware of the pre-ASOIAF lore and history. Then again, I had only briefly heard of ASOIAF from my friend Kelty years before 2011. Even then, when I watched the GoT pilot, it didn’t register right away that this was the book series Kelty had once told me about. I started the books the following day but it wasn’t until years later that I got into the pre-story stuff 🙂

    So I don’t think it matters if the average fan is aware of the story or not. As long as the story and characters are engaging enough to pull viewers in, I think that’s what matters most.

  225. Ten Bears,

    Would his legitimization be retroactivity voided? I’m not sure how that would work. After all, he never was in fact Ned’s son.

    I know this isn’t directed at me but it’s boiling outside and I’m in hiding from the evil UVA-emitting sun 🙂

    I think this depends on what the public knows or doesn’t know/believes or doesn’t believe. As long as the public either remains unaware or if they don’t accept it, Jon would remain a legitimized bastard. If the public does know and accepts it, then I think it would change Jon’s identity. However, practically, as I’ve said numerous times before, I think R+L=J would be a hard-sell in-universe.

  226. Talking with causal fans is always eye-opening. Because like it or not, the show was made for them, they are the reason why GoT was what it was in terms of popularity.

    And whenever I mentioned HOTD to someone in real life(they first heard about this show from me lol) every single person was interested in the show.

    And I spoke with a lot of them. So my prediction is that ratings for the first episode will be insane. I think almost everyone who watched GoT combined with new fans that came after 2019 will check out at least the first episode. Then I expect drop for E2 and then it depends on the quality of this show how many people will watch.

  227. mau,

    I’m obviously interested in HoTD but I think Nymeria is my favourite candidate for spin-off series 🙂

    I think almost everyone who watched GoT combined with new fans that came after 2019 will check out at least the first episode. Then I expect drop for E2 and then it depends on the quality of this show how many people will watch.

    I agree. If it’s strong enough, it’ll gather its own audience.

  228. The story is written in a way that it’s not hard for this show to stand on it’s own. It’s hard for Star Wars PT to stand on it’s own with younger versions of OT characters and set up for conflict in OT, but here it is really easy.

    Connections with GoT are thematic, because this is also show about family and power and civil war for the Iron Throne, but it’s a separate story.

  229. Ten Bears: Actually, it was intended as a reply to you. 😉

    Oh! Awesome! 😀 I feel better that I didn’t hijack an answer 😉

  230. ⚠️ Off-Topic
    With the news of the passing of the great character actor Ned Beatty two days ago, I thought I’d re-recommend (his best role, in my view):
    “Hear My Song” (1991)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wO4rjO4Vl-g
    … which co-starred a young Tara Fitzgerald (Selyse Baratheon) in her film debut.

  231. Mr Derp: Minor quibble.I’m sure Sam was happy to tell Jon the news, but didn’t Sam reveal this because Bran told him to and not necessarily out of spite?I honestly don’t remember.

    It was both. Bran said they must tell Jon, but Sam didn’t do it until he’d learned Dany had executed his brother and father. In the scene where Sam tells Jon, he’s livid at Dany; much of their conversation is actually about her and the Tarlys.

    After telling Jon who his parents were, and how he is therefore the true King, Jon says, “She is our Queen,” and Sam spits back, “She shouldn’t be!”

  232. Tensor the Mage, Enjoying All The New Material: but Sam didn’t do it until he’d learned Dany had executed his brother and father.

    My own minor nitpick 🙂 The sequence of events went Sam learns Dany executed Tarly Sr and Tarly Jr. Sam leaves and goes outside where he runs into Bran. Bran tells him he must tell Jon about his parentage.

    Sam didn’t really decide when to tell Jon. He went to find Jon when Bran directed him and showed hesitancy when Bran insisted he be the one to tell Jon.

  233. Adrianacandle,

    “Here My Song” is one of my Top 5 All-Time favorite movies. P.S.

    I’m not sure how long that link will be active. The movie is almost impossible to find on cable or streaming services.
  234. Ten Bears: Why was Bran so insistent that they (well, Sam) tell Jon?

    Well, the best I can do is pull up those interviews from Isaac Hempstead Wright where he said:

    Isaac Hempstead Wright: Bran doesn’t care [about Sam’s emotional state]. It’s totally irrelevant to Bran that Samwell Tarly’s family has died, unfortunately. The Three-Eyed Raven doesn’t see things in terms of personal sadness. He just sees things in terms of the way things must unfold, or the way time goes. He’s not going to go, “Oh, I’m sorry, Sam. I hope you feel better in a minute.” He just sees things that have to happen next, and the importance of those things far outweighs any personal tragedies that might occur. It sounds brutal! But that’s been the role of the Three-Eyed Raven for millennia. To sit there, watching, carefully. He doesn’t sit there judging. He doesn’t sit there advising. He just sits there keeping an eye on history and time.

    As for Bran’s powers:

    Isaac Hempstead Wright: As I understand it, Bran can’t exactly see the future. I think he can have inklings. When Bran gives Arya the catspaw dagger, he knows there’s something important to do with it, but he doesn’t know that say, six months on, she’s going to use it to stab the Night King. So I think it’s still indeterminate, and not classical causal mechanics, where he just views things as actions that follow from one another. There’s still some uncertainty.

    Isaac Hempstead Wright: This is all conjecture on my part. I’ve never actually gone through a very detailed analysis of what exactly Bran’s powers are with [the showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss]. To be honest, I don’t think they really want to do that. It would become like a superhero movie, if we knew every way that Bran’s powers worked and what exactly he can do. It’s best to keep that sense of mystery and an unknown to it.

    Otherwise, I have no answer. To get the plot moving would be my best response.

  235. mau,

    That is true 90% of people have no clue who the writer or director is they just want to enjoy a show. People like us that consume everything about the show are a very small percentage.

  236. Adrianacandle,

    I still can’t figure out why Benjen going to the wall unless he helped Lyanna ran off with Rhygear. The Starks were all but extinct. just my thought that grrm will have him go to the wall cause benjen blames himself for the war.

  237. Stew: I still can’t figure out why Benjen going to the wall unless he helped Lyanna ran off with Rhygear. The Starks were all but extinct. just my thought that grrm will have him go to the wall cause benjen blames himself for the war.

    I think that’s still one of the books’ mysteries yet to be uncovered (why Benjen went to the Wall, what Benjen knows and doesn’t know). According to the ASOIAF wiki, Benjen was born around 267 AC. And according to this timeline, Jon was born in August 283, so I’m supposing that Rhaegar took off with Lyanna around 282 and Ned returned to WF around late 283. Benjen would be around 16 when he joined the Watch, which is undoubtedly young but an adult in their world (Robb was a 14/15-year old king, Jon is a 16/17-year old LC, Dany is a 15/16 year old queen).

    However, by that time, Ned had a healthy heir (Robb), pushing Benjen further down the line of succession. Of Ned’s own family, he and Benjen were the last children of their generation. However, Ned and Catelyn do produce five healthy children together — three of which are sons.

  238. I had never seen this before, and thought it was fun! Sarah Millican with Finn, John, and Kristian, must have been about season…4 or 5ish?

  239. Adrianacandle:
    loco73,

    Thanks for this!

    You are welcome. I also realized while watching that Indira Varma, aka Ellaria Sand, is in the movie as well. Quite a few former and about to be GOT/HOTD alumni in this film…LOL

  240. Adrianacandle,

    I don’t know if Benjen going to the The Wall constitutes a mystery, any more than Waymar Royce going there does. Benjen was neither the first nor second in line for Warden of the North/Lord of Winterfell, and as you noted, after second-in-line Ned had children, Benjen was out of the running. If the Starks couldn’t find a suitable wife for him amongst the other Great Houses of Westeros, then The Wall was an honorable option for a Stark.

  241. Adrianacandle,

    ”…But here’s my issue with Jon’s lineage. I don’t think Jon’s true parentage will actually play a political role in the books. I don’t see how it can. But I think it will play out in different ways, such as in the mystical realm: the show heavily toned down the magical aspects. But in-universe to most people, Jon’s parentage would be a ridiculously hard sell. There’s no proof. Jon is widely accepted as Ned Stark’s bastard son. He has Ned’s look. The story Ned came up with is far more believable. Bastards are heavily stigmatized, viewed to be wanton, unworthy of trust, and wanting to usurp trueborn claims. If anybody claimed Jon was this secret prince that nobody ever knew existed, it would very well look like a bastard’s trick. Plus, Jon has a bad reputation in-universe: is a bastard son of an alleged traitor and he let in the wildlings. Is also known as an oathbreaker to the Watch.

    I think this speaks to Varys’s “Power resides where men believe it resides,” and in the books, Varys is raising…. Young Griff. He’s claiming to be a prince who was known to exist (Rhaegar’s eldest son), he has the right look, he’s arriving with a fresh slate, he was raised to be Varys’s ideal king.

    Instead, I think this is Young Griff’s storyline from the books. He’s way more believable as Rhegar’s elder son, has the right look, is the right age, can rally Dorne as Elia’s son, and is a fresh slate.

    In the books, I do think Jon is meant to disappear into anonymity and exile. There are a few passages that hint at it. I don’t think his parentage was ever supposed to be this victorious political thing but rather, I think it’s meant to make an impact in the mystical realm in regard to the Others.”

    • As you’ve effectively pointed out, it would be hard, in-universe, for the world at large to give any credulity to a claim that Ned Stark’s bastard Jon Snow is really Aegon Targaryen, trueborn son of Rhaegar Targaryen and his wife Lyanna Targaryen. The show didn’t address this at all – even the reveal of his paternity to his sisters in S8e4 was cut off, so we didn’t see their reactions (e.g., some amount of skepticism, and curiosity about the proof for such a wild claim – in addition to Bran’s hallucinations… I mean visions of the past).

    As I recall from discussions here, there are all kinds of book theories about the existence of some kind of artifact in the WF crypts, or speculation that Howland Reed or Benjen could verify Jon’s true lineage. I don’t know if GRRM has ever hinted – in the books or in interviews – if there will be some proof that R + L = J = AT.

    It just seems to me that unlike the show, after all the buildup about Jon’s true parentage it will mean something more than a reason for him to feel that scr**ing his aunt is icky.

    • Another thing: As you point out, book! Young Griff will have the “look” and established backstory to contend he is really the secret Targ heir.
    For Jon, or an advocate for Jon, to also claim that Jon is really the secret Targ heir would be laughable. It would remind me of the scenes from “The Fifth Element” where an imposter tries futilely to board the space cruise ship by claiming “I am Korben Dallas” (after Korben/Bruce Willis has already checked in).

    • You wrote: ”I don’t think his parentage was ever supposed to be this victorious political thing but rather, I think it’s meant to make an impact in the mystical realm in regard to the Others.”

    What kind of impact did you have in mind? (Tinfoil answers accepted) 🥶

  242. Fire blood87,

    There are some truly famous directors like Nolan that became almost a brand but in general people don’t know and don’t care who made shows, movies or songs that they like.

    Benioff and Weiss are more known than average showrunner but far from some real recognition in public. I am sure no one even notices them on the street.

  243. Tensor the Mage, Enjoying All The New Material,

    ”If the Starks couldn’t find a suitable wife for him amongst the other Great Houses of Westeros, then The Wall was an honorable option for a Stark.”

    Correct me if I’m wrong: I thought becoming a Kingsguard meant you had to give up claims to lands and titles, and forget about having a wife and kids. Yet, everybody (e.g., pre-free fall Bran) seemed to aspire to be a member of a Kingsguard or Queensguard.
    I suppose that was considered “honorable” such that celibacy (?) and relinquishing hereditary rights were worth it. (Hard for me to understand. Then again, I don’t live in that fictional universe.)
    Perhaps joining the NW wasn’t really considered such a sacrifice?

  244. Ten Bears: What kind of impact did you have in mind? (Tinfoil answers accepted) 🥶

    I don’t have exact specifics figured out but I think it’ll make a difference in the magical arena — which was largely toned down in the show. He’s the child of two powerfully magical bloodlines and as Melisandre tells Jon in ADWD, “Your Wall is a queer place, but there is power here, if you will use it. Power in you, and in this beast. You resist it, and that is your mistake. Embrace it. Use it.” I think the conflict with the Others will be resolved much differently in the books, perhaps through negotiation, but I think pertaining to prophecy and the Others, Jon being the child of two magical bloodlines may make the big impact in his role there. Politically, I don’t think Jon was ever meant to embody GRRM’s “The Return of the King” but I think he’s meant to be unsung, a Snow, as I think several passages in the books indicate.

    I know that’s not the best answer but I’m not good at theory crafting 🙂 I think I did share my one tinfoil with you that there was a resolution made with/against the Others eons ago but this resolution was finite, which may be why the Others are coming again.

    Jon’s also a powerful warg in the books — as are Rickon and Arya both. Arya can warg cats even. They weren’t wargs in the show (only Bran) but I believe GRRM said Nymeria’s large pack would pay off somehow but I’d need to find that quote 🙁

  245. Tensor the Mage, Enjoying All The New Material: I don’t know if Benjen going to the The Wall constitutes a mystery, any more than Waymar Royce going there does. Benjen was neither the first nor second in line for Warden of the North/Lord of Winterfell, and as you noted, after second-in-line Ned had children, Benjen was out of the running. If the Starks couldn’t find a suitable wife for him amongst the other Great Houses of Westeros, then The Wall was an honorable option for a Stark.

    I suppose. I sometimes think aloud in my answers 🙂 It is a mystery for some over why Benjen went to the Wall. As a trueborn, Benjen did have some more options. He could have had a family and held a castle in his brother’s name but yet, opted to go to the Wall at 15/16. You’re right that the Wall is seen as an honourable calling among the Stark family though.

    But I guess this goes to Ten Bears’ comment:

    Correct me if I’m wrong: I thought becoming a Kingsguard meant you had to give up claims to lands and titles, and forget about having a wife and kids. Yet, everybody (e.g., pre-free fall Bran) seemed to aspire to be a member of a Kingsguard or Queensguard.
    I suppose that was considered “honorable” such that celibacy (?) and relinquishing hereditary rights were worth it. (Hard for me to understand. Then again, I don’t live in that fictional universe.)

    I think images of honour and glory played up the appeal of these lives — being a brave knight or hero from the stories (and for kids and young teens, they don’t really know what they’re giving up by opting out of having families, as Benjen had said in the books). I believe Jaime joined in part so he could be near Cersei and wouldn’t have to be betrothed to another as he would have been otherwise because he’s Tywin’s heir.

  246. Adrianacandle,

    ”I think the conflict with the Others will be resolved much differently in the books, perhaps through negotiation, but I think pertaining to prophecy and the Others, Jon being the child of two magical bloodlines may make the big impact in his role there…”

    • For a while, I thought maybe Jon would volunteer to become a book! Coldhands/show! Benjen half-human, half WW/Wight hybrid as a means of communicating with or assuaging the WWs. That didn’t pan out – on the show at least.

    ⚠️ (Tinfoil alert) Re: negotiation. What if the Others’ peace proposal = Annual Craster Baby Exchange? Let’s say, 100 male babies a year? Does Jon the Conciliator make the deal?

  247. Ten Bears: For a while, I thought maybe Jon would volunteer to become a book! Coldhands/show! Benjen half-human, half WW/Wight hybrid as a means of communicating with or assuaging the WWs. That didn’t pan out – on the show at least.

    ⚠️ (Tinfoil alert) Re: negotiation. What if the Others’ peace proposal = Annual Craster Baby Exchange? Let’s say, 100 male babies a year? Does Jon the Conciliator make the deal?

    I was aware of sort-of-similar theories positing that Jon himself becomes the new Great Other in an exchange.

    As for negotiation, yeah, maybe something like that but perhaps not requiring 100 babies a year (that may be too bleak even for GRRM’s “better world”) but yeah, something like that! Maybe Jon is an prophecy figure but instead of a flaming sword, his half and half magical bloodline enables him to be that bridge between the Others and humanity — as he has been a bridge between various, disparate factions of angry humans.

    I don’t know — just spitballing here 🙂

  248. loco73: You are welcome. I also realized while watching that Indira Varma, aka Ellaria Sand, is in the movie as well. Quite a few former and about to be GOT/HOTD alumni in this film…LOL

    Oh cool! Thanks for this too!

  249. Ten Bears:
    Young Dragon,

    Thank you. I appreciate the sentiment.
    (I’m still going to dedicate a Musical Interlude to Young Dragon.) 😎

    Hey, Young Dragon? You still around? I’ve got your Musical Interlude teed up and ready for you. 😄

  250. Young Dragon,

    ”I know absolutely nothing about the events surrounding the civil war or the characters involved, so I’ll have to speak hypothetically. Let’s say Rhaenyra Targaryen is a sympathetic character that you can’t help but fall in love with. Knowing the fate of House Targaryen won’t stop me from connecting with that particular character, because she’s more than her House…”

    Rank speculation on my part about Rhaenyra in HotD:
    I’ve been thinking that Emma D’Arcy must have blown away the casting director and showrunners in her auditions, and she may very well turn out to be one of the breakout stars of the show.
    • I would imagine that HBO and the producers would have wanted a recognizable name with a substantial resume to attract fans. Olivia Cooke has such credentials. Emma D’Arcy didn’t.
    • With so many young actresses who would have likely been vying for a lead role on a GoT prequel, would have been easy to select an actor in the appropriate age range (someone like, for instance, Anya Taylor Joy) to play a Targ Princess. On the other hand, it would be quite a risk to cast an “unknown” with just a few credits to her name.
    • Therefore, I have to assume Emma D’Arcy knocked the socks off the casting folks and showrunners to snare such a significant role.

  251. Ten Bears: On the other hand, it would be quite a risk to cast an “unknown” with just a few credits to her name.

    There are times when unknown actors are preferred over known names. Many of those cast in GoT were unknowns (or not well known), especially the child and young adult actors. The only name I was familiar with personally was Sean Bean (but I admit I hadn’t heard of Olivia Cooke before HotD either).

    One advantage is that, if the series is successful, the association with the show that was the actor’s “big break” is more likely to stay with the actor’s name (getting free mentions in articles and write-ups as the actor progresses through their career). Another advantage is the casting show doesn’t have to compete with existing preconceptions the audience may have of that actor due to previous, well-known roles.

  252. Ten Bears: Hey, Young Dragon? You still around? I’ve got your Musical Interlude teed up and ready for you. 😄

    Just say season 8 was rushed and not fast paced. He’ll be here in a heartbeat.

  253. Adrianacandle,

    All true. But isn’t there more pressure on HBO for HotD to be a hit right out of the gate as compared to GoT? (Again, I was just speculating about Emma D, with nothing to back it up. 😁)

  254. Ten Bears:
    Adrianacandle,

    All true. But isn’t there more pressure on HBO for HotD to be a hit right out of the gate as compared to GoT? (Again, I was just speculating about Emma D, with nothing to back it up. 😁)

    I don’t know about more pressure (I don’t have anything to back up how much pressure is on HotD so I don’t feel I can make an adequate comment on that) — all shows have money invested in them and pressure to be successful — but I think they have higher hopes due to a previous association with GoT.

    GoT may be enough to get people curious about checking its spin-offs out but I don’t think big names in and of themselves would be enough to keep viewers around if the story is not engaging enough. That’s what I think it really comes down to — fully fleshed out characters and engaging storylines viewers want to invest in. If people aren’t pulled in, they’ll leave — big names or no :/

  255. Ten Bears,

    …it would be hard, in-universe, for the world at large to give any credulity to a claim that Ned Stark’s bastard Jon Snow is really Aegon Targaryen, trueborn son of Rhaegar Targaryen and his wife Lyanna Targaryen.

    Sam got this information from the High Septon’s diary, originally kept in the Citadel. If it was returned to the Citadel, then the Maesters would give credulity to the claim, and Maesters are trusted advisers to every Great House.

    Once this information becomes known from a trusted source, it can be used to mobilize support around Jon against Dany, even if Jon does not want to be king. So long as Jon lives in the Kingdoms, he’d be a focal point for opposition to Dany. (And Dany wasted no time in ensuring she’d have plenty of opposition to her rule.)

  256. Tensor the Mage, Enjoying All The New Material,

    Jon’s birth (or that Lyanna and Rhaegar had a child) was never documented in the diary, only the annulment and (I believe) the marriage.

    Even if a child was documented, it’d be a hard sell on Jon being that child. His birth was not witnessed, he’s widely accepted as the bastard son of an alleged traitor, Jon looks nothing like a Targ but a mini Ned (per book description), bastardy in Westeros comes with severe stigma – one of those stigmas being that bastards are liars and seek to usurp trueborn claims. I think it’d look more like a “bastard’s trick” than legit.

    Plus, a high septon’s diary in the books may be open to speculation and mistrust as well. Maesters don’t really accept documents as fact without speculation. There are quite a few obstacles to R+L=J being accepted as a truth in-universe.

    P.S. Ten Bears, I’ll reply to your comment re COVID from the other thread in an email later! 🙂

  257. Tensor the Mage, Enjoying All The New Material,

    <em?”Sam got this information from the High Septon’s diary, originally kept in the Citadel. If it was returned to the Citadel, then the Maesters would give credulity to the claim, and Maesters are trusted advisers to every Great House.”

    That’s only half of the equation. (And as much as I hate to mix and match show! canon and book! canon, let’s assume the books follow the show’s High Septon’s diary story.)
    The diary only established Rhaegar’s quickie annulment + marriage to Lyanna. It did not say anything about Rhaegar knocking up Lyanna or her giving birth.
    Plus, the Jon Snow = Aegon Targaryen revelation would presuppose that the “honorable” Ned Stark scammed his bff Robert, his wife, and the rest of the realm by claiming that Jon was his bastard son from a wartime dalliance. So the public at large would have to accept that Ned Stark pulled off the second-biggest hoax in history.
    If the only “proof” of Jon’s true paternity is BirdBrain’s hallucinations, he’d really have to demonstrate to everyone’s satisfaction that his powers of time travel are genuine, and that he doesn’t have some personal agenda in designating his half-brother or cousin as presumptive (Targ) heir to the throne.
    After all, supposedly Jon has “Stark” physical traits, and none of the Targ characteristics, eg silver hair and violet eyes.
    So, what acceptable evidence could there be that Jon Snow is in fact the offspring of Rhaegar & Lyanna – both of whom are conveniently dead? Would the realm accept the word of Ned’s buddy Howland Reed?
    I don’t know the answer.

  258. Ten Bears: Would the realm accept the word of Ned’s buddy Howland Reed?

    I don’t think one man’s word would be enough, especially considering the amount of marks Westeros has against Jon.

    I’ll be talking mostly books here 🙂

    It’s been observed by some characters that maesters aren’t exactly pro-Targaryen in the books. And said characters (like Dustin) also have suspicions of the maesters’ agenda. Either way, I don’t really see the maesters (or Westerosi nobles) being inclined to support Jon Targaryen, even if (by some miracle) they did believe it.

    Jon’s a known bastard, oathbreaker, the individual who let their thousands-year-old enemy through the Wall (and who had given the appearance of breaking NW neutrality and trying to rally the wildlings to defeat Westerosi lords — the Boltons), a warg (magic, which the maesters hate). All would be grave marks against Jon and I think would make R+L=J extremely difficult to swallow for the Westerosi.

    As it is, the Blackfish believes Jon being elected Lord Commander was a Lannister scheme and Jon is known as “The Black Bastard of the Wall” as far as Braavos. His rep isn’t… stellar.

    The accepted story is Rhaegar abducted Lyanna and raped her before she was killed. Ned’s own story about his newlywed self finding comfort on the road as a young man and bringing the resulting child home is not only widely accepted but I’d also say it’s more believable than a bastard son suddenly being claimed as a long-lost Targaryen prince who has conveniently popped out of nowhere. Especially when another — Varys’s claimant Young Griff — is already claiming to be a long lost Targ prince and YG has the Targ look while also claiming to be a child who was known to exist with a documented birth.

    Further, I think it’s hard to change societal preconceptions and beliefs, even if they aren’t the (actual) truth. Jon has a terrible reputation dogging him in-universe and it may get worse. We as the reader know better but his actions do appear to play into the stigma of bastardy to other characters in this world. He lets the enemy in, appears to rally them to not only break his vows but usurp Winterfell from a Westerosi house’s hold (where the Boltons were granted WF by the crown), he’s known as an oathbreaker and if he leaves the NW, a NW deserter.

    Unfortunately, it’s not just Dany and Jon’s reputations that have suffered in Westeros due to prejudice and unflattering reports, we know Jaime’s has — and even Sansa’s has as well. It’s believed she’s a kingslayer who killed Joffrey via sorcery — two bad marks against her as kingslaying is considered the most vile crime in Westeros and sorcery is viewed with deep mistrust. She’s married to a hated Lannister, Tyrion. Her association with Littlefinger is getting deeper and deeper. Robb names Jon his heir specifically to avoid WF from going to Sansa for fear it’ll fall into Lannister hands (and he also believes Bran, Rickon, and Arya are dead — which we know isn’t true).

    I think this kind of is a theme in GRRM’s stories, it appears. Perception vs. reality.

    So that’s a really long answer, needlessly long I suppose 🙂

  259. Ten Bears: Oh sh*t! I see you beat me to it. (That the HS diary only establishes half the equation, and nothing about a pregnancy or a baby.)

    I myself didn’t see this message until after I posted!! ^^;;

  260. Ten Bears,

    I wrote: “Another thing: As you point out, book! Young Griff will have the “look” and established backstory to contend he is really the secret Targ heir.
    For Jon, or an advocate for Jon, to also claim that Jon is really the secret Targ heir would be laughable. It would remind me of the scenes from “The Fifth Element” where an imposter tries futilely to board the space cruise ship by claiming “I am Korben Dallas” (after Korben/Bruce Willis has already checked in).”

    Here’s that scene…
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=blzmPZ7ZNJc
    “I am Korben Dallas!”

  261. Adrianacandle,

    There are quite a few obstacles to R+L=J being accepted as a truth in-universe.

    Thanks for the corrections; you’re right, only Rhaegar’s marriage to Lyanna was recorded by the High Septon in his diary. Just that much throws the entire “abduction and rape” story into doubt, which has long been the accepted version of events, so R+L=J would have an even tougher time getting accepted as the correct version. But that’s not really the issue.

    As Varys noted, power resides where men think it does. (As you know, in the books, he’s prepping Young Griff to be the “true” Targ’ heir.) It the story as told by the show, it really doesn’t matter if anyone truly believes R+L=J. In Westeros, as with most feudal systems, there is no peaceful way to transfer power from a living monarch without that monarch’s consent. It has to be a fight, and for that, the dissenters need someone with a claim to the throne, even if that person is a mere figurehead. That is the danger R+L=J poses to Dany, and it remains a threat to her rule, whether it is true or not — or if Jon wants the throne or not. His very existence can be used by anyone who seriously opposes Dany’s rule.

    The best way out would have been for Jon to marry Dany, a personal and political union which could have brought lasting peace to Westeros. But Jon was raised as the son of the dim and inflexible Ned, and thus Jon was unable to commit what he saw as incest, not even with a woman who probably can’t bear children anyway. Like Ned, he put his inflexible personal beliefs ahead of the well-being of pretty much everyone else. In Ned’s case, the War of the Five Kings rained ruin across huge swaths of Westeros, right when everyone needed to prepare for the longest Winter in memory. In Jon’s case, almost every civilian in King’s Landing died horribly, and only Arya’s off-Westeros education enabled her to escape alive. This is somehow better than marrying Dany, being a good adviser to her, and going on long ‘hunting expeditions’ beyond the Wall whenever he wanted?

    Those Starks, they ain’t all that bright. 😉

  262. Tensor the Mage, Enjoying All The New Material,

    It the story as told by the show, it really doesn’t matter if anyone truly believes R+L=J.

    I think it does matter because why would they support Ned Stark’s bastard son?

    It has to be a fight, and for that, the dissenters need someone with a claim to the throne, even if that person is a mere figurehead. That is the danger R+L=J poses to Dany, and it remains a threat to her rule, whether it is true or not — or if Jon wants the throne or not. His very existence can be used by anyone who seriously opposes Dany’s rule.

    This will be an issue in the books with Young Griff as the claimant but this is why R+L=J needs to be believed. Jon also abdicated, which is a thing he can do. Sparking a claimant war wasn’t exactly a wise thing for Sansa to do, especially after the North’s forces had been even more depleted.

    The best way out would have been for Jon to marry Dany, a personal and political union which could have brought lasting peace to Westeros. But Jon was raised as the son of the dim and inflexible Ned, and thus Jon was unable to commit what he saw as incest, not even with a woman who probably can’t bear children anyway. Like Ned, he put his inflexible personal beliefs ahead of the well-being of pretty much everyone else. In Ned’s case, the War of the Five Kings rained ruin across huge swaths of Westeros, right when everyone needed to prepare for the longest Winter in memory. In Jon’s case, almost every civilian in King’s Landing died horribly, and only Arya’s off-Westeros education enabled her to escape alive. This is somehow better than marrying Dany, being a good adviser to her, and going on long ‘hunting expeditions’ beyond the Wall whenever he wanted?

    I don’t think this is quite fair. First, Jon didn’t know what was going to happen but more importantly, marriage (ie. a formal negotiation to enter a legal union per medieval times) was never actually brought to Jon or Dany by their actual advisors or discussed as a solution. There was a conversation by everybody else about this topic except for the two parties it actually concerned. And even there, it wasn’t thought of as a solution.

    It was then written off by Varys — which seemed to be the writers dismissing the possibility. Jon isn’t Dany’s advisor, he’s her Warden of the North and commander of the Northern forces. Tyrion is Dany’s advisor, Varys is Dany’s advisor, Davos is Jon’s advisor, they all brought it up — but it was dismissed between Tyrion and Varys without even coming to Jon and Dany about it.

    So no, I don’t think what ended up happening or a claimant war was more appealing to Jon than marriage. He was hesitant to resume their lovers-lovers relationship — that’s not the same thing as saying no to a marriage, which is far more like a business arrangement per medieval times. Jon has sacrificed far more (ie. his life) for the good of the realm. Incest issues notwithstanding, if it was presented in such a fashion, I can’t see really Jon saying no since it would prevent more war for a claim he doesn’t want but YMMV.

    The reason why I think marriage wasn’t presented as a solution is because I think it would have solved too many plot problems needed to push Dany to the edge by 8×05.

    D&D had certain points to hit in a very limited timeframe and I think they needed those problems to bring about the end with the adaptation they had included.

    I’m not entirely blaming D&D, they had a limited amount of time to get a ton of stuff done and hit certain endgame bullet points in a specific timeframe. They don’t have the freedom to add more and more time — the practical constraints of television, the needs and desires of actors and crew, their own needs — GoT is a very demanding, intense show to do and they had been doing it for 10 years at this point. And GRRM also kind of left them twisting in the wind. They were good at adapting material and that’s what they signed up for. However, I don’t think either D&D or GRRM anticipated they’d be writing the ending to Game of Thrones which is a horse of another colour entirely from adaptation.

    Further, it’s not like what happened is at all what Jon wanted. Per Kit Harington and the scripts, a part of him is destroyed by killing Dany. Being exiled to the Watch is not a joyous thing for him. Jon can’t see the future. Bran can… well, kind of… and seemed to have put pieces in place so certain events can unfold. Jon didn’t do that.

  263. Tensor the Mage, Enjoying All The New Material,

    ”Jon was unable to commit what he saw as incest, not even with a woman who probably can’t bear children anyway.”

    Did he ever profess any repulsion over the “incest” thing? I don’t recall that.
    He could’ve just had her put on a red wig and tell him he knows nothing…

  264. Adrianacandle,

    ”Sparking a claimant war wasn’t exactly a wise thing for Sansa to do, especially after the North’s forces had been even more depleted.”

    Yeah. Not only that, but it put Jon at (greater) risk, and in “the fog of war” you never know how things will turn out. (I still say that if Jon considered Dany “his queen,” he should have abided by her wishes and kept his big mouth shut. As it turned out, Dany was right. He was wrong.)

  265. Ten Bears,

    I think Dany knew incest was the issue when Jon stopped their make-out session in 8×04 because when he stops, she says: “I wish you’d never told me. If I didn’t know, I’d be happy right now.”

    There’s also this from a longer version of the 8×05 script:

    They kiss, and the script says “[Dany] is desperate for a connection; she cannot remember a time she has felt this alone. She pulls back from the kiss and looks at Jon. This is complicated for him. He loves her. He disapproves strongly of what she’s doing. He lusts after her. He fears her. She feels his ambivalence.”

    “It disgusts you,” Dany says.

    “Dany…” Jon begins and trails off.

    So I think Dany was supposed to know but it could have been better vocalized on screen. Per the writers and KH, incest was Jon’s issue:

    Kit Harington: He finds out such a massive piece of information. Not only does he find out who his mother is but also that he’s related to the person he’s in love with. It’s hard for any actor to play. It’s not a two-hour movie but eight seasons of playing a character who’s finding out.

    Kit Harington: They’ve got death raining down on them and suddenly, [Jon] finds out the truth about his life and that he’s not a bastard. And on top of that, the new love of his life is his aunt. I was like ‘this is an impossible task.’

    Bryan Cogman: Jon is avoiding Dany the whole episode [8×02] because this bombshell has been dropped on him and he can’t even process how to be in the same room with her. She senses a strange tension and can’t understand why. What really upsets Jon is that he’s a blood relative to the woman he’s in love with.

    Byan Cogman: Down there [in the crypt], he’s processing, and Dany found him, and then there’s no avoiding it. What’s he going to do? Make up an excuse and walk out? She opens that door. She knows there’s something on his fucking mind. She starts talking about [her late brother] Rhaegar and this perception that Rhaegar is a rapist. Jon’s got to do it. He’s a fundamentally honest person and he loves her, so there’s no other choice.

    David Benioff: There’s a moment when they’re kissing, and- and it seems like things are kind of getting back to where they were, but… it’s almost as if he remembers all of a sudden what she really is. It’s tense for him. For her, she grew up hearing all these stories about how their ancestors who were related to each other were also lovers, and it doesn’t seem that strange to her. For him, it is a strange thing.

  266. Ten Bears: Yeah. Not only that, but it put Jon at (greater) risk, and in “the fog of war” you never know how things will turn out. (I still say that if Jon considered Dany “his queen,” he should have abided by her wishes and kept his big mouth shut. As it turned out, Dany was right. He was wrong.)

    Dany was right and Jon was wrong, you’re right, and I think Jon’s mistake was trusting Sansa. Jon kind of has blinders on when it come to those he cares for (which is probably why Dany could see the situation far more objectively where Jon was naive) and he was certain he could trust Sansa with the truth and in her vow made in the Godswood to keep his parentage secret. In the finale script, it’s revealed he can’t truly forgive Sansa for breaking that vow. I think Jon’s other mistake was that he thought there was a third option — he thought he, Dany, Arya, and Sansa could all live together with the truth, as he told Dany. He also trusted Dany with this information as well.

    But I wish Jon had kept silent too. Dany ended up being right.

  267. Adrianacandle,

    ”…but it could have been better vocalized on screen. Per the writers and KH, incest was Jon’s issue.”

    Thank you for the quotes by the showrunners and KH. You’re right: It could have been better vocalized on screen. I did not sense any squeamishness on Jon’s part based on the dialogue and the acting. Oh well. 🤷🏻‍♂️

  268. Ten Bears,

    I did sense some incest issues on his part but I also thought incest might be an issue for Jon going into season 8. In the books, though, I’m divided over how much of an issue it’d be for him. Avuncular marriage isn’t forbidden by the Faith or Westeros per The World of Ice and Fire:

    […]This was not true in Westeros, where the power of the Faith went unquestioned. Incest was denounced as vile sin, whether between father and daughter, mother and son, or brother and sister, and the fruits of such unions were considered abominations in the sight of gods and men. With hindsight, it can be seen that conflict between the Faith and House Targaryen was inevitable.

    But it is denounced as vile in the site of the Old Gods as far as the wildlings are concerned, which is why they steal mates from afar because even going for members of their own clan is considered too close for comfort.

    And it depends on how Ned raised the kids. In treating them all like eternal tamagotchis and not making any future plans for them until Robert waltzes his way into Winterfell, Ned wasn’t exactly setting up suitors for any of his kidlings — blood related or otherwise.

  269. Adrianacandle,

    …”I think Jon’s other mistake was that he thought there was a third option — he thought he, Dany, Arya, and Sansa could all live together with the truth, as he told Dany. He also trusted Dany with this information as well.

    But I wish Jon had kept silent too. Dany ended up being right.”

    Ned kept his trap shut and told no one for how many years? I’ll bet he was tempted to confide in Catelyn and hope “they could all live together with the truth.”

    Jon should’ve emulated Ned. Wasn’t there a book quote by Ned – an internal monologue – something about how “some secrets are too dangerous to [something]’?” I think there’s also an old saying that “discretion is the better part of valor.”

    How could he not realize that opening his yap meant the “secret” was no longer a secret?

  270. Ten Bears,

    Ned kept his trap shut and told no one for how many years? I’ll bet he was tempted to confide in Catelyn and hope “they could all live together with the truth.”

    No, never. He never thought telling Catelyn was an option — and this was Jon living a lie, not Ned. Jon bore the major brunt of this lie. Ned’s lie put a stain on his honour and caused some strain in his marriage.

    And this was a different situation.

    Unlike Ned with Catelyn (who was still a stranger to him when he came home with Jon), Jon was certain he could trust Sansa with the truth and in her vow made in the Godswood to keep his parentage secret. He grew up with her. Meanwhile, as Ned got to know Catelyn, he didn’t know if Catelyn would sell out Jon to protect her kids. There’s a passage saying he hoped he’d never find out. Conversely, Jon trusted Sansa not to betray his secret or sell him out. That’d put Jon in danger, as well as the entire North.

    Ned never thought there was a third option and it’s Jon, not Ned, who had to carry the brunt of that. I’m never going to argue that Jon should apply for Mensa but he truly — due to emotional attachment — thought he could trust Sansa to keep his confidence secret and her vow to him made in the Godswood. If Jon could see ahead and see that Sansa would beak her vow, I doubt he’d tell her.

    Jon should’ve emulated Ned. Wasn’t there a book quote by Ned – an internal monologue – something about how “some secrets are too dangerous to [something]’?” I think there’s also an old saying that “discretion is the better part of valor.”

    I’ll search for that passage but the show isn’t the books. I think they needed to fire this gun though since they merged the Jon Snow/Young Griff plotlines in the adaptation. I think the merge was awkward for many reasons.

    How could he not realize that opening his yap meant the “secret” was no longer a secret?

    Well, if I trust the person I’m confiding to and they make a vow to me in the most sacred part of their faith, yeah, I trust it will be kept a secret. I won’t tell my sisters something and swear them to secrecy in anticipation that it won’t be a secret anymore.

    But again, nobody is arguing Jon should apply for Mensa 🙂

  271. Adrianacandle,

    …marriage (ie. a formal negotiation to enter a legal union per medieval times) was never actually brought to Jon or Dany by their actual advisors or discussed as a solution.

    Jon’s parents did none of that, either, even though one was Heir to the Throne and the other was a very eligible young lady from a Great House. Dany didn’t do any of that before her betrothal to Hizdahr zo Loraq. As you have eloquently shown, it was Jon’s reticence alone which precluded the marriage.

    Sparking a claimant war wasn’t exactly a wise thing for Sansa to do, especially after the North’s forces had been even more depleted.

    I agree completely, but Sansa had learned her whole art of ruling from Cersei and Baelish. The former reacted emotionally to everything, forever piling up a larger body count and longer list of enemies, and the latter was a resentful, sadistic pyromaniac who got lucky for awhile. Sansa hit the jackpot on the very first try, and then sensibly retreated to the safety of The North.

    I don’t think this is quite fair. First, Jon didn’t know what was going to happen…

    You’re right, it’s not fair, but then, neither is real life, either. We all have to make decisions, sometimes big and irrevocable ones, often on insufficient knowledge, and with not enough time. Ned and Jon were each given a simple course of action, which, if followed, could have brought peace to the realm. Instead, “The Honorable Lord Eddard Stark” betrayed the final request of his dying friend, the King because he believed a story that Cercei (for all Ned knew) could simply have fabricated out of spite*. Jon could have married the young blonde hottie who was in love with him, and spent years touring Westeros on dragonback. But, like his supposed father, he was too ‘honorable’ (i.e. narrow-minded) to make it work.

    *You gotta love Ned’s incredibly insightful deduction that Joffrey wasn’t Robert’s son because all of the Baratheons have “hair of black,” and all of the Lannisters are golden. Hey there Ned, how many years did you just spend, raising your dark-haired Targ’ boy?

  272. Adrianacandle,

    “Jon was certain he could trust Sansa with the truth and in her vow made in the Godswood to keep his parentage secret. He grew up with her.”

    Cue KotV concealment debate. (Just kidding.)

  273. Tensor the Mage, Still Loving the Ending,

    Jon’s parents did none of that, either, even though one was Heir to the Throne and the other was a very eligible young lady from a Great House. Dany didn’t do any of that before her betrothal to Hizdahr zo Loraq. As you have eloquently shown, it was Jon’s reticence alone which precluded the marriage.

    You’re right, it’s not fair, but then, neither is real life, either. We all have to make decisions, sometimes big and irrevocable ones, often on insufficient knowledge, and with not enough time. Ned and Jon were each given a simple course of action, which, if followed, could have brought peace to the realm. Instead, “The Honorable Lord Eddard Stark” betrayed the final request of his dying friend, the King because he believed a story that Cercei (for all Ned knew) could simply have fabricated out of spite*. Jon could have married the young blonde hottie who was in love with him, and spent years touring Westeros on dragonback. But, like his supposed father, he was too ‘honorable’ (i.e. narrow-minded) to make it work.

    The topic of marriage never came up between Jon or Dany, nor was it ever presented as a solution to them by their advisors (or by the writers). We can speculate on what Jon’s response would be to that but he was never presented with this option canonically.

    As for what happened with Rhaegar and Lyanna, we have none of that story. We only know they got married and had a kid. We don’t even know how that all came about.

    Marriages in and of themselves in this world aren’t necessarily intimate or even loving. They can be done for love but it’s very rare. Love would be far, far from typical and marriage resembled more of a business contract and negotiation, not an intimate or loving union. Jon was hesitant to return to their physical relationship, which had no political impact — but marriage was never brought to him as a way to stave off war. That never happened in the show. Marriage is quite different because it does have significant political impact. It wasn’t brought to Dany either.

    And the reason for that, I believe, was because it solved too many plot problems needed to drive Dany to the edge.

    It’s like saying Sansa didn’t tell Jon about the KotV because she knew Jon would say no. Well, Jon wasn’t given that chance — just like he wasn’t given the chance to consider a marriage since the writers didn’t permit the topic to come up between Jon or Dany. And they didn’t present it as a solution either.

    The characters can only think so far as what the writers want them to think or come up with. Marriage wasn’t considered a solution for them as decided by Varys. That’s more on the writers.

  274. Ten Bears,

    Well, Jon urged Sansa after that, “We need to trust each other.” :/ So it seems his trust in her wasn’t broken at that point but based on the finale script, where Jon can’t quite forgive Sansa for breaking her vow, I think it is broken now. But too late.

    Also, Chekov’s gun 🙂

  275. Tensor the Mage, Still Loving the Ending: I agree completely, but Sansa had learned her whole art of ruling from Cersei and Baelish. The former reacted emotionally to everything, forever piling up a larger body count and longer list of enemies, and the latter was a resentful, sadistic pyromaniac who got lucky for awhile. Sansa hit the jackpot on the very first try, and then sensibly retreated to the safety of The North.

    Eh, I think this (and the KotV) were examples of needed plot contrivances from Sansa’s part of the story to keep the story moving to where it needed to go. That’s not me trying to be unduly critical but when I think through these plans… they kind of fall apart.

  276. Adrianacandle,

    ”The topic of marriage never came up between Jon or Dany, nor was it ever presented as a solution to them by their advisors (or by the writers).”

    • Didn’t Tyrion present the advantage of a marriage alliance to Dany (though not specifically to Jon Snow) before leaving Mereen, when she blew off her boy toy Daario?
    • Gendry sure didn’t waste any time hearing wedding bells after his tryst with Arya. Why wouldn’t Jon think of marriage, at least from a political standpoint, to benefit “his people”?

  277. Ten Bears,

    • Didn’t Tyrion present the advantage of a marriage alliance to Dany (though not specifically to Jon Snow) before leaving Mereen, when she blew off her boy toy Daario?

    It wasn’t mentioned since 6×10, after which it seemed forgotten about.

    Gendry sure didn’t waste any time hearing wedding bells after his tryst with Arya. Why wouldn’t Jon think of marriage, at least from a political standpoint, to benefit “his people”?

    Well, that’s a question for the writers. I think it was a plot contrivance.

    Gendry wasn’t doing it for political reasons and… that was an odd thing for Gendry to do considering the times. Meanwhile, both Jon and Dany are quite comfortable with having sex outside of marriage. Dany didn’t think of it either and she’s the one who mentioned it in 6×10. As I said above, it never came up between them, nor was it brought to them. It was written off by Varys, which I think was the writers dismissing it.

    The characters can only think or generate ideas so far as what the writers want them to think or come up with. Marriage wasn’t considered a solution for them as decided by Varys. It wasn’t even mentioned in writer commentary. I think they just wanted it off the table.

    And the reason for that, I believe, was because it solved too many plot problems needed to drive Dany to the edge.

    Jon’s story as a political threat to Dany’s claim is, I believe, an adaptation of Young Griff’s story. Marriage wouldn’t solve the issue between Young Griff and Dany. Neither wants to be each other’s consort.

  278. Adrianacandle,

    ”Jon’s story as a political threat to Dany’s claim is, I believe, an adaptation of Young Griff’s story. Marriage wouldn’t solve the issue between Young Griff and Dany.”

    So… it’s kind of like the Jeyne Poole-Sansa merger: Maybe it seemed like a good idea on paper, but left too many logical loose ends in its execution.

  279. Ten Bears: So… it’s kind of like the Jeyne Poole-Sansa merger: Maybe it seemed like a good idea on paper, but left too many logical loose ends in its execution.

    Yeah, I think this is essentially it. As GRRM warned, these changes can result in a “butterfly effect”. Eliminating Young Griff leads to some problems, I think. And while the Sansa-Jeyne Poole created a more dramatic and expanded story for Sansa, the merge led to story problems for LF and Sansa. LF came up with a fairly nonsensical plan to marry Sansa to her family’s enemy, the family who betrayed the Starks, to take them down from the inside. And Sansa agrees. But how would Sansa do that? LF and Sansa both seemed to think this was the way at the time though. Yet, the North didn’t seem to care that she was there.

    Probably worked on paper, especially from a dramatic point of view, but… there are some plot holes with it in practice. I do feel for D&D here because they had more constraints they had to work within in a television series than GRRM has with the books. GRRM can go wild. D&D needed to simplify, merge, and distill a series of very complicated and intricate books.

  280. Tensor the Mage, Still Loving the Ending: *You gotta love Ned’s incredibly insightful deduction that Joffrey wasn’t Robert’s son because all of the Baratheons have “hair of black,” and all of the Lannisters are golden. Hey there Ned, how many years did you just spend, raising your dark-haired Targ’ boy?

    The Visual DNA test 🙂

  281. Tensor the Mage, Still Loving the Ending,

    I apologize, I forgot to address the Hizdahr/Dany situation. In the show (ep 5×05), marriage was actually addressed by Dany herself and she states the reasons why. She says, “And in order to forge a lasting bond with the Meereenese people, I will marry the leader of an ancient family. Thankfully, a suitor is already on his knees.” [indicating Hizdahr, who is before her] This was Dany’s peaceful solution after the discord between herself and the Meereenese nobles — but it was presented and stated on-screen as a peaceful resolution to Hizdahr himself.

    In the books, it’s done a bit differently. Dany agrees to marry Hizdahr as part of an agreement that he promise her a prolonged period without bloodshed and as one of the terms for peace between herself, Yunkai, and the Harpy.

  282. the dim and inflexible Ned

    Those Starks, they ain’t all that bright. 😉

    But again, nobody is arguing Jon should apply for Mensa 🙂

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but most of the Westerosi aristocracy is actually pretty inbred; the extended families comprising the leaders of the Houses have been marrying mainly amongst themselves for a very long time (not *within* the families, I mean, but between those same networks of Houses over and over again). So it’s not surprising if negative personality traits and underlying medical conditions have built up over the generations. Not as much as the Targs, but there’s still stuff that all the Houses would have to deal with, including the Starks.

    Children resulting from Robb’s “mixed marriage” with Talisa would actually have given a much-needed genetic boost to the Stark clan.

  283. Jai,

    I don’t think these traits are supposed to be the result of incest, especially since they’re limited to in-universe perception (Ned wasn’t that inflexible with his honour in actuality) or show portrayal/adaptational choices. And in the books, Robb marries a fellow Westerosi girl (Jeyne Westerling).

    I think there are only three instances of incest in the Stark family, but none breaking the Faith’s rules. The Targaryens also marry outside the family quite a bit — Dany has Dayne, Martell, Arryn, and Blackwood blood in her background — while there have only been a handful of mad cases (six, I think) among the many generations of Targaryens.

    Because Westeros and Planetos are fictional places, I’m not sure how much real-world science would apply to how their incest works. As I understand it, it’s not the act of incest which causes genetic problems but because relatives are more likely to share recessive genes for genetic issues depending on how close in blodline they are, if they mate, those recessive genes manifest.

  284. *I think there are only three instances of incest in the Stark family[…]

    In one of those cases, I think it’s a pretty far enough removed blood relation — first cousins once removed between Rickard and Lyarra Stark. To try and explain what that “once removed” means to those who don’t know, Lyarra isn’t Rickard’s own first cousin but the cousin of Rickard’s father Edwyle. Their common ancestor would be Rickard’s great-grandparent, who would be Lyarra’s grandparent.

  285. Adrianacandle,

    I don’t think these traits are supposed to be the result of incest, especially since they’re limited to in-universe perception

    They’re obviously a result of local cultural factors/traditions too.

    And in the books, Robb marries a fellow Westerosi girl (Jeyne Westerling).

    Yes, but I was referring to GoT, not the books.

    Robb marrying Talisa: A healthy injection of Essosi genes into the Stark family (and into the Westerosi aristocracy in general).

    Jon marrying his aunt Taylor Swift, I mean, Dany: Not so much. (I bet Dua Lipa would never nuke a city or bonk a nephew. Be more like Ms Lipa, Dany!)

    The Targaryens also marry outside the family quite a bit — Dany has Dayne, Martell, Arryn, and Blackwood blood in her background

    Yes, but Dany’s non-Targ ancestry still involves *the same group of families who had been marrying amongst themselves for many generations*.

    As I understand it, it’s not the act of incest which causes genetic problems but because relatives are more likely to share recessive genes for genetic issues depending on how close in blodline they are, if they mate, those recessive genes manifest.

    It’s more complicated than that. The recessive genes don’t just manifest in the cases of close-relatives marriages; they can also manifest when the same groups of extended families (or any other form of endogamous in-group) keep having children within the same in-group network over and over again for generations. The problems increasingly manifest the smaller that network is and the more times the marriages have happened within that network over the centuries/millennia. Harvard geneticists actually have a major medical research project underway focusing on exactly this issue.

    Because Westeros and Planetos are fictional places, I’m not sure how much real-world science would apply to how their incest works

    Someone would need to ask GRRM, but I’m guessing it’s the same as the real world. Humans on Planetos seem to reach adulthood sooner and live longer than us, but as far as I know they’re not meant to be literally aliens 🙂

  286. Petra,

    Excellent video, Petra.

    I’ve just replied to Adriana’s recent comments to me, but my post has disappeared into the “awaiting moderation” queue. Could you please take a look and rescue it.

  287. Adrianacandle,

    ”I think they needed to fire this gun though since they merged the Jon Snow/Young Griff plotlines in the adaptation. I think the merge was awkward for many reasons.”

    You Got Me Thinking, Part 1:
    • I never understood, and the show never explained, why Lyanna (and Rhaegar?) chose “Aegon” as the name for their baby, when Rhaegar’s older son (with Elia Martell) was already named Aegon.
    (My far-fetched tinfoil theory

    was that if someone referred to “Aegon” in conversation without specifying which of the two, the listener could ask “which Aegon?”, to which the response would be “oh, the little brother.”. However, I gave up handicapping the Valonqar Sweepstakes once Random Brick #335 killed Cersei.)

    • Now that you’ve articulated how the show (awkwardly) sought to merge the Jon Snow and Young Griff (Varys’s imposter Aegon?) plot lines, I guess that would explain why show! Lyanna said baby Jon’s real name was Aegon T.
    Still, it would have been nice if the show had given a reason for recycling the name.

    • Other than retired boxer George Foreman, who named several of his sons “George,” I am unaware of parents in real life or in fiction who give their children the same name. (Even when a child has died, it’s still tacky to give the same name to a later-born child.)
  288. Petra,

    Excellent video, Petra.

    I’ve just replied to Adriana’s comment to me, but my post has been diverted to the “awaiting moderation” queue. Could you please take a look and rescue it?

  289. Jai,

    Don’t worry, Jai! That happens sometimes to all of us! 🙂 Can take a few hours or days for the post to be approved and then it’ll appear! The real bummer is when posts disappear into the ether entirely.

  290. Ten Bears: Now that you’ve articulated how the show (awkwardly) sought to merge the Jon Snow and Young Griff (Varys’s imposter Aegon?) plot lines, I guess that would explain why show! Lyanna said baby Jon’s real name was Aegon T.
    Still, it would have been nice if the show had given a reason for recycling the name.

    That’s my own speculation as well because it’d be strange if Rhaegar sought to use the same name twice. That is, if he was involved with naming Jon — but I think he was. It’s my suspicion Jon’s book birth name will be different because we’ve already got an Aegon, son of Rhaegar, bouncing around. I mean, I know Aegon is like the Targaryen’s version of Michael but yeah, I don’t know many parents who use the same name twice.

    My parents liked ‘Alexandria’ so much that they gave this as a middle name to my sister Katrina and then named their last child Alexandria — but it’s not like Alexandria is a first name for both.
  291. Jai,

    They’re obviously a result of local cultural factors/traditions too

    I’m not sure about that. I’d say most characters’ show counterparts made some strange decisions and underwent varying drops in intelligence — per what the plot required and what D&D were going for. Even Littlefinger, Varys, and Tyrion.

    Of course, book counterparts aren’t immune to this either but it’s just D&D had more constraints placed on them considering the medium.

    Robb marrying Talisa: A healthy injection of Essosi genes into the Stark family (and into the Westerosi aristocracy in general).

    Well, Talisa is Valyrian. She’s not really bringing terribly foreign genes into the pool — it’s better than mating with a blood relative but Valyrian genes are already in the Westerosi aristocracy. For instance, anyone who has Martell/Targaryen/Velaryon blood has a healthy dose of Valyrion genes. The thing is, GRRM’s world is intricate but fairly contained and relatively small.

    Also, First Men (who the Starks, many Northman, and the wildlings are descended from) are from Essos. When they invaded Westeros, First Men came from grasslands of Essos per The World of Ice and Fire.

    Yes, but Dany’s non-Targ ancestry still involves *the same group of families who had been marrying amongst themselves for many generations*.

    Someone would need to ask GRRM, but I’m guessing it’s the same as the real world. Humans on Planetos seem to reach adulthood sooner and live longer than us, but as far as I know they’re not meant to be literally aliens 🙂

    Some humans are magic though — specifically the Starks and Targaryens. Deformities aren’t common in these families, nor are diseases. The cause of madness is unknown and is never stated in the text. There have been six confirmed cases in the multitudes of generations of Targaryens and each case has come about differently. Plus, instances of madness aren’t limited to the Targaryen family. Toward the end, after Robb is killed and Catelyn believes all her children are dead, she goes mad and starts tearing off her face. This is the same kind of madness that is induced in Helaena Targaryen, who closes in on herself and commits suicide.

    This is also a world with indeterminate seasons, magical substances, magical bloodlines, those who can ride and tame dragons, those who can’t, wargs, direwolves, sorcery, 700ft tall ice walls, ice zombies, tree wizards so… it’s not exactly playing by real-world science’s rules.

  292. Adrianacandle,

    It wasn’t forgotten. A marriage between Jon and Danerys was mentioned in season 8, but after Jon’s parentage reveal, it was no longer an option.

  293. Young Dragon: It wasn’t forgotten. A marriage between Jon and Danerys was mentioned in season 8, but after Jon’s parentage reveal, it was no longer an option.

    I was referring to the characters it involved. It wasn’t forgotten by the writers or J & D’s advisors but it never came up between J & D. Varys had written it off.

  294. Ten Bears,

    Ten Bears: Hey, Young Dragon? You still around? I’ve got your Musical Interlude teed up and ready for you. 😄

    Yeah, I’m here. Just had to step away for a few days.

  295. Young Dragon:
    Ten Bears,

    What logical loose ends did this storyline, or the Sansa’s marriage to Ramsay, create?

    For starters, see June 16, 8:13 pm reply by Adrianacandle:

    ”And while the Sansa-Jeyne Poole created a more dramatic and expanded story for Sansa, the merge led to story problems for LF and Sansa. LF came up with a fairly nonsensical plan to marry Sansa to her family’s enemy, the family who betrayed the Starks, to take them down from the inside. And Sansa agrees. But how would Sansa do that? LF and Sansa both seemed to think this was the way at the time though. Yet, the North didn’t seem to care that she was there.”

    It would take days to catalog all of the absurdities of LF’s ridiculous Bolton marriage “plan,” and Sansa’s assent to it. My biggest gripe – confirmed by GRRM himself – is that there is no way in the world LF would ever give away the virtue of his Catelyn 2.0 to anyone, for any price.

    I also did not enjoy yet another season of Sansa treated as a human pin cushion. It was just awful.

  296. Ten Bears,

    I’m not saying Littlefinger’s plan was a good one. I’m saying it was consistent with his previous behavior. A lot of people seem to see Littlefinger as some master strategist, but he’s not. He’s someone who simply throws a wrench into the works, steps back, and sees what happens. Take his plan to poison Jon Arryn, for example. That was a pretty dumb plan. It relied far too heavily on certain characters acting in certain ways that was outside of his control. And to top it off, his plan relied on Crazy Lysa Arryn keeping her mouth shut. No, his plan was nonsensical. The only reason people see him as a genius was because his plan appeared to be working, and that’s the problem. Sometimes, bad plans succeed. Sometimes, good plans fail. The success or failure of a plan doesn’t necessarily determine the merits of the plan itself.

    I disagree with Martin. I think Littlefinger would have done anything to achieve his ambition, including pushing Sansa under the bus. Of course, everything Martin says now is irrelevant until he completes his story.

  297. Young Dragon,

    ”I disagree with Martin. I think Littlefinger would have done anything to achieve his ambition, including pushing Sansa under the bus.”
    Well, at least in the books and through S4 of GoT., LF was GRRM’s creation. It’s kind of hard to challenge his conceptions, to that extent.
    Even later on in the show (S6e10 I think), LF’ expressly announced his ambition to Sansa: he pictured himself on the Iron Throne, with Sansa by his side. He also had a desire to compensate for the humiliation he suffered as a boy; no letter way to do that than to take the virtue of Cat 2.0 himself. Sansa’s take on LF in S7e7 (WF battlements scene with YMBQ – I mean her younger sister -was that in his own horrible way, LF did love her:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wGZaM9njtmo
    Anyway, I guess we can all read different things into the twisted psyche of this malevolent, fictional villain…

    Of course, everything Martin says now is irrelevant until he completes his story.”
    Touché my friend! 😂

  298. Adrianacandle,

    GRRM: “…Some writers are architects and some are gardeners, and I am in the second camp.”

    Hey, big G. Ask any horticulturalist what happens when you leave your garden untended for ten years.

  299. Ten Bears: Hey, big G. Ask any horticulturalist what happens when you leave your garden untended for ten years.

    I’ve seen pictures of his real garden from Twitter! It’s nice! … That’s one thing he’s tending I guess.

    Le sigh.

  300. Adrianacandle,

    … to take them down from the inside. And Sansa agrees. But how would Sansa do that?

    As Oleanna Tyrell herself demonstrated most admirably to Sansa, “Poison is a woman’s weapon.” (And, when Grande Dame Tyrell ultimately confesses to Jaime, she mischievously explains, “You see, I’d never seen the poison work before.”)

    I also did not enjoy yet another season of Sansa treated as a human pin cushion. It was just awful.

    As we all recall, after the broadcast of Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken, there were several internets’ worth of outrage spilled over Ramsay’s maltreatment of Sansa. My spouse and I, after hosting our watch party that night, wondered exactly what show these complainers had been watching. Yes, Sansa’s many sufferings were awful. That was because Ramsay was awful, the bastard son of an awful father and faithless bannerman. Westeros is awful, too: Roose Bolton was an exemplar of fatherly and feudal virtue compared to Tywin Lannister, one of the most powerful patriarchs on the entire continent. Craster’s victims were “liberated” by mutinous Night’s Watchmen, who proceeded to treat them worse than even Craster ever had. (As we all know, I could continue this tedious recital of atrocity for quite a few more lines, if anyone wanted me to; I certainly don’t.) My spouse and I remarked upon the obvious: it was all sadistically vicarious fun and games until a character many viewers cared about received similar treatment, at which point it became an outrage.

    Young Dragon,

    I disagree with Martin. I think Littlefinger would have done anything to achieve his ambition, including pushing Sansa under the bus. Of course, everything Martin says now is irrelevant until he completes his story.

    And should that day ever come, Martin may well have decided B&W were correct. Were I a betting man, I would not place a wager upon us ever reading the answer.

    I don’t agree that Baelish was abandoning Sansa, though. He’d conspired with Oleanna Tyrell to rid Westeros of Joffrey, and may even have supplied her with the poison. He may have just figured he’d soon return to Winterfell, give Sansa her weapon, and let Sansa end House Bolton herself. (What? A Stark girl, poison every powerful man of a Great House?!? How unbelievable…)

  301. Tensor the Mage, Still Loving the Ending: As Oleanna Tyrell herself demonstrated most admirably to Sansa, “Poison is a woman’s weapon.” (And, when Grande Dame Tyrell ultimately confesses to Jaime, she mischievously explains, “You see, I’d never seen the poison work before.”)

    I’m not sure if it’s wise for me to pick this battle today but here goes 🙂

    (Using the Ten Bears formatting!)

    * Where would Sansa get a fatal poison? LF didn’t seem to leave her with any and poison didn’t seem to be part of his plan or this would have been revealed to the audience.

    * What would Sansa do with Bolton loyalists? How does she protect herself alone? The Bolton family (including Roose’s Frey wife?) drop dead at the dinner table — Sansa is the only one who survives… it’ll look a bit suspicious.

    * What happens if somebody is wise to what Sansa is doing? Sansa kind of makes things worse for herself.

    I mean, LF left Sansa there alone with no protection and oddly, Sansa… agreed to this. I know why D&D merged Sansa’s storyline with Jeyne Poole’s and Ten Bears is probably right: it may have worked better on paper than in execution (in my estimation anyway).

  302. Tensor the Mage, Still Loving the Ending,

    Oleanna Tyrell herself demonstrated most admirably to Sansa, “Poison is a woman’s weapon.” (And, when Grande Dame Tyrell ultimately confesses to Jaime, she mischievously explains, “You see, I’d never seen the poison work before.”)”

    Sandor Clegane: “Poison’s a woman’s weapon. Real men kill with steel.”
    Arya: “That’s your stupid pride talking. I’d have killed Joffrey with a chicken bone if I had to.”

    Which begs the question: Why didn’t Sansa kill Ramsey with the corkscrew she filched?

    For that matter, why didn’t LF arm Sansa with some of the poisons he used on Joffrey or Jon Arryn? He sent her, defenseless., into the den of Stark killers and left her there alone. Some “plan.”

  303. Tensor the Mage, Still Loving the Ending,

    “As we all recall, after the broadcast of Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken, there were several internets’ worth of outrage spilled over Ramsay’s maltreatment of Sansa. My spouse and I, after hosting our watch party that night, wondered exactly what show these complainers had been watching. Yes, Sansa’s many sufferings were awful. That was because Ramsay was awful, the bastard son of an awful father and faithless bannerman…”
    ———-
    – It wasn’t the maltreatment of a known character that irked me. It was that the Sansa-Jeyne merged plot line made zero sense.
    – This scene from the end of S4e8 signaled Sansa’s character progression:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DxTrEb9U6o0
    At 0:41 – 1:05
    And that was all tossed away in S5 because the showrunners “loved” the Jeyne Poole storyline and didn’t want to keep Sophie and Sansa on the sidelines, futzing around in the Vale. (Really? But it was okay to disappear Bran for all of S5? And park Arya in Braavos for nearly two seasons?)

    – S5, LF to Sansa: “Avenge them!”
    Me to TV: “How?”

    – Out of all the show-only divergences they could’ve thought of to keep Sophie & Sansa busy, that’s the storyline they chose? It didn’t even make any sense, in-universe or outside of it. (What was there to “love” about Jeyne’s story anyway?)

    – Like Adrianacandle wrote:
    I’m going to let the Sansa-Baelish battle go this time 🙂 That’s not a hill I’ll die on today! I have those reservations but… yeah, I’ll let this one go for now!

    – Now, can we get back to Ned-bashing? 😀

  304. Young Dragon,

    TB: “Hey, Young Dragon? You still around? I’ve got your Musical Interlude teed up and ready for you.😄”
    YD: ”Yeah, I’m here. Just had to step away for a few days.”
    ————

    I have not forgotten about your Musical Interlude. I’ve expanded on it a bit. I’ll post it, with spoiler coding, tonight or tomorrow.
  305. Ten Bears,

    That may have been Martin’s intention, but the writer’s intention and my interpretation don’t always match up. I’m sure, in some sick way, Littlefinger cared about Sansa, but I don’t think he would allow his feelings get in the way of his goals. After all, his love for Catelyn didn’t prevent him from starting a war and putting her life in danger.

  306. Young Dragon:
    Ten Bears,

    I’m not saying Littlefinger’s plan was a good one. I’m saying it was consistent with his previous behavior. A lot of people seem to see Littlefinger as some master strategist, but he’s not. He’s someone who simply throws a wrench into the works, steps back, and sees what happens. Take his plan to poison Jon Arryn, for example. That was a pretty dumb plan. It relied far too heavily on certain characters acting in certain ways that was outside of his control. And to top it off, his plan relied on Crazy Lysa Arryn keeping her mouth shut. No, his plan was nonsensical. The only reason people see him as a genius was because his plan appeared to be working, and that’s the problem. Sometimes, bad plans succeed. Sometimes, good plans fail. The success or failure of a plan doesn’t necessarily determine the merits of the plan itself.

    I disagree with Martin. I think Littlefinger would have done anything to achieve his ambition, including pushing Sansa under the bus. Of course, everything Martin says now is irrelevant until he completes his story.

    Completely agree about Littlefinger. Since S7, I developed a firm opinion that Littlefinger is not some careful strategic mastermind… he’s a chaos-bringer and that’s pretty much his motivation in my eyes. Even if the kingdom got at complete peace and he would still be alive, I’m sure he would find a way to instigate chaos again. I even think his death was kind of a fitting one… chaotic and sudden just like he caused chaos himself. When I think of it overall, I feel Littlefinger was actually one of the most twisted GoT characters overall. We believe him to be a master schemer but he’s in fact worse… a chaos bringer, a man whose entire purpose is to drive world into disorder and misery. And I don’t know where GRRM will go with him but as far as I’m concerned about TV Littlefinger, I think he didn’t actually care that much for Sansa that he would prioritize her well-being above everything. Yes, probably in some twisted way, he had feelings for her but I only imagine what he could have been capable of if he fully realized he can’t claim Sansa. I’m sure he would have been capable of getting rid of her in most unpleasnat way.

  307. Erik, formerly Lord Parramandas,

    “I even think his [LF’s] death was kind of a fitting one… chaotic and sudden just like he caused chaos himself.

    His death was mind-numbingly dumb. He could have easily talked his way out of the “charges” against him at his trial by ambush, but instead he folded like a cheap suit and confessed for no damn reason. Cousin Orson could have mounted a better defense.

    ”When I think of it overall, I feel Littlefinger was actually one of the most twisted GoT characters overall.”

    You got that right. He was a serial killer – and orphaned poor Robyn while pretending to be his steadfast Uncle Petyr. While he assassinated Joffrey, he orchestrated it to frame Sansa and Tyrion for the crime. (He tried to frame Tyrion for the assassination attempt on Bran too.)

    he’s in fact worse… a chaos bringer, a man whose entire purpose is to drive world into disorder and misery.”

    While I don’t know if that was his purpose, he sure did cause a lot of anguish and misery. My only regret is he got off too easy in the end. For all the pain he caused, he deserved the Full Meryn.™️ Quick, surgical bisection of his carotid artery? Nah.

    Where’s the punishment in that?”
    – S. Clegane
    Professor of Criminal Justice

  308. Ten Bears,

    This scene from the end of S4e8 signaled Sansa’s character progression…

    Yeah, she looked pretty badass, didn’t she? Guess what? Looking and feeling confident may or may not translate to actually knowing what to do when the time comes. Sansa had survived Joffrey and Cersei, but Ramsay was a whole ‘nother animal (almost literally).

    (What was there to “love” about Jeyne’s story anyway?)

    You’d have to ask B&W. It ties into Jon’s story, and is the reason he’s assassinated in the books. Maybe that’s it? I dunno.

    Adrianacandle,

    What would Sansa do with Bolton loyalists? How does she protect herself alone? The Bolton family (including Roose’s Frey wife?) drop dead at the dinner table — Sansa is the only one who survives… it’ll look a bit suspicious.

    Well, if she was that obvious about it, sure. My speculation is Baelish expected her to ingratiate herself with her new husband, and once she had his trust, Baelish could get her poison(s). He was caught unawares by Ramsay’s savagery, which invalidated any plan Baelish may have had.

    Ten Bears,

    Why didn’t Sansa kill Ramsey with the corkscrew she filched?

    Um, because Ramsay was very accomplished in hand-to-hand combat, and Winterfell was crawling with Bolton soldiers? She clearly was thinking about it, and that feeds my speculation Baelish may have had a poison plot in mind.

    Ten Bears,

    He could have easily talked his way out of the “charges” against him at his trial by ambush, but instead he folded like a cheap suit and confessed for no damn reason.

    Sansa was his judge and jury, and she was well and tired of his antics, so I doubt anything he might have said would have made the least bit of difference. Lord Royce had wanted to throw Baelish out the Moon Door for quite some time, and thus Royce eagerly refused Baelish any protection when Sansa threatened “justice.” Politicking and scheming may have made Baelish powerful in his native South, but he lost his head for it in the North.

    (Also, I believe your cliche is off. A cheap card table folds easily; a cheap suit clings uncomfortably.)

  309. Tensor the Mage, Still Loving the Ending,

    Forgive me, Tensor. I’m afraid I’m getting caught up in this convo again but I’ll try to leave it soon 🙁

    You’d have to ask B&W. It ties into Jon’s story, and is the reason he’s assassinated in the books. Maybe that’s it? I dunno.

    Well, that’s part of the problem with this storyline because they took that stuff from Jon’s book storyline out in season 5. He doesn’t face the temptations to break neutrality in the show as he does in the books. His assassination happens under different circumstances. Sansa’s storyline doesn’t tie into Jon’s until after he’s assassinated, not before. Plus, that Jon believes Jeyne to be Arya is key.

    Well, if she was that obvious about it, sure. My speculation is Baelish expected her to ingratiate herself with her new husband, and once she had his trust, Baelish could get her poison(s). He was caught unawares by Ramsay’s savagery, which invalidated any plan Baelish may have had.

    The thing is, and I’m honestly not trying to be contrary for contrary’s sake, I don’t see any support that this was LF’s plan. No discussion or indication of poison is ever mentioned. Plus, if Boltons conveniently drop dead of unknown causes (that could easily be figured to be poison), giving Sansa control, that will look suspicious. I don’t know how Sansa could achieve this without looking suspicious. The first suspect in a Boltons dropping like flies case would be… Sansa. She has more than enough motive, well-known motive, and is associated with LF. It’s not a great look.

  310. Adrianacandle,

    …I don’t see any support that this was LF’s plan.

    It’s my speculation, labeled as such, based on Baelish having conspired with two very different women to kill two very powerful men.

    No discussion or indication of poison is ever mentioned.

    Oleanna Tyrell did not mention poison when she reminded Baelish (and informed us viewers) that she had conspired with him to murder Joffrey.

    Plus, if Boltons conveniently drop dead of unknown causes (that could easily be figured to be poison), giving Sansa control, that will look suspicious.

    It sure would. Then again, if she waited until Roose died, and after Ramsay had spread the blatantly false story Roose had been “poisoned by our enemies,” well then, she might’ve gotten away with Ramsay dying sometime thereafter.

    Also, although the story doesn’t dwell on this point, there are many different types of poisons, with many different modes of action. Some act quickly, some take a long time, and all can be mistaken for disease. (“A fever took him.”) Given the large number of illnesses common to a society with poor sanitation, irregular diet, and no understanding of germ theory, death was not necessarily a suspicious event. We’re talking about a setting where even educated persons believed in “humours,” divine retribution, sorcery, and the like. Sansa and Baelish could’ve gotten results simply from the common belief in the North, “there must always be a Stark in Winterfell,” and how the Boltons were being punished by Fate for expelling the Starks from there.

    …not trying to be contrary for contrary’s sake…

    Of course not. We never do that here. 😉

  311. Tensor the Mage, Still Loving the Ending,

    Oleanna Tyrell did not mention poison when she reminded Baelish (and informed us viewers) that she had conspired with him to murder Joffrey.

    Poison was mentioned numerous times by multiple characters in regard to Joffrey’s death.

    Given the large number of illnesses common to a society with poor sanitation, irregular diet, and no understanding of germ theory, death was not necessarily a suspicious event. We’re talking about a setting where even educated persons believed in “humours,” divine retribution, sorcery, and the like. Sansa and Baelish could’ve gotten results simply from the common belief in the North, “there must always be a Stark in Winterfell,” and how the Boltons were being punished by Fate for expelling the Starks from there.

    In ASOIAF, these educated people — such as maesters — do suspect poison when there’s no apparent cause. In ASOIAF, the maesters both dislike and aren’t willing to put much trust in magic or divinity. They will look for the practical answer, especially when it comes to the strange and convenient deaths of members Sansa would be motivated to kill. For instance:

    When Marwyn had returned to Oldtown, after spending eight years in the east mapping distant lands, searching for lost books, and studying with warlocks and shadowbinders, Vinegar Vaellyn had dubbed him “Marwyn the Mage.” The name was soon all over Oldtown, to Vaellyn’s vast annoyance. “Leave spells and prayers to priests and septons and bend your wits to learning truths a man can trust in,” Archmaester Ryam had once counseled Pate, but Ryam’s ring and rod and mask were yellow gold, and his maester’s chain had no link of Valyrian steel.

    If the members of House Bolton start dropping, I doubt it’ll be shrugged off as being punished by fate — especially when it comes to Bolton loyalists. I can’t remember unexplained deaths of Westerosi nobles being dismissed like that. When characters are poisoned in ASOIAF or GoT, these deaths are not typically shrugged away. I think that’d be its own suspension of belief. There are suspects, like in Joffrey’s death — and Sansa would be an obvious one in this case as she was in Joffrey’s. That she is suspected of Joffrey’s death wouldn’t look good for her if Boltons also start dying from poison.

  312. Tensor the Mage, Still Loving the Ending,

    It sure would. Then again, if she waited until Roose died, and after Ramsay had spread the blatantly false story Roose had been “poisoned by our enemies,” well then, she might’ve gotten away with Ramsay dying sometime thereafter.

    I don’t know what the Northern houses believed/didn’t believe in the show. But if Ramsay dies as well, I think that would raise some eyebrows in Sansa’s direction since the Boltons took part in the murder of her family.

    LF leaving Sansa there alone with no protection or support and gambling on a plan like this doesn’t sound particularly wise or strategic. It sounds like a good way for Sansa to become a prime suspect in another murder again, especially when she was present for Joffrey’s death after which she mysteriously disappears and pops up again in a second marriage to have that husband and his father die. Another family who took part in the downfall of her own.

  313. Ten Bears:
    Erik, formerly Lord Parramandas,

    “I even think his [LF’s] death was kind of a fitting one… chaotic and sudden just like he caused chaos himself.

    His death was mind-numbingly dumb. He could have easily talked his way out of the “charges” against him at his trial by ambush, but instead he folded like a cheap suit and confessed for no damn reason. CousinOrson could have mounted a better defense.

    ”When I think of it overall, I feel Littlefinger was actually one of the most twisted GoT characters overall.”

    You got that right. He was a serial killer – and orphaned poor Robyn while pretending to be his steadfast Uncle Petyr. While he assassinated Joffrey, he orchestrated it to frame Sansa and Tyrion for the crime. (He tried to frame Tyrion for the assassination attempt on Bran too.)

    he’s in fact worse… a chaos bringer, a man whose entire purpose is to drive world into disorder and misery.”

    While I don’t know if that was his purpose, he sure did cause a lot of anguish and misery. My only regret is he got off too easy in the end. For all the pain he caused, he deserved the Full Meryn.™️ Quick, surgical bisection of his carotid artery? Nah.

    Where’s the punishment in that?”– S. CleganeProfessor of Criminal Justice

    Maybe LF’s death was dumb for YOU but obviously not for me because I’m satisfied with it and it makes sense to me and I can easily list more than one reason why… the same as when you made a statement “What’s there to love about Sansa’s S5 story?” and I gave myself a brainstorming task to list at least 10 reasons why I enjoyed that story and I ended up listing 12. I can do that for Littlefinger’s death, I can do that for Dany’s downfall, I can do that for Bran’s Coronation, Jon’s Exile… I can do that for pretty much every single thing people disliked but I liked and I don’t think anyone can take that away from me.

  314. Adrianacandle: If the members of House Bolton start dropping, I doubt it’ll be shrugged off as being punished by fate — especially when it comes to Bolton loyalists.

    Roose and his wife each died violently, and her death followed soon after his. Had Ramsay sickened and died after that, the judgement of the Old Gods and the New could have sufficed as an explanation. As Roose warned Ramsay, the longer Ramsay used sadistic violence to get what he wanted, the more enemies he would make. The number of persons with motives to kill him would get ever larger.

    It’s really a matter of what Sansa might’ve been willing to do. Ramsay raped her and beat her, after the faithless Boltons had taken her home. As you’ve noted, that’s quite an incentive. She also could have waited until she and Ramsay had traveled to a castle of non-Bolton loyalists, and killed him there. Baelish could have had all or none of this in mind.

    Poison was mentioned numerous times by multiple characters in regard to Joffrey’s death.

    Because his death was so sudden and violent, it shocked even Oleanna Tyrell (who implied she’d used that poison before). Jon Arryn’s death was officially attributed to disease, and nobody said otherwise until characters mentioned it in private conversations, years later.

    (And, now that you mention Joffery again, I recall Tyrion Lannister was publicly tried and convicted for poisoning Joffrey, after which he actually did murder his own father. Those events might have made Sansa less of a suspect.)

  315. Tensor the Mage, Still Loving the Ending,

    Roose and his wife each died violently, and her death followed soon after his. Had Ramsay sickened and died after that, the judgement of the Old Gods and the New could have sufficed as an explanation. As Roose warned Ramsay, the longer Ramsay used sadistic violence to get what he wanted, the more enemies he would make. The number of persons with motives to kill him would get ever larger.

    It’s really a matter of what Sansa might’ve been willing to do. Ramsay raped her and beat her, after the faithless Boltons had taken her home. As you’ve noted, that’s quite an incentive. She also could have waited until she and Ramsay had traveled to a castle of non-Bolton loyalists, and killed him there. Baelish could have had all or none of this in mind.

    I could be misrembering but I’m not aware of any Westerosi deaths being attributed to “the judgement of the Old Gods and the New” by maesters in the story. I guess I just don’t think multiple Bolton deaths would be dismissed as such.

    And Sansa would be #1 on that list of enemies. Not only because of the personal abuse, but because of how the Boltons betrayed her family in the slaughter known as the Red Wedding. That’s well known. And as his wife, she’s in very close proximity to him.

    She also could have waited until she and Ramsay had traveled to a castle of non-Bolton loyalists, and killed him there. Baelish could have had all or none of this in mind.

    If Ramsay sought to make that trip. That’s a pretty big gamble as well. The family Sansa would be trying to frame would also have cause to point the finger back at her to save themselves.

    Because his death was so sudden and violent, it shocked even Oleanna Tyrell (who implied she’d used that poison before). Jon Arryn’s death was officially attributed to disease, and nobody said otherwise until characters mentioned it in private conversations, years later.

    The difference with Jon Arryn is he didn’t exactly have a notorious reputation or known enemies with well known motives to kill him. The Boltons had just betrayed Sansa’s family in a legendary brutal fashion. However, Ned and Catelyn are suspicious from the outset as soon as they learn of Arryn’s death — that’s part of the reason Ned agrees to go to King’s Landing, to investigate Jon Arryn’s death.

    (And, now that you mention Joffery again, I recall Tyrion Lannister was publicly tried and convicted for poisoning Joffrey, after which he actually did murder his own father. Those events might have made Sansa less of a suspect.)

    I don’t think that makes Sansa less of a suspect. She still was a suspect as Tyrion’s wife — but they could only get their hands on Tyrion.

  316. Adrianacandle,

    I could be misrembering but I’m not aware of any Westerosi deaths being attributed to “the judgement of the Old Gods and the New” by maesters in the story.

    Maesters neither sit in judgement, nor do they enforce laws. Boltons and their soldiers did, when the Boltons ruled in the North. And Northerners might so attribute misfortunes suffered by violent rulers.

    I guess I just don’t think multiple Bolton deaths would be dismissed as such.

    Sansa did not have to wait very long, nor take any action, to have “multiple Bolton deaths” become “one Bolton’s death.” (And that death would come to someone who had long been rapidly creating enemies.)

    And Sansa would be #1 on that list of enemies.

    Not necessarily. Ramsay’s methods of ruling were so pointlessly brutal and needlessly provocative, even Roose — hardly a stranger to employing great violence! — rebuked him for them. The longer he did that, the more Northerners would shrug off his demise as deserved.

    The difference with Jon Arryn is he didn’t exactly have a notorious reputation or known enemies with well known motives to kill him.

    We don’t know that. He was Hand of the King, the official executor of Royal policy, to a sovereign who was famously uninterested in actually ruling. Thus, Jon Arryn was the actual ruler of the Seven Kindgoms. There’s no way he, or anyone else, could have done that job for a long time without making enemies. (Robert himself said the Seven Kindgoms were ruled by fear.)

    The Boltons had just betrayed Sansa’s family in a legendary brutal fashion.

    The Freys had done that. Roose wisely kept his own role secret until the moment of execution, and neither he nor his House ever seems to have been named as a culprit.

    However, Ned and Catelyn are suspicious from the outset as soon as they learn of Arryn’s death — that’s part of the reason Ned agrees to go to King’s Landing, to investigate Jon Arryn’s death.

    The moment Robert makes his request, Ned kneels in front of Robert and takes the job, no questions asked. Ned and Cat talk later about whether their going to King’s Landing is a good idea. They had ties of friendship and marriage to Jon Arryn, and reacted emotionally to his sudden death; even in our society, the death of an old man who had lots of responsibilities does not surprise us.

    I don’t think that makes Sansa less of a suspect. She still was a suspect as Tyrion’s wife — but they could only get their hands on Tyrion.

    True, but the only people who matter here are persons who could get their hands on Sansa: Northerners, who have been loyal to the Starks for generations.

  317. Tensor the Mage, Still Loving the Ending: True, but the only people who matter here are persons who could get their hands on Sansa: Northerners, who have been loyal to the Starks for generations.

    The Northerners were blatantly disloyal to the Starks until they took back Winterfell for themselves. The only ones who came to the Starks’ aid were the Mormonts.

    The rest of the Northerners only became loyal again once they had to answer for their disloyalty.

  318. Tensor the Mage, Still Loving the Ending,

    Maesters neither sit in judgement, nor do they enforce laws. Boltons and their soldiers did, when the Boltons ruled in the North. And Northerners might so attribute misfortunes suffered by violent rulers.

    As you’ve pointed out earlier in this thread, maesters do wield influence and power. They’re not likely to dismiss the unexplained death of a noble. And I can’t remember any Northerners simply attributing such deaths to fate.

    Sansa did not have to wait very long, nor take any action, to have “multiple Bolton deaths” become “one Bolton’s death.” (And that death would come to someone who had long been rapidly creating enemies.)

    The problem is how it looks:

    a) Ramsay claims his father was “poisoned by our enemies” after Sansa arrives.
    b) Sansa’s already been present at the death of a poisoning and is a suspect for that death.
    c) Ramsay drops dead of unexplained causes with Sansa around.
    d) Sansa has the most access to Ramsay’s person, far more than any of his other enemies.

    We don’t know that. He was Hand of the King, the official executor of Royal policy, to a sovereign who was famously uninterested in actually ruling. Thus, Jon Arryn was the actual ruler of the Seven Kindgoms. There’s no way he, or anyone else, could have done that job for a long time without making enemies. (Robert himself said the Seven Kindgoms were ruled by fear.)

    Per the text, though, he didn’t have publicly well known enemies with well known motives. He did have enemies — but that information wasn’t well-known. I think Ramsay’s death would be looked at closely, especially considering Ramsay’s enemies, age, and his wife Sansa’s history. The Starks aren’t universally popular in the North and Sansa doesn’t have protection.

    The Freys had done that. Roose wisely kept his own role secret until the moment of execution, and neither he nor his House ever seems to have been named as a culprit.

    The Boltons’ role in the Red Wedding is known about in the North in both the books and show. Off the top of my head, Lyanna and Sansa both talk of it in 6×10 for instance. In the book, this is one of the reasons factions of Northern houses are gathering anti-Bolton rebellions. However, in the show, the Northern lords didn’t seem to care Sansa was married to Ramsay.

    The moment Robert makes his request, Ned kneels in front of Robert and takes the job, no questions asked. Ned and Cat talk later about whether their going to King’s Landing is a good idea. They had ties of friendship and marriage to Jon Arryn, and reacted emotionally to his sudden death; even in our society, the death of an old man who had lots of responsibilities does not surprise us.

    I did misremember a bit because they suspect foul play when Lysa sends Catelyn a note saying Jon Arryn was murdered. In a change from the books, it’s Luwin who urges Ned to go south after this news. In the books, it’s Catelyn.

    From the show:

    CATELYN: This was sent from the Eyrie. What’s she doing at the Eyrie? She hasn’t been back there since her wedding.

    [CATELYN reads the note, looks up in alarm, and then burns it.]

    NED: What news?

    CATELYN: She’s fled the capital. She says Jon Arryn was murdered. By the Lannisters. She says the king is in danger.

    NED: She’s fresh widowed, Cat. She doesn’t know what she’s saying.

    CATELYN: Lysa’s head would be on a spike right now if the wrong people had found that letter. Do you think she would risk her life, her son’s life, if she wasn’t certain her husband was murdered?

    LUWIN: If this news is true, and the Lannisters conspire against the throne, who but you can protect the king?

    CATELYN: They murdered the last Hand. Now you want Ned to take the job.

    LUWIN: The king rode for a month to ask Lord Stark’s help. He’s the only one he trusts. You swore the king an oath, my lord.

    And Ned does investigate Jon Arryn’s murder, this is how he comes upon Gendry.

    True, but the only people who matter here are persons who could get their hands on Sansa: Northerners, who have been loyal to the Starks for generations.

    Not all Northern houses are loyal to House Stark. Some defected to the Boltons: like Umber and Karstark. The rest…. didn’t seem to care Sansa was married to Ramsay at all.

  319. Adrianacandle: Not all Northern houses are loyal to House Stark. Some defected to the Boltons: like Umber and Karstark. The rest…. didn’t seem to care Sansa was married to Ramsay at all.

    Yup. Season 6 showed that the Northerners love for the Starks was a bit of a myth, except for the Mormonts, and even Lyanna was openly disrespectful to the Starks. The Northerners will generally bend over to anyone who’s in power.

    They could handle being ruled by the sadistic and cruel Boltons, but a “foreigner” who wasn’t even a foreigner in the first place was apparently too much for them to handle?

  320. Mr Derp,

    I think even Sansa calls them “bloody wind vanes”.

    In the books, not all Northern houses are pro-Stark either but the pro-Stark houses (except for the Karstarks because of Robb executing Rickard Karstark) generally stay pro-Stark and are secretly forming an anti-Bolton rebellion.

  321. Adrianacandle: In the books, not all Northern houses are pro-Stark either but the pro-Stark houses (except for the Karstarks because of Robb executing Rickard Karstark) generally stay pro-Stark and are secretly forming an anti-Bolton rebellion.

    It would’ve been nice to see this on screen. It would’ve gone a long way in showing Northern loyalty to the Starks even when the Boltons were in power.

    The show made it clear that the North was pretty much done with the Starks because Rob married a foreigner. It oversimplified things, IMO, because they wanted to tie in the whole “Northerners rejecting a foreign woman” thing later on with Jon and Dany.

    I understand that there just wasn’t enough time for the show to articulate this, but they could’ve made time if they really wanted to. It would’ve made an intriguing side plot.

  322. Mr Derp,

    I think part of the issue is adaptational changes. For one, Robb’s wife in the books is not Talisa from Essos but Jeyne Westerling. However, more significantly is maybe how much D&D changed Sansa’s storyline going forward in order to showcase Sophie Turner and expand Sansa’s storyline because they didn’t feel Sansa played a large enough role in the books:

    “Sansa is a character we care about almost more than any other, and the Stark sisters have from the very beginning been two characters who have fascinated us the most,” said showrunner David Benioff. “We got very lucky in casting because it’s so hard to cast good kids. Even if they come in and do a great audition, it’s so hard to know if they’re going to quite literally grow into the parts. With Sansa and Arya in particular, their storylines have become quite dark. It was such a gamble and the fact that they’ve both become such great wonderful actresses is a bit of a miracle.”

    And it’s because of Turner’s strength, Benioff continued, that it made sense to give Sansa a dramatic storyline this season and to use Ramsay’s engagement for that very purpose. In fact, the showrunners first thought about putting Sansa and Ramsay together back when they were writing season 2. “We really wanted Sansa to play a major part this season,” Benioff said. “If we were going to stay absolutely faithful to the book, it was going to be very hard to do that. There was as subplot we loved from the books, but it used a character that’s not in the show.”

    Writer-producer Bryan Cogman had some insight, as well. “The seeds were planted early on in our minds,” Cogman said. “In the books, Sansa has very few chapters in the Vale once she’s up there. That was not going to be an option for one of our lead characters. While this is a very bold departure, [we liked] the power of bringing a Stark back to Winterfell and having her reunite with Theon under these circumstances.”

    Besides, Cogman pointed out: “You have this storyline with Ramsay. Do you have one of your leading ladies—who is an incredibly talented actor who we’ve followed for five years and viewers love and adore—do it? Or do you bring in a new character to do it? To me, the question answers itself: You use the character the audience is invested in.”

    Having Sansa going it alone in WF with her only help being Theon probably does make for a more dramatic storyline for one of their leading ladies, I suppose.

    But you’re right. It is what it is.

  323. Adrianacandle: Robb’s wife in the books is not a foreigner

    I didn’t know that! That’s interesting.

    It makes it feel even more so that D&D went out of their way to tie in the North’s reaction to Robb/Talisa with Jon/Dany later on…even though Dany wasn’t really a foreigner at all. I mean, really, did any of Dany’s advisors or her lover think to clear this up with the Northerners? If it was that big of a deal then “Hey guys, Dany was born in Westeros” could’ve taken like 5 seconds.

    The more I think about it, the more it feels like Sansa is basically queen of a bunch of racist nationalists.

  324. Mr Derp,

    I believe Dany’s birth story is actually well known and it’s common knowledge. She is known as “Stormborn”. Dany was born in Westeros but she grew up across the Narrow Sea.

    As Tyrion tells her:

    When I was a young man I heard a story about a baby born during the worst storm in living memory. She had no wealth, no lands, no army, only a name and a handful of supporters, most of whom probably thought they could use that name to benefit themselves. They kept her alive, moving her from place to place, often hours ahead of the men who had been sent to kill her. She was eventually sold off to some warlord on the edge of the world and that appeared to be that. And then a few years later the most well informed person I knew told me that this girl without wealth, lands, or armies had somehow acquired all three in a very short span of time, along with three dragons. He thought she was our best, last chance to build a better world. I thought you were worth meeting at the very least.

    The well-known downfall of the Targaryens happened in living memory, as did Robert’s well-known hatred for Targaryens and Dany and Viserys’s exile so I think all nobility at least know Dany was born in Westeros but was smuggled away as a baby.

    I believe she’s considered “foreign” because she did not grow up in Westeros.

  325. Adrianacandle,

    I wasn’t all that down on Sansa’s storyline with the Boltons. Not as much as TB. I thought it was ok.

    When it comes to Sansa, I just didn’t like her storyline with Arya in season 7 and I never thought the show did a good job articulating how exactly Sansa became so smart.

    Defenders will say that she learned from the best. Littlefinger is used as the primary example. However, as some have noted in this very thread, Littlefinger wasn’t smart.

    Some say she found herself in season 6, but I just found her to be obnoxious and petulant. Everything she did that season didn’t work other than taking advantage of Littlefinger’s obsession for her. Then, suddenly early in season 7 she’s telling the metal workers how to properly make armor. Um, ok? No idea where she would’ve learned that, but, yea, ok. She knows how to make armor apparently.

  326. Mr Derp,

    I agree! I remember as far back as late 2016 when you made a post articulating your issues with how they executed Sansa’s intelligence which perfectly explained my issues as well. I’ve kept it in the back of my mind since. I remember an article written about the Sansa Problem here.

    It feels the show was trying to have their cake and eat it too. Per the article’s subtitle, “Is Sansa Stark dim and virtuous or evil and cunning? She can’t be all those things.”

  327. Adrianacandle: I believe she’s considered “foreign” because she did not grow up in Westeros.

    Sure, but if everyone knows that she was born in Westeros and had to flee due to no fault of her own then I find it disingenuous that people couldn’t see the nuance there, but then again, racist nationalists aren’t always looking for logic, so I guess it makes some sense.

    This all paints the Northerners as a people in a pretty dark light, IMO.

  328. Mr Derp,

    Westeros — canonically — is a prejudicial society. They blame people for all manner of things that aren’t their fault: born to unmarried parents, doesn’t fit gender norms/conventions appearance-wise, born to wrong parents, born to wrong family, not the right family name, from the wrong place, forcibly married to the wrong guy, etc. It’s kind of an awful place 🙂

  329. This actually opens up an interesting question, at least for me.

    Had Dany been accepted by the Northerners and citizens of KL with open arms, would she still have gone full Hitler when she took power?

    It seems like the catalyst for her heel turn was rejection, but the show sort of made it seem inevitable that she would go bad at the same time.

  330. Adrianacandle:
    Mr Derp,

    Westeros — canonically — is a prejudicial society. They blame people for all manner of things that aren’t their fault: born to unmarried parents, doesn’t fit gender norms/conventions appearance-wise, born to wrong parents, born to wrong family, not the right family name, from the wrong place, forcibly married to the wrong guy, etc. It’s kind of an awful place 🙂

    Can’t argue with that 🙂

  331. Mr Derp,

    She showed up and basically said I’m in charge now of course the might not like her. She has a massive messiah complex.

  332. Adrianacandle,

    From the article you linked:
    It’s as if we’ve been saddled with Schrodinger’s Sansa: she’s either Dim and Virtuous or Evil and Cunning. Right now — to everyone’s confusion — she’s both.”

    🤣 “Schrodinger’s Sansa” 🐱

  333. Ten Bears,

    I think I enjoy “Schrodinger’s Sansa” more than “Schrodinger’s Theory” — the idea that every ASOIAF theory is both correct and incorrect as long as there are no new books 🙂

    And on the topic of Monty Python:

    How so very often my dad has quoted that at me 🤣
  334. Thank you to Petra for a thoughtful video. I can’t come down one way or the other on whether the end of GoT the show will be beneficial to its prequel. I’ve been – and still am to some extent – under the weather this last week. I pulled a muscle in my lower back trying to get to grips (not very successfully) with the weeds in the garden and also was bitten by a horsefly (I think) and had a really swollen, red arm though that’s subsiding now. I’ve not felt like doing much – not that the good folk who visit WOTW need to hear about my moans and groans. You’ve already mentioned them, Dame, do I hear you say. Anyway, having a bit of a problem getting the old brainbox in gear (no rude remarks, you can think ’em but not say ’em).

    Mr Derp, I can’t remember whether you’ve read the books or not. ADWD wasn’t the book I liked best in ASOIAF but without going into detail Dany wasn’t always little goody two shoes there. Book Dany is very young of course and is in a difficult position where not everybody likes her. I felt sympathy for book Daenerys in the first book where she was ill treated by her brother and had to overcome adversity but by ADWD I was finding her a less appealing (to me) character. That said, I didn’t necessarily pick up that she would go to the dark side from that book.

  335. Tensor the Mage, Still Loving the Ending,

    ”(Also, I believe your cliche is off. A cheap card table folds easily; a cheap suit clings uncomfortably.)”

    The idiom is the right one. LF didn’t even try to defend himself; instead, he folded like a cheap suit.
    A variation is “folded like a cheap suitcase.” I prefer “cheap suit.” Less syllables.

    F*ck! Where’s King Stannis when you need him?

  336. Mr Derp,

    ”Season 6 showed that the Northerners love for the Starks was a bit of a myth, except for the Mormonts, and even Lyanna was openly disrespectful to the Starks.”

    Really? I didn’t perceive Lyanna Mormont as “openly disrespectful to the Starks” in S6.
    I assume you are referring to the visit to Bear Island by Jon, Sansa and Davos (in S6e7 or e8). I’ll have to rewatch that scene again.
    Frankly, I thought Sansa, who made the first overture, was a bit condescending. Paraphrasing: “Hey, aren’t you cute! You’re going to be so pretty when you grow up. Oh…Where’d you get those shoes? I wonder if they have them in my size?.” Jon kind of talked down to her too. with his “What you have to understand, my Lady” shtick.
    Lyanna wasn’t disrespectful to the Starks. After reaffirming her loyalty to House Stark (as she wrote in her note to Stannis, that Bear Island knows no king but the KitN, whose name is Stark), she correctly reminded her visitors that none of them were Starks:
    Jon was a “Snow.” And Sansa was a Bolton. Or a Lannister. (“I’ve heard conflicting reports.”😎)

    After reminding them that she was responsible for the lives of her people, and needed a damn good reason to sacrifice one more Mormont life, she did listen and consider what was at stake, and pledged her support.

    That is how I remember the scene. There was a bit of snark sent Sansa’s way, but not undeservedly so.

    Of course, I assume you can’t be referring to S6e10, when Lyanna gave her big “You refused the call/He’s my King!” speech.

    P.S. Pardon me for the “Clueless” callback.

  337. Adrianacandle,

    And on the topic of Monty Python” & The Holy Grail, and inevitable comparisons to GoT (which practically write themselves):

    • If I recall correctly, in an interview about S1, the showrunners were cognizant that with the show’s medieval setting, if they didn’t present the story as a serious drama they’d veer into MP territory. (I don’t have the exact quote.)

    • When you mentioned speculation or a theory that in the (future) books, the WW/Others threat might be resolved through some kind of negotiation,

    I was tempted to suggest that Jon the Conciliator would seek to appease them, only to be met with a demand that he get the WWs… a shrubbery! And after Jon did so, they’d demand another shrubbery, and that Jon had to cut down the mightiest tree in the forest not with Longclaw, but…a herring!

    • In light of the discussion here about the fickle Northerners and their dubious pledges of loyalty only after the battle against the Boltons was won,
    I was going to go off on a Lord Robett Glover-bashing tirade,

    replete with lyrics grafted from the minstrel in MP: 🎶“Brave Ser Robett ran away, brave Ser Robett ran away. When danger reared its nasty head, he quickly turned his heels and fled…” – or something like that.
  338. Ten Bears,

    If I recall correctly, in an interview about S1, the showrunners were cognizant that with the show’s medieval setting, if they didn’t present the story as a serious drama they’d veer into MP territory. (I don’t have the exact quote.)

    I recall them speaking about this too. I’d have to find the quote.

    I was tempted to suggest that Jon the Conciliator would seek to appease them, only to be met with a demand that he get the WWs… a shrubbery! And after Jon did so, they’d demand another shrubbery, and that Jon had to cut down the mightiest tree in the forest not with Longclaw, but…a herring!

    And cutting down the mightiest tree in the forest would be the real challenge 😉 Sadly, it is not a swordfish — only the Chosen Conciliator could do it! And the fish would light up in mighty fiery bioluminescence…..

  339. Mr Derp,

    ”When it comes to Sansa, I just didn’t like her storyline with Arya in season 7 and I never thought the show did a good job articulating how exactly Sansa became so smart.”

    We had Jon and Tyrion on Dragonstone in early S7 talking about Sansa being smart, and then in S8 Arya announcing “She’s the smartest person I’ve ever met.”.

    Why should the show articulate his Sansa became so smart, when we’ve got two characters telling us she’s so smart?

    Just kidding. Arya’s declaration that Sansa was “the smartest person I’ve ever met” made me cringe and groan, because:

    (a) There was nothing – nothing at all – that we had seen or that Arya had seen that would justify that assessment. It came from out of left field.

    (b) Arya had met Tywin Lannister, Syrio “Watching is not seeing” Forel, Jaqen H”Ghar, and even the dying farmer in S4e7, all of whom showed they weren’t intellectual slouches. They were observant and able to make deductions from limited information. [At their first meeting, Tywin quickly saw that Arya was a girl dressed as a boy, and commented that her reason (“safer to travel, my Lord”) was “smart;” later, at the end of their one on one meeting when she was a little too bold, he asked if anyone ever told her she was “too smart for your own good.”]
    Characters she’d met like Yoren, Lady Crane, and Thoros showed how they were world wise, and had street smarts. Even Melisandre had demonstrated in the previous episode (S8e3) that her S3 premonitions about Arya had proven to be correct, e.g., that they’d meet again, and that Arya would close lots of eyes forever).
    So, out of all of these people Arya had “ever met,” her sister Sansa was the very smartest???

    (c) Arya’s declaration to Jon about Sansa’s intellect in S8e1… ⚠️ Whinge Alert

    interrupted what should have been a “high thread count,” emotionally evocative (and long-awaited) reunion. That stunted reunion scene also pissed me off in part because by contrast, the beautiful S6 Jon-Sansa reunion had been done so well.
    And one would have thought that in the beginning of S8e1, upon seeing Jon riding into WF, Arya would’ve immediately left the crowd and rushed over to embrace him, but I let that go, figuring their private reunion would be better. It wasn’t. It quickly turned into a talk about…Sansa.

    (d) The column linked by Adrianacandle (about “Shrodinger’s Sansa”) or another column by the same reviewer, identified and described several (important) “Conversations That Took Place Off-Screen,” that prompted all kinds of fan theories but were never revealed or explained for the viewer. [I’ll try to retrieve and link that column. It was an incisive analysis and good reading, and wasn’t just the typical “D&D suck” critique.]

    How Sansa got so “smart” was one of those elided conversations. For example, S7 could have but did not show Sansa unraveling LF’s stupid “plan;” reconciling with her sister; or deducing why LF should face charges (i.e., “You stand accused of murder, you stand accused of treason”).

    (e) As the “Shrodinger’s Sansa” column suggested, it surely did not help that there was never an explanation for 🐴⚰️ Dead Horse Alert!

    Sansa’s KotV concealment, or that oftentimes Sansa/Sophie’s facial expressions were inscrutable (e.g., what was she thinking when she saw the Northern Lords name Jon their king; or when she witnessed Arya sparring with Brienne?).

    . No knock on Sophie. The show left her twisting in the wind, with no clarification of her character’s motives.

    Nor was there any in-universe reason for Sansa “Miss Courtesy” Stark’s overt hostility towards Daenerys, who’d just brought her armies North to help the Starks. (I thought Sansa’s skill was using grace and manners to endear herself to people… not giving them a Mean Girls stink eye.
    Sure, in retrospect, one could say Sansa was justified in not trusting Dany. At the time, however, there was nothing to support Sansa’s personal hostility towards Dany – especially with an existential threat knocking on their door. (The Northern Independence angle could wait until later, if they were able to survive the AotD.)

    It all left some viewers to speculate that Sansa was selfish and devious, or naive and stupid,
    neither of which was not the showrunners’ intent.
    If the objective was to demonstrate that Sansa was “smart,” there were several missed opportunities to do that. Lining armor with insulation? That throwaway line didn’t do it for me, or for you.

    (f) In all fairness, I have to assume that scripting scenes showing characters are “smart” must be very challenging, and the showrunners did not have the luxury of coming up with scenarios and fine-tuning them with re-writes and revisions, like a certain author could do.

    Even so, I thought there is a narrative principle that instructs: “Show me. Don’t tell me.” Off-hand comments by Tyrion, Jon and Arya telling us how smart Sansa was didn’t do the trick. /spoiler]

  340. Ten Bears: Nor was there any in-universe reason for Sansa “Miss Courtesy” Stark’s overt hostility towards Daenerys, who’d just brought her armies North to help the Starks. (I thought Sansa’s skill was using grace and manners to endear herself to people… not giving them a Mean Girls stink eye.
    Sure, in retrospect, one could say Sansa was justified in not trusting Dany. At the time, however, there was nothing to support Sansa’s personal hostility towards Dany – especially with an existential threat knocking on their door. (The Northern Independence angle could wait until later, if they were able to survive the AotD.)

    I assume this was D&D ATTEMPTING to show how Sansa was just so doggone smart that she saw everything playing out in her mind before anyone else did, but I can’t say for sure.

    I think Sansa asked Dany “what about the North” because Dany said she only wanted to take back what was hers. The North was never hers, although Jon pretty much gave it to her because he was thinking with his cock and not his brain. That certainly complicated things.

    However, Sansa also wanted to take back the North’s independence from KL. Sansa was trying to show that they both wanted to “take back what was theirs”. Sansa wanted to see how Dany would react to making the North independent.

    Dany obviously did not react well.

  341. Ten Bears,

    It was jarring how quickly Dany granted the Ironborn their independence as long as they stopped raping and pillaging, but refused to do so with anyone else.

  342. Mr Derp:
    Ten Bears,

    It was jarring how quickly Dany granted the Ironborn their independence as long as they stopped raping and pillaging, but refused to do so with anyone else.

    Equally jarring was how quickly Yara seemed to forget about Ironborn independence when King Bran was acceding to Sansa’s demand for Northern independence.

  343. Ten Bears: Equally jarring was how quickly Yara seemed to forget about Ironborn independence when King Bran was acceding to Sansa’s demand for Northern independence.

    True.

    When Sansa declared the North independent during the dragonpit meeting and Bran went along with it without objection, I still find it strange that all of the other kingdoms didn’t demand the same thing outright.

    “Hmm, we can rule ourselves independently or take a gamble and have Big Brother dictate all of that for us. Well, I’m a sucker for a good story, so I’ll take the ladder!”

    This show was all about families seeking power, yet, in the end when there’s a power vacancy, all of the major Houses just sheepishly agree to be ruled by someone they’ve never met or heard of? Especially when one just declared their independence outright without a fight?

  344. Ten Bears,

    I’d also like to see Yara try to sell this to the rest of the Ironborn.

    “Hey guys, so we had independence with Dany, conducted our own democratic elections (Kingsmoot) and could’ve continued independence if we pushed for it, but I decided it would be best for us to be ruled by someone we’ve never heard of. He’s got a good story!”

  345. (For prior and upcoming comments): Link to August 28, 2017 article by Lili Loofbourow about crucial “Conversations That Must Have Happened”

    https://theweek.com/articles/721097/why-game-thrones-become-incoherent

    I think I misidentified this online article as the different one by the same author that Adrianacandle linked (re: Shrodinger’s Sansa).

    If the link I embedded works, you’ll see that despite its title, the article is evenhanded in its praise and criticism, while discussing the recurring problem of critical conversations that must have happened offscreen but were never revealed or explained to the audience.

  346. Mr Derp:
    Ten Bears,

    I’d also like to see Yara try to sell this to the rest of the Ironborn.

    “Hey guys, so we had independence with Dany, conducted our own democratic elections (Kingsmoot) and could’ve continued independence if we pushed for it, but I decided it would be best for us to be ruled by someone we’ve never heard of. He’s got a good story!”

    “…And Theon and his valiant Ironborn crew all died for no reason trying to protect this weirdo you never heard of from White Walkers, as part of his half-baked bait plan. Nice story, huh?
    So yeah! He’s our guy!”

  347. Ten Bears,

    I don’t agree with everything, but I enjoyed these passages from the Dany article:

    “Daenerys’ ambition, which was once celebrated, functions now as brittle hubris. The awe she once inspired in people plainly isn’t working on the Northerners, the show’s current audience surrogate. She seems more jealous than benevolent, issuing veiled threats to Jon about Sansa not respecting her, and she seems to be vaguely aligned with male relatives (like her father the Mad King, or her brother Viserys, whom she cites approvingly) whose flaws she once frankly admitted.

    And her pretty understandable questioning of Jon’s claim to being Aegon Targaryen—that it comes, rather conveniently, from his brother and his best friend—is made to seem a little ungracious and desperate because we know that Jon’s intel is correct.”

    “It used to be that almost everyone except slave traffickers and corrupt kings kept talking about how extraordinary and correct and wise Daenerys was. These days, the plot is side-eyeing her choices, and characters are chafing under her command. Sansa doesn’t like Dany, for one thing. Then there’s Daenerys’ scene informing Samwell Tarly that she executed his father and brother.

    That incident, which has been effectively re-litigated, has been cited—by fans and commentators and Sam himself—as evidence of her cruelty and unfitness to rule. (I will confess here that this particular decision—in which Daenerys gave defeated enemies a choice to serve her and keep their estates, or die—didn’t strike me as that egregious in a show that features, among other things, a beloved character feeding a man his own children.)

  348. Mr Derp,

    I think Sansa asked Dany “what about the North” because Dany said she only wanted to take back what was hers.”

    • I know Cersei, in her conversation with the Iron Bank loan officer, said something about using the Golden Company to “take back” what belonged to her. I didn’t know Dany had said something similar, i.e., wanting to take back what was hers.

    Eh. It’s not important…

    • What I found more interesting was your comment about Sansa’s inexplicable, immediate hostility to Dany:

    ”I assume this was D&D ATTEMPTING to show how Sansa was just so doggone smart that she saw everything playing out in her mind before anyone else did, but I can’t say for sure.”

    Oh Mr. D! You may have solved the Shrodinger’s Sansa Dichotomy and identified a critical “Conversation That Must Have Happened” offscreen!

    to be continued…

  349. Mr Derp,

    Hey thanks! I read a few more columns by Lili Loofbourow in theweek.com after the column linked by Adrianacandle. Then the website cut me off with a popup telling me I’d read the four article limit, and asking me to register for a “free” trial subscription.

  350. Ten Bears,

    We’ve all debated the accuracy of the “inside the episode” featurettes. This sums up my feelings very well:

    “I started to note the developing gap between what Game of Thrones said it was showing us and what viewers themselves saw on screen around Season 4. It started with Jaime and Cersei’s scene by Joffrey’s body, which fans saw as a rape and which the episode’s director insisted was “consensual by the end.” This mismatch between what viewers saw and what showrunners and directors said they were showing us only got worse as the show went on.

    By the end, as Phil Maciak argues at the Los Angeles Review of Books, those “inside the episode” featurettes became odd little power displays wherein Benioff and Weiss contradicted what they’ve told us in their own show (like Daenerys “forgetting” about the Iron Fleet despite being reminded of it in a previous scene). And because they get the last word, set in what Maciak calls a “documentary frame,” we are supposed to believe their words over our own responses.”

  351. Ten Bears,

    I like this one on Bran too:

    “Tyrion’s case for Bran hinges mostly on his “brokenness.” Yet Bran, not unlike Daenerys, is a character with rare and worrying powers: He can see the past and some of the future, take possession of people and animals, and spy on literally anyone. He doesn’t need a master of whisperers.

    At least Bran is innocent, you might argue, but this too is wrong: One of the greatest tragedies on this show was Hodor’s death staving off the undead—and now we know Bran sacrificed Hodor so that he could survive to become king! Bran not only warged into the gentle giant, he also traveled in time to ruin Hodor’s life years earlier. Did Bran know then that he would become king? And what does this say about his not wanting it?”

  352. Ten Bears,

    I think you’re taking Arya’s words too seriously. I sometimes call people “the nicest person I’ve ever met.” That isn’t necessarily true, that’s just my way of saying that they’re a nice person. Regardless, the point of this scene was to show solidarity between the Stark sisters and that there will be no more feuding. That’s it.

    Courtesy has never really served Sansa in the past, so I’m not sure why she would use it on Danerys, particularly because Danerys stole her kingdom away from her and stripped them of their freedom. Ironic for someone called the Breaker of Chains. Not to mention that Sansa was in the right not to trust her. The assertion that the North should feel grateful for Danerys bringing her army to fight the White Walkers has never made sense to me. The White Walkers were not a northern problem. They were an everyone problem. Danerys was fighting for herself and her people, not the North. If anything, she should be the one who should be grateful. Jon told her about the Army of the Dead, their strengths and weaknesses, Bran came up with the plan to put an end to the threat, and Arya carried it out. If it wasn’t for the Starks and North, Westeros wouldn’t have stood a chance. The least Danerys could do was give them back their kingdom.

  353. Regarding Northmen, I actually like that S6 deconstructed them to some extent regarding their supposed “unwavering loyalty to Starks” and showed that’s more of a thing for stories than grim reality. Even more, I liked the idea how both Robb’s and Jon’s actions backfired in terms of Northmen as Karstarks and Umbers sided with Boltons exactly because of what they did. It feels very much in tone with GoT for me as as I often said, GoT has always been a grim and “messed up” story. . Robb’s beheading of Karstark was justice… but resulted in Karstarks siding with Ramsay, contributing a lot of army power, especially cavalry. Jon’s actions of letting the Free Folk past the Wall was a noble one… but it pretty much caused Rickon’s capture and eventual death and again, whole lot of army power for Boltons. I really liked this deconstruction of the Northmen because I too often felt that they’re a bit “idealized” compared to other kingdoms, not counting the Boltons. In fact, I think some northern deconstruction was already present in early seasons… such as those three soldiers who hanged those women from the tavern and eventually got killed by Brienne, and same with the change of Vargo Hoat to Locke… instead of vicious and sadistic sellsword company that originally worked for Tywin and switched sides, Locke and his men were simply part of the Northern army that actually originally fought for Robb’s cause but as Jaime got captured and we see scenes from his perspective, we see how brutal these men actually are and that not every northman is honorable like Ned was. And that’s all before Roose’s betrayal. So all in all, I like that S6 (and beyond) kept deconstructing the Northmen so they fit into this messed up world of GoT. But I very much like the idea that they wish to be an independent kingdom. I believe they’re way too different from the rest of the realm that they should be under rule of King’s Landing. In fact, I can say that the North, the Iron Islands and Dorne are the three kingdoms that I feel “should” definitely be independent in potentially bright future. The Stormlands, the Westernlands, the Crownlands, the Riverlands, the Vale and the Reach… for these I more imagine they can function as one joined kingdom. But for the North, Iron Islands and Dorne, I think the “right” way for these kingdoms to exist is being independent. Independent, but not hostile.

  354. Young Dragon,

    I think you’re taking Arya’s words too seriously. I sometimes call people “the nicest person I’ve ever met.” That isn’t necessarily true, that’s just my way of saying that they’re a nice person. Regardless, the point of this scene was to show solidarity between the Stark sisters and that there will be no more feuding. That’s it.

    • Good point about the hyperbole. Okay, perhaps Arya overstated Sansa’s intelligence. Yet, didn’t she emphasize family solidarity in the same conversation when Jon said something like “I’m a Stark too” and Arya replied “Don’t forget that”?

    • Anyway, after 7-8 seasons and however many years apart (since the last time they saw each other in S1e2), I guess I was hoping for a better, higher thread count, bookend scene for Jon & Arya. I was a bit disappointed that their reunion scene was truncated and quickly turned into a Sansacentric conversation.

    • I think I mentioned a few days ago that since the last we saw Jon and Arya together, he was encouraging her to develop her fighting skills, e.g., in S1e2, giving her Needle, telling her how to use it (“First lesson. Stick ‘em with the pointy end” – ”I know how to use it”) and advising her she’d have to work at it every day; and in the first episode, he watched Arya showing up Bran at archery by zinging an arrow into the bullseye, it would have been more appropriate for Jon to be the one to witness Arya showing off her fighting skills in the sparring match with Brienne instead of or in addition to Pod, LF and Sansa. Likewise, it would have been meaningful or Jon to watch Arya slice and dice wights with her specially designed double-ended dragonglass-tipped spear. (What narrative purpose did it serve to have Davos look on? None that I could discern.)

    • I admit that after watching the pre-S8 WF Crypts teaser, I was psyched to see Jon and Arya fight side by side. That could have and should have happened during “The Long Night.” It never did. I felt snookered by that teaser.

    Jon didn’t even get to see Arya shank the Night King. Instead, Jon was hiding behind a rock and ducking out every now and then to yell at an undead dragon.

    (Just because a scene might be considered fan service doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be a logical, in-universe event.)

    In the show – and I believe in the books as well – Jon is the one who encourages his little sister to pursue her interest in the martial arts.

    (And poetically in Arya’s internal monologue in the books, and wordlessly on screen in GoT S5, “Needle was Jon Snow’s smile”)

    . With the understanding that screen time was limited,” I just felt a little shortchanged by the S8 scripts that gave such short shrift to their relationship.

    * To be clear, I’ve accepted the diminution of Jon & Arya’s relationship in S8 as the price to pay for the well-done conclusion to the Sandor & Arya story – with the exception of Sandor’s meaningless death in “Cleganebowl” in S8e5.

    As much as I wouldn’t mind it, I recognize that GoT couldn’t be All Arya All the Time.. 🪡
  355. Mr Derp,

    ”Bran not only warged into the gentle giant, he also traveled in time to ruin Hodor’s life years earlier. Did Bran know then that he would become king? And what does this say about his not wanting it?”“

    About as much as unhesitatingly accepting the offer of the crown with the answer “Why do you think I came all this way?”

  356. Mr Derp,

    Yea anything that writer writes I won’t take swro
    Ten Bears,

    Mr Derp,

    Yea I disagree big time with all of that but ite written by Lili who I disagree with almost everything.And for every article like that I can find others saying the complete opposite.

  357. Ten Bears,

    Really because Lili the writer has said some really nasty things about D&D on social media she deleted most of it but she did say it and she’s not even a TV critic she writes about modern politics mostly.

  358. Adrianacandle,

    I have read dozens of articles all saying it was wrong for the show to have Dany do what she did because they all claimed it was sexist and D&D are sexist.

  359. Ten Bears,

    The whole point of his death was that it was meaningless and that’s why it’s sad. He told Arya she still has a chance but he thinks he doesn’t. It’s sad but a fitting end.

  360. Mr Derp,

    I misspelled what I was saying I meant I don’t take that writer seriously because not because of those articles but when that same person takes to social media and says really nasty things then deletes them I tend to be turned off by anything they write even if it’s respectful because they then go on social media and are very disrespectful.

  361. Fire blood87:
    Ten Bears,

    The whole point of his death was that it was meaningless and that’s why it’s sad. He told Arya she still has a chance but he thinks he doesn’t. It’s sad but a fitting end.

    Yeah, I get it. It was too late for Sandor because revenge had consumed him.
    I still wanted him to go out in a literal and figurative blaze of glory, maybe, for example, braving his fear of fire to save Arya, Sansa, or both at the expense of his own life.
    ⚠️ SanSan Fanfic Warning.

    To appease the SanSan fans, I hoped the show would come up with a scenario in which Sansa demonstrated to Sandor that something else besides killing was the sweetest thing there is. If you catch my drift…

    For me at least, considering Sansa & Sandor’s history together in KL in S1 & S2 (not to mention Sandor’s role in protecting her sister in S3 -S4, and then heeding the call that “cold winds are rising in the north” in S6 and joining Team Jon in S7 and Team WF in S8) their brief reunion in S8e4 was underwhelming.

    Frankly, I thought it sucked. The “broken in rough” and “I’d still be a little bird” but for LF and Ramsey dialogue was gross. That was my subjective perception though.

    Like the abbreviated Jon & Arya relationship in S8, I’ll chalk up the brevity of the Sansa-Sandor reunion to time constraints.

    • So I suppose you’re right that it was a “sad but fitting end” for The Hound. Throwing his life away for nothing – Gregor wasn’t even Gregor anymore – wasn’t really even revenge.

    • I had reconciled myself to the likelihood that Sandor wouldn’t make it out alive. He had sort of cheated death already, or to be more precise, he had been granted a temporary reprieve by the Lord of Light or “the gods” to fulfill their plans for him [per Beric in S3 and then Ray in S6) as well as the chance to “help more than you’ve harmed” [per Beric’s S6e8 assurance that “it’s not too late for you,” echoing Ray’s message that it wasn’t too late to start helping people).

    For me, then, it was telegraphed pretty strongly that Sandor was living on borrowed time. Maybe he was right that it was “hate” that had kept him going, and therefore it was hate that consumed him and doomed him despite ditching his misanthropic world view and trying to help humanity.

    I still miss the big fella. I thought he was the best character on GoT.
  362. Ten Bears,

    Right but to me his comments to Sansa are very in character. It’s him deflecting how he actually feels. It’s like he masks this macho mentality to cover up his real feelings and it’s actually pretty sad. And I will say I saw very many survivors of abuse and rape defending that line Sansa said. I know others hated it and claimed the show was saying rape made her strong but for every person who said that there’s another person and survivor of abuse that loved the line. Everybody copes differently neither are right or wrong in how they viewed that line. However when people scream D&D think women need to be raped to be strong that’s I think taking it way too far.

  363. Ten Bears,

    With Brother Ray in season 6 saying it’s never too late to change you can see The Hound is thinking about it but then what happens the one guy who he might start viewing as a friend is brutally killed. So he then reverts back to all that hate again. It’s an endless cycle of violence that once your in it it’s almost impossible to escape. There’s a great paragraph from a critic I read about GOT that I think sums it up really well.” You can’t win a war. You can’t leave violence behind once you’ve held it, done it, sought out meaning through it. You can’t build a better world with fire and blood. The revenge Arya forsakes chases her into the streets of King’s Landing like a living thing, tearing buildings apart and boiling innocent people alive all around her. The childhood trauma the Hound confronts in the person of his towering brother is unkillable, shrugging off countless wounds as they fight over a childhood grievance on a staircase shattered at both ends and leading from nowhere to nowhere. That’s the whole story, I think — the pain of growing up and what we do to ourselves when we can’t get away from it”.

  364. Young Dragon,

    “Bran came up with the plan to put an end to the threat, and Arya carried it out.”

    Huh?

    • Bran’s wight hunt-level silly “plan” utterly bombed. Neither the two dragons or their riders defeated NK. Bran’s defensive line (Theon and a bunch of guys in raincoats) were wiped out. WF was overrun. Defeat was imminent.

    The “bait” plan never made sense anyway. Why would NK care about erasing Bran’s “memories”? Folks could go to libraries and read books and scrolls written by people in the past.

    Now, the show could have justified targeting Bran by hinting that Bran was on the verge of finding something in the past that would reveal the WWs’ fatal vulnerability, and NK knew Bran might find it. Nope. That never happened. Nor did Sam’s intellect or stolen books yield any clues. (Why did Sam even bother dropping out of school to go to WF? Jon didn’t “need” him. And it’s not like Sam was an indispensable asset on the battlefield.)

    It made no sense that NK would personally stroll into the Godswood and lackadaisically saunter over to Bran. If getting hit by an errant Valyrian steel weapon or a lucky shot with dragonglass-tipped projectile could pulverize NK and his entire army, there was no reason for him to be anywhere near the battlefield.

    Besides, at that point, if taking out an unarmed paraplegic in a wheelchair was an objective for whatever reason, QB NK could have handed off the ball to any of his lieutenants or a gaggle of wights to punch the ball in from the 1 yard line for the winning score. Instead, he throws an ill-advised pass that’s intercepted, snatching defeat from the jaws of victory? WW fans watching at home or gathered at the Night Club getting ready to pop the champagne must have been devastated.

    Sorry Seattle Seahawks fans.

    • Arya did not “carry out” the plan. She was never part of it.

    She could have and maybe should have been a fail safe option: Had Arya made it known that she had successfully infiltrated House Frey, carved up Walder’s damn moron sons, cut Walder’s throat, and then snuffed out the rest of his treasonous brood, perhaps she would’ve been included in the bait plan. However, nobody knew of her exploits.

    Similarly, had she divulged that she put on the hungry little girl act to whack the Frey doofus sitting around the campfire, with the Hound easily dispatching the other four Frey campers, maybe the WF battle council would have armed Sandor with a big f*cking Valyrian Steel sword* to go along with his dragonglass axe to back up Arya if she had to make a last ditch stealth assault on NK. That wouldn’t have been a bad contingency plan.
    *(It’s not as if any of the Valyrian steel swordfighters really needed those weapons. As far as I could tell, Brienne/Oathkeeper, Jaime/Widow’s Wail, Jorah (Heartsbane) and Jon (Longclaw) didn’t use their swords to kill any WWs.)

    In any case, Arya’s charge was not part of the bait plan. Melisandre, with a big assist from Beric (RIP) and Sandor (and lousy defensive play by the WW front seven) get the credit for the success of the Hail Mary play with 0:00 on the clock.

    • I still don’t understand why Bran himself just sat there and spaced out, without ever trying to use his powers to help defend WF: At one point he warged a flock of birdies for some reason. I am still not sure why. He announced to Theon “I’m going to go now,” rolled back his eyes, and zoned out.

    I was thinking back to when Wildling Orell warged that bird to dive bomb Jon Snow and tear at his face. I’m also aware in real world illegal cock fights [no, this is not a Tyrion/Bronn “c*ck” joke] the roosters have sharpened metal talons attached to their feet.
    I thought it have been cool if Sam or someone at the WF aviary attached razor sharp dragonglass talons to ravens’ claws so Bran could send them tearing into wights and WWs. At least it would have given Bran and Sam something worthwhile to do.
  365. Fire blood87,

    ”With Brother Ray in season 6 saying it’s never too late to change you can see The Hound is thinking about it but then what happens the one guy who he might start viewing as a friend is brutally killed. So he then reverts back to all that hate again. It’s an endless cycle of violence that once your in it it’s almost impossible to escape…”

    I’m not saying you’re wrong, and I liked the paragraph from the critic you quoted (about cycles of violence).

    However, I did think Sandor tried to change and did change, insofar as he accepted that violence was part of his world and trying to avoid it (e.g., by joining a pacifist commune) was impossible, but he could fight evil instead of perpetrating evil.

    Here’s one of the scenes I was referring to:

    S6e8, BwoB recruits Sandor

    at 3:08
    Sandor: “I tried joining. It didn’t work out for me.”

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qMieq1tcBLg

    at 4:29
    Beric: “You can still help a lot more than you’ve harmed, Clegane. It’s not too late for you.”

    Then, of course, there was that scene on the WF battlements in S8e2 when Arya can’t (yet) understand why Sandor joined the Brotherhood, went with Jon beyond the Wall, and was now in WF on the eve of the battle – since the “old” Sandor didn’t fight for anyone but himself.

    Turning the other cheek just wasn’t an option. Similar to the critic you quoted, Brother Ray said
    violence is a disease, and you don’t cure a disease by spreading it. As Sandor replied, you don’t cure it by dying either.

  366. Mr Derp,

    Continued from 6/21/21 at 2:45 pm
    (My reply to your 12:13 Comment, in which I wrote):

    TB: “What I found more interesting was your comment about Sansa’s inexplicable, immediate hostility to Dany:

    (Mr. D) ”I assume this was D&D ATTEMPTING to show how Sansa was just so doggone smart that she saw everything playing out in her mind before anyone else did, but I can’t say for sure.”

    TB Reply: “Oh Mr. D! You may have solved the Shrodinger’s Sansa Dichotomy and identified a critical “Conversation That Must Have Happened” offscreen!”

    “to be continued…”
    ➖➖➖➖➖
    Continuation from 6/21 at 2:45 pm:

    As I imagine it, the conversation between Omniscient Bran and So Doggone Smart & Cunning Sansa that must’ve happened offscreen* went something like this:

    Bran: “From my visions I can see that if I sit back and let things play out, when the dust settles I’ll be king. I’m just not sure how that can happen.”

    Sansa: “But we’ve agreed that I’ll be Queen in the North, and you’ll be King of the remaining six kingdoms.”

    Bran: “Right. Except I already told Jon he’s the heir to the Iron Throne.”

    Sansa: “Don’t you worry about Jon. I’ll take care of everything. He’ll be gone.”

    Bran: “What do you mean, ‘gone’? Exiled? Or executed?”

    Sansa: “Who cares?”

    ………………
    * For context – the June 21, 2016 article linked by Adrianacandle was titled:

    Game of Thrones has a Sansa problem
    Is Sansa Stark dim and virtuous or evil and cunning? She can’t be all those things.
    June 21 2016
    by Lili Loofbourow in The Week.com

    Ms. Loofbourow posited: ”It’s as if we’ve been saddled with Schrodinger’s Sansa: she’s either Dim and Virtuous or Evil and Cunning. Right now — to everyone’s confusion — she’s both.”

    In her case for “Evil and Cunning Sansa,” to explain Sansa’s actions at the Battle of the Bastards, Ms. Loofbourow reasoned:

    “…Her arrival on the battlefield is not, in the Cunning Sansa timeline, a Proud Feminist moment. It indicates, rather, that Sansa is willing to sacrifice most of an army and both her surviving brothers in order to achieve her aims. Jon could have died 100 times before Littlefinger arrived, and Sansa would have been crazy to expect any other outcome. No, if this was a plan, then for Sansa, the death of two of her brothers was the price she was willing to pay. If this is what’s happening, then this isn’t even the beginning of Sansa’s descent into villainy; she’s been headed this way for some time and we missed it.

    In another article, Ms. Loofbourow wrote about crucial Conversations that Must Have Happened (but were never shown or explained).

  367. Adrianacandle,

    Getting back on topic (HotD) – sort of – here’s a tidbit about Olivia Cooke:

    Excerpts from
    Review of “Ready Player One” by
    Lili Loofbourow,
    March 28, 2018

    Summarizing the plot of “Ready Player One,” Ms. Loofbourow described the hero and his obsessive quest to solve a riddle posed by the inventor of a virtual reality world:

    “In this, he is eventually joined by…his rival and love interest Art3mis (Olivia Cooke, who will win every Oscar someday — really, have you seen Thoroughbreds?).”

    I have not seen “Thoroughbreds.” I just found it interesting that three years ago this critic was describing the actor who will soon be playing Alicent in such glowing terms.

  368. Ten Bears,

    But your basing everything on that what a person says before that means they must follow through with that.
    Ten Bears,

    But the show and the show runners have never once claimed it was a proud feminist move they were trying to project. The writer is projecting what she wanted it to be without stepping back and trying to understand the character isn’t her. It’s not about heading into villainy. Sansa is paranoid and wasn’t sure if she could trust the army would show up and if Jon would even be ok with it. She’s broken that’s why she was weary of Dany in season 8. Could she have been nicer to Dany absolutely but I understand what she’s doing. The writer is implying we missed her decent into madness? What madness? Did she also forget the scene where Sansa begs Jon to hold off on the battle. The writer is trying to have it both ways. The writer wants Trauma but doesn’t want the confusion that comes with it. All the trauma Sansa has been through made her skeptical and paranoid and I don’t blame her. It’s a terrible way to live life but I can understand it with what she’s been through.

  369. Fire blood87,

    Hey, I’m sorry. I should have posted the entire article instead of just an excerpt. Adrianacandle first linked the article in a Comment about two days ago. I’ll find the link and re-post it tomorrow.
    The author was providing varying interpretations of what we saw on screen. I only excerpted one of them.
    (Whether you agree with the writer or not, I thought the article was good reading.)

  370. Fire blood87,

    ”But your basing everything on that what a person says before that means they must follow through with that.”

    I am not sure what you mean. I thought we were talking about if and how Sandor had changed. What did a person “say” that he or she did or did not follow through with?

  371. Ten Bears,

    I wouldn’t have said no to more Jon and Arya screen time and I also wanted them to fight side by side at Winterfell. However, I don’t take points off the show for not giving me what I want, especially since what they did end up giving us was still fantastic.

    I liked Jon’s and Arya’s reunion fine enough. It wasn’t as emotional as Jon’s and Sansa’s, but it was never going to be. The first Stark reunion was always going to be the best, so I tempered my expectations.

    I agree that the Hound’s and Arya’s relationship was very well done, but the Hound dying for revenge was the point. At that point, he was consumed by revenge and was willing to die to achieve it, and he didn’t want Arya to suffer the same fate.

  372. Young Dragon: I agree that the Hound’s and Arya’s relationship was very well done, but the Hound dying for revenge was the point. At that point, he was consumed by revenge and was willing to die to achieve it, and he didn’t want Arya to suffer the same fate.

    It’s the “do what I say, not as I do” approach, which was really the only issue I had with the Hound’s ending. I thought he went out with a blaze of glory, which was great, but part of me did think that it was a bit disingenuous to say one thing to Arya while doing the exact opposite himself.

    I suppose it was already too late for the Hound. He was consumed by revenge by the end. Although, Sandor seemed to let it all go for a time while he was with Brother Ray.

  373. Ten Bears,

    That’s another thing about Bran. Why didn’t Bran use his powers to help out a little more?

    He could’ve told Tyrion what Daenerys would do. Or spy on Cersei with one of his ravens and figure out her strategy. Or warg into a dragon and kill Daenerys. Or do something useful other than be bait.

    Since the throne basically went to the person with the “best story” it would’ve been helpful to makes Bran the Blank’s story a little more interesting.

  374. Ten Bears,

    Are you kidding? If Bran didn’t use himself as bait, Westeros didn’t stand a chance. Because of Bran, the Night King was out in the open for Arya to knife him. The dragon fire plan wasn’t his. It was Jon’s, I think, and Theon volunteered to defend Bran.

    Libraries and books can burn, but as long as Bran remained alive, the world’s memory would still exist. The Night King targeting Bran is consistent with his previous behavior. We saw him personally going after the previous Three Eyed Raven.

  375. Ten Bears: Getting back on topic (HotD) – sort of – here’s a tidbit about Olivia Cooke:

    Excerpts from
    Review of “Ready Player One” by
    Lili Loofbourow,
    March 28, 2018

    Summarizing the plot of “Ready Player One,” Ms. Loofbourow described the hero and his obsessive quest to solve a riddle posed by the inventor of a virtual reality world:

    “In this, he is eventually joined by…his rival and love interest Art3mis (Olivia Cooke, who will win every Oscar someday — really, have you seen Thoroughbreds?).”

    I have not seen “Thoroughbreds.” I just found it interesting that three years ago this critic was describing the actor who will soon be playing Alicent in such glowing terms.

    Thanks for this! I think this bodes well for HotD! 😀 Alicent would be quite a complex character and I’d love to see Cooke give her nuance and layers! I think Lena Headey did that for Cersei. Michelle Fairley warmed me up to Catelyn 🙂 Olivia Cooke can do great things for Alicent, I think.

  376. Mr Derp,

    I remember a interview with Isaac Hempstead Wright where he said Bran doesn’t exactly see the future but has inklings:

    Isaac Hempstead Wright: As I understand it, Bran can’t exactly see the future. I think he can have inklings. When Bran gives Arya the catspaw dagger, he knows there’s something important to do with it, but he doesn’t know that say, six months on, she’s going to use it to stab the Night King. So I think it’s still indeterminate, and not classical causal mechanics, where he just views things as actions that follow from one another. There’s still some uncertainty.

    But of course….

    Isaac Hempstead Wright: This is all conjecture on my part. I’ve never actually gone through a very detailed analysis of what exactly Bran’s powers are with [the showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss]. To be honest, I don’t think they really want to do that. It would become like a superhero movie, if we knew every way that Bran’s powers worked and what exactly he can do. It’s best to keep that sense of mystery and an unknown to it.

    There’s always the Evil Bran Mastermind theory where he wanted contenders for the throne to perform actions that would lead to their elimination so he’d get chosen king in their place but I truly don’t think that was the intended idea… 🙂 Admittedly, I have no idea how King Bran is supposed to work, even in the books but I’m doubtful he’ll get the throne after winning Best Story.

  377. Adrianacandle,

    It obviously was not the intended idea. I certainly agree with you there. I refer back to one of the articles I read yesterday:

    “A generous interpretation would be that Bran is narrating destiny more than confessing that he wants the crown, but … haven’t we just been taught that rulers who believe they’re destined to rule become monstrous?”

    It just feels a bit contradictory to me.

    And yes, it’s not really clear what exactly Bran’s powers are. As far as I know, he can see visions of the future, he can literally travel into the past, and can see the present.

  378. Adrianacandle,

    Now, when it comes to the future, that’s where Bran’s powers are particularly unclear.

    I don’t entirely blame D&D for not going into specifics there. It would get complicated quickly. There’s already so many movies with different interpretations on traveling to the future:

    “Terminator”, where it’s a one-way portal and no going back

    “Back to the Future” rules where you can easily go back and forth as long as you don’t change anything

    Or “Timerider” rules, which are just plain silly.

    etc…

  379. Mr Derp,

    Yeah, anything exploring the mechanisms of time and working with that in any way but the natural linear-forward progression gets messy quickly. I know time travel is believed to be possible by some scientists but not within the same timeline, where you can only go forward in real-time. But it’s believed you can jump to any point on another timeline but once you’re at that point, you can only go forward from there. Also, it’s believed that traveling in space beyond the speed of light where you age much slower than everyone else on earth is a possible form of forward time travel as well. Works better than applying tretinoin every night 🙂

  380. Mr Derp,

    I was fine with it. The Hound had taken on the role of surrogate father, and it’s natural for parents to want their children to avoid making the same mistakes they did. The Hound was consumed by revenge. It was too late for him, but it wasn’t too late for Arya.

  381. Adrianacandle:
    Mr Derp,

    Yeah, anything exploring the mechanisms of time and working with that in any way but the natural linear-forward progression gets messy quickly. I know time travel is believed to be possible by some scientists but not within the same timeline, where you can only go forward in real-time. But it’s believed you can jump to any point on another timeline but once you’re at that point, you can only go forward from there. Also, it’s believed that traveling in space beyond the speed of light where you age much slower than everyone else on earth is a possible form of forward time travel as well. Works better than applying tretinoin every night

    The time-traveling approach I’ve always loved is the “whatever happened happened” approach. The time-traveling when you can’t change any event in the past, present or future because this time traveling has always been part of the universe. For example, the character travels into the past, tries to change something but eventually realizes it was exactly their time-traveling that shaped the “present time story” (now being this character’s “past”) the way it always happened to them. Nothing gets erased, nothing gets changed… it happens exactly the way it always did.

  382. Young Dragon,

    Yea, I get that’s what was being conveyed. It generally worked ok for me too.

    The only issue I had was that sometimes it felt like it was too late for Sandor while other times it didn’t.

    For example, Sandor seemed consumed by revenge all the way through the point Brienne “killed” him. However, he seemed to have found some peace with the hippie commune. His unwavering need for revenge appeared to kick back in after Ray was killed.

    I assume the need for revenge was there all along, but it did seem to peter out a bit to me in season 6. I wonder if Sandor would’ve felt the need for revenge had Ray not died. That seemed to be the catalyst for Sandor to seek revenge again.

  383. Mr Derp,

    Exactly he ever referred to him as his friend after he died. I think that sent him spiraling back into anger and hate.

  384. Ten Bears: Hey! Guess who turned 68 yesterday?

    Billy Ray Cyrus’s mullet?

    In all seriousness, yea, I do.

    You know, Cyndi Lauper was a pretty cool lady back in her day. She was involved with the WWF (now WWE). I think she used to be a manager for one of the female wrestlers during the ’80’s.

    I just can’t stand her music.

  385. Erik, formerly Lord Parramandas,

    ”The time-traveling approach I’ve always loved is the “whatever happened happened” approach…”

    Me too! (I suppose we can call it the 3ER “ink has already dried” approach). Traveling into the past to tweak something and thereby change the future can be interesting, but always felt like…cheating. Time travel movies that deal with what’s already happened and will always happen are more… [what’s the right word? “realistic”? “consequential”? “challenging”?]. Otherwise, you can conceivably go back and undo anything, and there are no stakes or consequences to any action.
    As you indicated, the two approaches are the difference between one immutable timeline and various alternative timelines.
    I still like the “Back to the Future” movies even though the premise was you can travel into the past to change the future…

    • If you haven’t seen it yet, a movie that I liked that employed the “whatever happened, happened” approach you like is

    ”Twelve Monkeys” (1995), directed by Terry Gilliam and starring Bruce Willis, Madeline Stowe, Brad Pitt, and Christopher Plummer). As I recall, the premise is that a sudden worldwide plague of unknown origin wiped out 99% of the population and left the earth’s surface uninhabitable for humans, sending the survivors underground. Records from the time of the plague’s onset that might reveal its origin are fragmentary. Forty years or so later, scientists develop the rudimentary technology* to send “volunteers” (e.g., prisoners with the promise of a pardon) back in time, not to try to stop the plague, but to find out its source (where and how the plague virus originated, in its unmutated state) so they formulate a vaccine to enable humans to emerge from their dystopian subterranean “crypts” and reclaim the above-ground world. It’s a given that they cannot undo the pandemic. *(There’s a bit of black humor when shivering, “seasick” volunteers materialize in the wrong time and place, or when the scientists misconstrue fragmentary clues.) The time travelers, e.g., Bruce Willis’s character, are just sent to the past, in the days before the pandemic exploded, to investigate based on old photographs and scratchy voice messages that seem to indicate that a band of animal rights radicals, “The Army of the Twelve Monkeys,” were about to unleash the virus.

    . Good time travel movies establish “rules” and stick to them. This one did. For a loose GoT/ASOIAF connection,

    e.g., the Targ princess who foresaw The Doom but nobody except her family heeded her warning, a scene in “Twelve Monkeys” explicitly recounted the ancient Greek (?) story of Cassandra, who was blessed with the ability to see the future but cursed because nobody believed her.

    Another movie I liked that didn’t involve actual time travel but was more like Bran’s avatar listening in as an observer of past events, rather than actually visiting and interfering in past events, was

    ”Frequency” (2000). The premise, as I recall, was that because of sun spots activity or the aurora borealis, a young man (Jim Cavaziel) tinkering with his deceased father’s old ham radio hears transmissions from from thirty years ago, and is able to converse with the person in the past. Although the movie tweaks the “can’t change the future” proposition a little bit, I enjoyed it because it was more about the father-son relationship than the temporary past-present radio waves bridge. It had some “high thread count moments, e.g. (Spoiler Alerts⚠️) when the young man in the present realizes the voice on the other end is his long-dead fireman dad (Dennis Quaid) a day or so before he died in battling a warehouse fire in 1969 – when the young man was a little boy; and the movie shows how the young man was affected into adulthood by growing up without a father. (I don’t want to give away any more…) So, while neither the son nor the father actually time travel, the communications link between past and present sets the plot lines in motion, and creates some emotionally evocative moments.

    Sorry this was so long. 😔 I had one more recommendation. Maybe later…

  386. Ten Bears: (I suppose we can call it the 3ER “ink has already dried” approach).

    Hodor might tend to disagree with the 3Eyed Raven’s assessment that the ink is already dry. Didn’t Bran change things when he went into the past?

  387. Mr Derp,

    ”You know, Cyndi Lauper was a pretty cool lady back in her day. She was involved with the WWF (now WWE). I think she used to be a manager for one of the female wrestlers during the ’80.

    I just can’t stand her music.”

    I used to feel the same way. Sort of. Until I found myself going down musical rabbit holes with the proliferation of music videos and live performances on YouTube over the past couple of years, coupled with the unforeseen spare time during the pandemic lockdowns. I wound up listening to songs I barely remembered, some I’d never heard, and some I’d only heard on a crappy car stereo.

    Of course I remembered Cyndi Lauper’s bouncy song, “Girls Just Want to Have Fun.” I recognized her distinctive voice in a few seconds of “We Are the World.” I vaguely recalled a snippet from another bouncy song (that she “can’t stop messing with the danger zone.”) Combined with her wild orange and yellow hairdos, punk makeup, and mix-and-match wardrobe, I kind of dismissed her as a flash- in-the-pan novelty act from the 1980’s.

    I was so wrong.* She’s an amazingly talented singer. The thick New Yawkaccent, professional wrestling shtick, and zany outfits and makeup all distract from her music. I had thought she disappeared after her mid- 1980’s heyday. I was wrong about that too. Plus, she’s one of a handful of performers who sound just as good if not better live than on their studio recordings.

    It’s understandable that your initial impression was that you “can’t stand her music.” Indulge me, won’t you? Allow me to try to change your mind:

    I have teed up a Musical Interlude for Young Dragon, intended as lighthearted penance for an inordinately scathing comment about Musical Interludes for which he later apologized. It consists of two clips: Cyndi Lauper’s appearances on The Tonight Show, in March and September 1984. Each time, she starts off with an upbeat “fun” song followed by a long humorous and witty chat with Johnny Carson (including some wrestling stories) that feed into the goofy, ditzy image – before finishing with a surprisingly lovely ballad that showcases her singing abilities.

    * “A man can only admit when he was wrong, and ask forgiveness.”
    – Lord Glover, GoT S6e10
    ”That f*cking weather vane. Chickened out again.”
    – Thoughts of Sansa Stark about Lord Glover, S8e2.

  388. Mr Derp: Hodor might tend to disagree with the 3Eyed Raven’s assessment that the ink is already dry. Didn’t Bran change things when he went into the past?

    I thought Bran was always destined to fry young Hodor’s brain.

    That may have been why 3ER took Bran back to past WF, and why 3ER told him: “Listen to your friend,” i.e., Meera’s voice. Past Wyllis’s brain had to be scrambled so present Hodor would carry Bran to the 3ER cave and sacrifice himself to “Hold the door!”

    P.S. In light of Bran’s negligible contribution to the defeat of the AotD, I still wonder why it was so important for Hodor, Leaf, Summer, et al. to sacrifice their lives (and poor Meera had to pull ingrate Bran’s sorry a*s for miles) to ensure Bran could escape.
    P.P.S. The Lord of Light provided real time visual intel on the AotD’s movements to the Lord’s Chosen – I mean Sandor Clegane – so who needed Bran and his surveillance birdies?

  389. Ten Bears:
    Mr Derp,

    ”You know, Cyndi Lauper was a pretty cool lady back in her day. She was involved with the WWF (now WWE). I think she used to be a manager for one of the female wrestlers during the ’80.


    I just can’t stand her music.”

    I used to feel the same way. Sort of. Until I found myself going down musical rabbit holes with the proliferation of music videos and live performances on YouTube over the past couple of years, coupled with the unforeseen spare time during the pandemic lockdowns. I wound up listening to songs I barely remembered, some I’d never heard, and some I’d only heard on a crappy car stereo.

    Of course I remembered Cyndi Lauper’s bouncy song, “Girls Just Want to Have Fun.” I recognizedher distinctive voice in a few seconds of “We Are the World.” I vaguely recalled a snippet from another bouncy song (that she “can’t stop messing with the danger zone.”) Combined with her wild orange and yellow hairdos, punk makeup, and mix-and-match wardrobe, I kind of dismissed her as a flash- in-the-pan novelty act from the 1980’s.

    I was so wrong.* She’s an amazingly talented singer. The thick New Yawkaccent, professional wrestling shtick, and zany outfits and makeup all distract from her music. I had thought she disappeared after her mid- 1980’s heyday. I was wrong about that too. Plus, she’s one of a handful of performers who sound just as good if not better live than on their studio recordings.

    It’s understandable that your initial impression was that you “can’t stand her music.” Indulge me, won’t you? Allow me to try to change your mind:

    * “A man can only admit when he was wrong, and ask forgiveness.” – Lord Glover, GoT S6e10 ”That f*cking weather vane. Chickened out again.” – Thoughts of Sansa Stark about Lord Glover, S8e2.

    I’ve heard her stuff. I’m just not into pop music.

  390. Ten Bears: I thought Bran was always destined to fry young Hodor’s brain.

    That may have been why 3ER took Bran back to past WF, and why 3ER told him: “Listen to your friend,” i.e., Meera’s voice. Past Wyllis’s brain had to be scrambled so present Hodor would carry Bran to the 3ER cave and sacrifice himself to “Hold the door!”

    P.S. In light of Bran’s negligible contribution to the defeat of the AotD, I still wonder why it was so important for Hodor, Leaf, Summer, et al. to sacrifice their lives (and poor Meera had to pull ingrate Bran’s sorry a*s for miles) to ensure Bran could escape.P.P.S. The Lord of Light provided real time visualintel on the AotD’s movements to the Lord’s Chosen – I mean Sandor Clegane – so who needed Bran and his surveillance birdies?

    It’s all pretty confusing to me. It’s like a cyclical loop. Hodor wouldn’t have been affected by any of this had Bran not traveled in the past, no? Or would he? I feel like the only way to to turn Wylis into Hodor was by Bran traveling into the past?

  391. Ten Bears,

    Yes, I love “whatever happened happened” approach because it makes me feel everything that happens in life “matters” in some way. For better or for the worse. And that there’s no undoing of any past actions… everything somebody did, it’s part of their life and will stay with them forever. That’s why I love this approach. Entire 5th season of LOST focused on time-traveling and it followed the “whatever happened happened” principle (I actually got the name from one of its episodes) and my favorite episode from LOST actually deals with main character trying to “wipe out” their story but of course the whole plan massively backfires because they couldn’t change anything and with their attempt to prevent it, they actually caused what was always meant to happen. I think GoT dealt with this sort of time-traveling principle too considering it was Bran himself who caused Hodor losing his mind although in Bran’s case, he didn’t really physically travel back into the past. But the principle was similar.

    I haven’t watched that movie yet but I may in near future. I usually enjoy anything that involves this time-traveling principle. Thank you for your suggestion!

  392. Mr Derp: It’s all pretty confusing to me.It’s like a cyclical loop.Hodor wouldn’t have been affected by any of this had Bran not traveled in the past, no?Or would he?I feel like the only way to to turn Wylis into Hodor was by Bran traveling into the past?

    Yes, Hodor lost his mind because Bran traveled back to the past. I believe it always happened this way. If Bran didn’t travel into the past, it would have never happened but the point is that Bran did travel into the past and it did happen and Three-Eyed Raven knew that it was going to happen, that’s why he took Bran to this point of the past. It’s like some sort of self-fulfilling loop. I

  393. Erik, formerly Lord Parramandas,

    That’s exactly what I mean. This seems like a case of traveling to the past to change the future…or present…I don’t know. It doesn’t seem to follow the “whatever happened happened” style of time travel. Bran’s actions specifically changed the course of history. At least, that’s how I interpreted it.

    I would go to the “inside the episode” to get some better insight, but those tend to create more confusion rather than clear it up.

  394. Mr Derp:
    Erik, formerly Lord Parramandas,

    That’s exactly what I mean.This seems like a case of traveling to the past to change the future…or present…I don’t know.It doesn’t seem to follow the “whatever happened happened” style of time travel.Bran’s actions specifically changed the course of history.At least, that’s how I interpreted it.

    I would go to the “inside the episode” to get some better insight, but those tend to create more confusion rather than clear it up.

    I don’t think Bran’s time-traveling “changed” the past. I think it was always part of this “universal timeline” (timeline that starts at point zero in the past and moves in linear manner into the future). Looking at it chronologically, Hodor/Wyllis lost his mind in youth because of Bran’s time-traveling to that point from the future. He grew up as Hodor and eventually died in Three Eyed Raven’s cage. That’s how the events happened to him in his life. In universal timeline, Hodor losing his mind happens chronologically earlier than Bran traveling back to the past. Same from Hodor’s character perspective because he never time-traveled himself. But from Bran’s perspective, causing Hodor to lose his mind happens “later” in his (Bran’s) life because he jumped back into the past from the future and caused it (or present, however you want to name it). In Bran’s life, these events happened later but in this universal chronological order, Hodor losing his mind happens multiple years before Bran was born and it happened because Bran would at one point in his life time-travel to that point and cause it. That’s how I see the “whatever happened happened” time-traveling. Any time traveling that happens, it was always part of the timeline.

  395. Mr Derp:
    loco73,

    Miley Cyrus again?

    Yuck

    No! My goodness, how silly of me…I once again inadvertently insulted your musical tastes! Oh yeah, I forgot…I don’t care…

  396. loco73,

    Usually the point of posting random off-topic songs on a GoT message board is for other posters to actually enjoy.

    Otherwise, not only is your post off topic, but it’s completely pointless.

    I don’t like TB’s musical interludes either, but we still manage to have a laugh about it. If you don’t want the criticism then don’t put it out there for others to consume.

  397. Mr Derp:
    loco73,

    …. I don’t like TB’s musical interludes either, but we still manage to have a laugh about it. If you don’t want the criticism then don’t put it out there for others to consume.

    • I do try to give an alert ( ⚠️) and use spoiler coding so anyone who’s not interested can skip them.
    • Also, I do make an effort to connect the lyrics or title to a character or event on GoT.

    How about a dedication from crawling Captured Wight to the Night King?🧟‍♂️With a tenuous tie-in to Jojen Reed and Arya Stark?

    • Yeah, we do manage to have a laugh about them. 😜
    • In all seriousness, if there are bands and songs you really like, I’d be interested in recommendations. I try to keep an open mind. I listen to whatever loco73 posts for that reason.
    • As for Miley Cyrus…

    I think she’s a dynamic performer and I like her humanist world view and risqué outfits. As for her songs (mostly covers of others’ songs) …none qualify for my personal perpetual mixtape.
  398. Here is more insulting music so that Mr. Derp De Derp can spew his mindless drivel… sorry”criticism”, because “reasons”… yuck and all that…

  399. Erik, formerly Lord Parramandas,

    Yes! I think that explains it. (I did not realize until you laid it all out that “Hodor losing his mind happens multiple years before Bran was born.”) Strange though that Hodor’s backstory was unknown to Bran – i.e., that Hodor used to be able to talk – until he “visited” past WF in S6.
    Perhaps nobody wanted to bring up that young Wyllis had suffered an unexplained seizure that left him brain damaged?
    P.S. I’ve said before and I’ll say again: “The Door” was a f*cking great episode. Plus, for once, a big reveal caught book readers by surprise just like the rest of us. 😩 (I don’t count the Shireen BBQ.)

  400. loco73,

    You sure are acting awfully petulant and passive aggressive for someone who claims to not care about my opinion.

    At least you finally posted a good song! (Queen)

  401. Mr Derp,

    ”I’ve heard her stuff. I’m just not into pop music.”
    • Have you heard “Memphis Blues”?
    • What do you like?

  402. Mr Derp:
    loco73,

    You sure are acting awfully petulant and passive aggressive for someone who claims to not care about my opinion.

    At least you finally posted a good song! (Queen)

    Sorry where you saying something?! All I heard was blah, blah…oh yeah and I still don’t care…

  403. Ten Bears:
    Mr Derp,

    ”I’ve heard her stuff. I’m just not into pop music.”• Have you heard “Memphis Blues”?• What do you like?

    As far as my personal musical tastes or do you mean Cyndi’s catalog?

    I recall the song in Goonies was kinda funky that she did. I don’t claim to have heard ALL of her songs, but I’ve heard a lot of it. It’s just too much “bubble gum pop” for my tastes. I do have a lot of respect and admiration for her as a human being though.

    My personal tastes are a little heavier, but I do enjoy all kinds of music other than pop. Hell, I’m sure there’s a few guilty pleasure pop songs that I’d never want to admit to liking, but it’s just not my thing in general.

    I used to hate Country Music until I saw Ken Burns’ documentary on Country Music. I still don’t like most of it, but I’ve grown to appreciate some such as Waylon Jennings, always liked Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, etc…

    If I had to pick a favorite band it would be Tool. They have a unique style. It’s mostly heavy, but with a lot of melody. I play bass, so I tend to gravitate towards bands with really good bass players. Justin Chancellor from Tool is incredible.

    I enjoyed the Queen and Pearl Jam selections above, too.

  404. Erik, formerly Lord Parramandas,

    ”I haven’t watched that movie yet but I may in near future. I usually enjoy anything that involves this time-traveling principle. Thank you for your suggestion!”

    • I assume you were referring to

    ”Twelve Monkeys”? It was trippy – as one might expect from ex-Monty Python Terry Gilliam. I think Brad Pitt got a Supporting Actor Oscar nomination for playing against type. Semi-Spoiler: ⚠️ An interesting twist, without disrupting the “whatever happened, happened” principle, is that Bruce Willis’s character was a little boy (about 6?) when the cataclysmic pandemic hit, so he retains some hazy memories of pre-pandemic events and above-ground life. Another twist, which I alluded to above, is that the first time he’s sent back in time he winds up in the right place but three or four years earlier than the target date, and another time he winds up naked and shivering in Europe, in the middle of a fierce WWI gun battle. Like I said, some very dark humor🤓.

    I won’t reveal anymore.

    • 🚨 Tinfoil Alert: I believe that “future time travel” will someday be possible, not by traveling close to the speed of light or through wormholes, but

    by mimicking the biological processes that enable some organisms to hibernate, go into states of suspended animation, or lower their body temperatures to drastically slow down heart rate, metabolic rate, and breathing. (There are documented instances of people falling in frozen lakes who appear clinically dead but are revived, and I believe trauma physicians will actually lower patients’ body temperatures with ice baths to minimize brain or heart damage, or for some other reason that prevents fatalities.) Anyway…

    Lots of sci-fi space movies (e.g., “Aliens” and “2001: A Space Odyssey,” I think) have used the suspended animation/deep sleep trope to enable their fictional crews to travel to faraway planets without aging during the fifty or more years it’d take to get to their destination and back again. For the crew members it’s equivalent to time travel into the future.
    Along those lines, if you’re interested, there was a Star Trek: The Next Generation episode, the S1 finale, that had an entertaining take on cryonic (by freezing) preservation.

    (to be continued)

  405. Mr Derp,

    Thanks! Off the top of your head, can you name the top 5 Tool songs (studio or live) you suggest I should listen to?

  406. Ten Bears: Lots of sci-fi space movies (e.g., “Aliens” and “2001: A Space Odyssey,” I think) have used the suspended animation/deep sleep trope to enable their fictional crews to travel to faraway planets without aging during the fifty or more years it’d take to get to their destination and back again.

    Event Horizon is another example. Underrated movie, IMO.

  407. Ten Bears:
    Mr Derp,

    Thanks! Off the top of your head, can you name the top 5 Tool songs (studio or live) you suggest I should listen to?

    That’s tough. Here’s 6 and I could barely narrow it down to 6:
    46 & 2
    Eulogy
    Aenema
    Pushit (Live Version)
    Lateralus
    Pneuma

    If you want something on the softer side:
    Wings for Marie/10,000 Days

    If you want something on the heavier side:
    Hooker with a Penis

    They’ve also done a cover of Led Zeppelin’s “No Quarter”, which is amazing.

  408. Erik, formerly Lord Parramandas,

    (Continued from earlier…)
    FYI re: Time Travel/Cryonics
    Star Trek: The Next Generation, S1e26 “The Neutral Zone” (Season 1 finale)
    aired 5/16/1988
    (Three cryonically preserved people from the 20th century wake up 370 years in the future)

    Premise:
    The Starship Enterprise discovers a disabled 20th century earth satellite containing three people placed in cryonic stasis immediately upon their deaths centuries earlier: a wealthy Wall Street fatcat who died of advanced cardiomyopathy; a young mother who died suddenly of an embolism (and had no idea her husband would have her frozen); and a party animal musician (played by character actor Leon Rippy) who died from “massive chemical abuse,” i.e., he went out the way King Robert wanted: drinking, drugging and whoring himself into an early grave.

    The three cryonically preserved bodies are brought aboard, their diseased organs are repaired, they’re revived, and they woke up in the year 2,364 – for them, 370 years in the future.

    The episode was an entertaining character study of how each one reacts to traveling hundreds of years into the future.
    The rich fatcat/control freak is proud of himself for buying his way out of death but then is disoriented to find himself in a world where people no longer strive to accumulate material possessions and money. The young mother is distraught that her two sons and everyone else she loved died hundreds of years earlier.
    And the party animal musician takes it all in stride: “It’s the same dance. Just a different tune.”

    Following are three brief spoiler-free clips:
    • “Welcome to the 24th century”
    [1:57 long] (three survivors revived)
    https://www.youtube