Game of Thrones Memory Lane 304: And Now His Watch is Ended

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On April 21st 2013, Alex Graves made his Game of Thrones directorial debut, Kraznys was cooked, and a fuckin’ legend was born. Yes, “And Now His Watch is Ended” was a quintessential GoT  episode – fire, blood, death, exposition, innuendo, politicking, character development, more fire, more blood, and more death.

Written by David Benioff and Dan Weiss, “And Now His Watch is Ended” remains forever memorable thanks to its closing scene. It is quite a contemplative episode until the chaotic final third, laying down tracks ahead of certain plotlines, while providing crucial turning points for others.

More on that soon, but for now, a summary:

  • A recently-maimed Jaime struggles against Locke’s contingent in futility, as a shade of pity for her fellow captive blossoms in Brienne. She later inspires him to live.
  • Varys reveals his very own dick-in-a-box, before Ramsay would take the idea to literal extremes. Exposition is delivered on how the Spider became who he is, as Tyrion looks on in amazement.
  • Grenn and Edd dolorously discuss the merits of shit-shovelling, while Rast ominously looks on and spews more shit from his mouth. Gilly returns Sam’s thimble to him, as the yet-to-be-named baby Sam howls.
  • Bran dreams of pursuing the Three-Eyed Raven, as his neck-covered mother cryptically warns him of the pursuit and throws him from a tree.
  • Varys and Ros are confounded over Pod’s Penile Prowess and Littlefinger’s infatuation with Sansa.
  • Joffrey lectures Margaery on deceased Targaryen monarchs, before she makes her first major move in claiming him from Cersei.
  • Theon starkly admits his shame and guilt over his betrayal to his… saviour. His saviour becomes his captor.
  • Cersei overplays her hand to the Hand, who coldly dismisses her.
  • The non-existent bumps against the decrepit.
  • Margaery bonds with Sansa over porridge, and extends to her an invitation to Highgarden as Loras’ future bride.
  • Rast sows further discontent over roast Bannen, before the Legend of Gin Alley incites a mutiny by killing Craster. Rast murders the Lord Commander, while Sam and Gilly flee the chaos with the latter’s baby in tow.
  • Beric Dondarrion sentences The Hound to a trial-by-combat.
  • Daenerys lives up to her name and unleashes “Fire and Blood” upon Astapor. She leaves triumphant, leading an army of Unsullied.
  • *dragon screech, cut to credits*. Again.

40The episode opens on a shot of Jaime’s hand. In many ways the theme of the episode seems to be just that – characters revealing themselves and playing their true hands. Varys, Margaery, Ramsay, the mutineers, Daenerys – they all reveal another element of themselves, which serves to drive their respective plots in the back half of the season.

Many fans cite Alfie Allen as one of the strongest performers in an exceedingly strong cast, and this episode shows why. His regretful confession to Ramsay is heartbreaking, and made even more so when any hope of redemption is immediately snatched away by Bolton’s Bastard. Speaking of this sequence – to me, this was Ramsay at his most intimidating. Before sausage-waggling, before shirtless fighting prowess, before conscription of Twenty Good Men®, here was an unhinged sadist, who – with a wry grin and a glint in his eye – could terrify simply with the implied promise of horrors to come. He was effectively revealed by nature, if not yet by name.

The titular scene is a flurry of absolute chaos, and so it should be. The ill will of the Night’s Watch towards their host and the unrelenting Northern climate has been brewing for quite some time, and the straw that breaks the camel’s back is wielded by Burn Gorman’s Karl Tanner. Although he has since become a walking meme, at the time (much like Birgitte Hjort Sørensen’s Karsi in “Hardhome”), Karl was an incredibly memorable short-term character, who gave an effective new face to  a certain faction.

The final scene is a fan favourite, and for good reason. It adapts a key moment from A Storm of Swords in an interesting way, and in doing so subverts the audience’s expectations without being exploitative or condescending. It serves a narrative purpose while remaining both satisfying and entertaining. Although I’m not particularly a Daenerys fan, this scene is a personal favourite. Underscored by Ramin Djawadi’s new evolution of Dany’s theme, the decimation of the masters and subsequent triumphant march out of the city is a sight to behold. On that note, I might as well mention that it contains one of my favourite shots in the show thus far (thanks to cinematographer Anette Haellmigk for this) – Jorah regarding an elevated Dany standing in silhouetted profile after the slaughter. It’s a striking visual.

The scene also marks the first usage of High Valyrian in the show, as opposed to the more guttural and harsh Low Valyrian spoken by Kraznys. David Peterson’s body of work is largely underappreciated, but we at the Wall acknowledge his titan effort. The man is a genius.

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Memorable lines:

“My real father lost his head at King’s Landing. I made a choice, and I chose wrong.” – Theon Greyjoy

“What happens when the non-existent bumps against the decrepit? A question for the philosophers.” – Olenna Tyrell

“He would see this country burn if he could be the king of the ashes.” – Varys

“You are a bastard. A daughter-fucking, wildling bastard.” – Karl Tanner

“Zaldrīzes buzdari iksos daor… Dracarys.” – Daenerys Targaryen

Character introductions:

Beric Dondarrion – Although technically a reintroduction, this is the first time we see Richard Dormer as the Lightning Lord, and he certainly makes an impression.

Character deaths:

Jeor Mormont – While not necessarily underused, James Cosmo was a stalwart member of the cast and was great in every one of his few appearances. He is sorely missed.

Craster – Robert Pugh gave a deliciously hate-able performance as the irredeemable Craster. Despite not being particularly enamoured by the show, he earned his place as an important part of it.

Kraznys mo Nakloz – HBO alum Dan Hildebrand delivered his Low Valyrian lines with relish, giving a thoroughly memorable performance as the despicable master.

Beautiful Death for “And Now His Watch is Ended”:

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130 responses

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    1. Another item that this episode showed that I believe has not yet been addressed (or revealed)

      (1) Who was really behind the attempt on Tyrion’s life in Blackwater?

      which also brings to the other mystery
      Who was behind the second attempt on Bran’s life and that mystical Valyrian steel dagger?

      Not sure the show will address it nor the reveal will have any bearing at all in future storylines though

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    2. I personally don’t like that Dany scene. She orders them to kill all masters, and I remember thinking that rationalizing that all slave-owners are evil in a society where that’s outlawed is very easy, but that’s not the true to a society like that one. Dany is a manichaean. Her childlike vision of good x evil, justice x injustice will be thrown to her face by Hizdahr, a character she mocks and menaces every chance she has. And yet she is still a moron.

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    3. I really wish that Beautiful Death was about Jeor Mormont… there was some potential to an image of him assaulted by “black shadows” or “crows” in the snow, to symbolize the mutiny.

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    4. Stargaryen,

      Hizdahr came across very well on the show, I agree. It doesn’t help that she’s surrounded by a bunch of ‘yes men’ who enable and encourage her behavior. I personally don’t get what others see in Dany that makes them want to follow her. She’s good at conquering I guess, but she is a terrible ruler.

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    5. RIP Jeor. Like the comment above, I wish the poster had been dedicated to him. It’s a far more important death.

      Question: Is there such a thing as guest right in Essos/Astapor? There certainly was guest right involved in Qarth. There was a discussion I saw a long time ago as to whether Dany had broken guest right in Astapor.

      I miss all the funny conversations between Jon’s NW buddies.

      The type of interaction that Margaery and Joffery had was what I wanted to see with Sansa in season 5. Try harder, writers!

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    6. Flayed Potatoes,

      I agree. Hizdahr was very likable in the show. He came across as sincerely worried about the city and brave, even if defending an institution that is cruel. You’re right, Dany is surrounded by enablers, that’s why she commits the same mistake over and over.

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    7. I don’t think Dany’s Season 3/ASOS arc is quite as good as her Season 1/AGOT arc, just because I think the latter has more in the way of character development (and, in the show, this is kind of trending toward her getting stuck too much in Stern Khaleesi mode, which would become a bit of a trap in later seasons), but her Season 3 was nevertheless very good, and this episode is probably the highlight. Back in the Memory Lane for 110 I commented that Mirri Maaz Duur was the last really good antagonist in Dany’s story — but if Kraznys has no depth nor represents an interesting moral quandry, he at least was entertaining. I don’t think anybody can deny that the ending was exhilarating.

      Looking back, I think Sam is another character for whom his Season 3 story was his best to date. The prolonged march back to the Wall, the escalating tension at Craster’s, his reconnection with Gilly and their fleeing, all well-done. I also liked Mormont’s almost killing the mutineer before he dies.

      I’ve previously said that I think this should have been the last we saw of Theon before we saw him as Reek, but regardless, the reveal of who Ramsay is is quite effective, even for people who already knew he was evil.

      The Jaime and Brienne stuff, still good. Not much more to say than that.

      The Bran scene…is there.

      I really have to praise the gravitas of Richard Dormer, when you consider what he has to accomplish in his introductory scene. The show hadn’t done any of the buildup of the legend of Beric Dondarrion, so he really has to convey a lot in his first scene so that, when you get to the end where he reveals he’s going to fight the Hound, you genuinely feel like it will be a fight worth watching. And he totally sells it. The whole scene is great. Like I said, I think this is Arya’s best season. And the Hound finally starts to get some real characterization, which was terribly lacking in Seasons 1 and 2.

      The King’s Landing scenes are generally entertaining (and I do like that the scene with Sansa and Margaery does a good job of conveying how desperately Sansa wants a real family connection, something that would get lost in subsequent episodes under a barrage of demeaning jokes at her expense), with the Varys backstory well-executed. But I really don’t like how this plot has been reframed in the show. The writing here consistently gives the audience all the information about what’s going on, which completely inverts the book arc, the effect of which is to place the audience in the shoes of the people manipulating Sansa, rather than alongside Sansa wondering what’s going on. All of that diminishes identification with her situation and completely saps narrative tension in her scenes.

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    8. ace,

      I might be wrong, as it hasn’t been clearly revealed, but I think Cersei sent the killer to be sure Bran wouldn’t say anything. She is the type who can lie to an accomplice and do her way – I’m referring to not admitting this deed to Jaime.
      About Tyrion, as much as I have liked the killer mind to be Cersei, I think it was Joffrey to get revenge on the slapping and name-calling uncle (these were such sweet moments for the audience). Imo if it had been Cersei, she would have admitted to Tyrion in order to appear menacing.

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    9. Flayed Potatoes,

      She cares. She tries. She compromises when sees she can’t force peace in Meereen. She admits when she’s is wrong. She doesn’t just leave Slaver’s Bay after her actions create quite a mess there. She takes responsability and tries to fix it. She locks up the dragons when she sees she can’t control them.

      Dany is not a good ruler. I don’t know many 19(?) year old’s to be.(she’s even younger in the books. Like 16-17)
      I do not like her because she is a good ruler. witch at this point she clearly isn’t.

      I like her because she could be one of the best rulers there has ever been.
      She has all the qualities for it. She can compromise but she can also stand her ground on matters that are important to her. Like slavery.

      Dany not being a good ruler, is one of the biggest reasons why I love her character.

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    10. DRACARYS!

      Although I liked the scene, every time I watch it I can’t help but to look at the maesters in the background while Daenerys gives the “kill them all” speech. Surely they can understand what she’s saying? And even if they don’t, even after Drogon has cooked Hizdahr they just stand there chilling.

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    11. The ‘Dracarys’ sequence is extraordinarily good. It is the one in the book, except D&D trump GRRM by hiding that Dany’s mother tongue is High Valyrian. It’s a double wham to Kraznys when she uses it.
      The biggest thing is that Emilia seems a different actress, in her first set of sentences in Valyrian she not only punches the inflection but her body language is emphatic. The inflection of the Valyrian is sharp. She keeps it up in the exchange with Kraznys and then later when addressing the Unsullied on horse back.
      As many have noted she just flat breaks out of her usual self when speaking in Valyrian, it happens the rest of season 3, season 4 and season 5. As some have noted she maybe should speak Valyrian all the time!

      Note: In the first two episodes of season 2 she does the same when speaking Dothraki, not much dialog but it’s the best she delivers that season.

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    12. On-topic.

      Love the episode. Dany’s story is by far my favourite.

      As I said in other threads, Sansa’s story is really starting too grow on me, on rewatch.
      Much better then I remember.

      Mostly because all that ridiculous plot with Dontos from the books is cut.

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    13. Mihnea,

      In the show there isn’t a single moment when Dany thinks that maybe it wasn’t fair what she did to Hizdahr’s father, or with the masters in Astapor. An she did it again in season 5 by feeding one of the heads of the noble families to her dragons. She just chose a random guy to take the fall for it. That’s what a mad tyrant does.

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    14. Boojam,

      Agree. This moment is much, much better then in the books.
      Not because of the writing, alltaugh this does play a big part, but because of the differences in the mediums.

      In the books I knew from the first moment what she planned. But that moment in the show is absolutly perfect. One of the iconic scenes in the show.

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    15. Stargaryen,

      Little harsh calling her a moron. I really don’t think she is, and I doubt any other character in her shoes would have fared any better so far. And it’s not just “innocent” slave owners (if such a thing exists), a lot of these men she had killed are torturers and murderers. That’s how the unsullied are made in the first place.

      I mean, in the show, stealing will get either your hand chopped off or a life’s sentence at the wall. Shouldn’t torture and murder of children deserve far harsher punishment?

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    16. Stargaryen,

      Ah yes… The mad ”tyrant” who frees tens of thousands of people from a life of slavery and misery.
      I saw her doubting herself many times this past season. I saw her being clearly affected by what Hizdhar said about his father…etc.

      Let’s just agree to disagree. This is not the thread for it anyway.

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    17. This was the last standalone Daenerys moment that got me excited, I still re watch this scene once in a while. Her meeting Tyrion was great too, but still that was not only on her, I hope this new season brings some epic Dany moments to pick up her storyline.

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    18. The She Bear,

      Agree. Dany doubting about her actions concerning the slave-masters was a bad decision. I like that she tried to compromise but it was wrong nevertheless.

      I think what Dany needs is to be more decisive on this matter. Witch I think she will become after her time with the Dothraki.

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    19. Mihnea,

      In the show, she’s 20 at the end of Season 5.

      In the books she’s only about 15 by the end of ADWD. So she would’ve been 14ish during Astapor.

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    20. El-Bobbie:
      Stargaryen,

      Little harsh calling her a moron. I really don’t think she is, and I doubt any other character in her shoes would have fared any better so far. And it’s not just “innocent” slave owners (if such a thing exists), a lot of these men she had killed are torturers and murderers. That’s how the unsullied are made in the first place.

      I mean, in the show, stealing will get either your hand chopped off or a life’s sentence at the wall. Shouldn’t torture and murder of children deserve far harsher punishment?

      That’s exactly the problem. A lot of them had done terrible things. But she ordered them all to be killed. There’s a reason why every modern society outlawed collective punishments. I know that this is not a modern society, but just killing a whole class without a second to separate the guilty from the innocent and calling it justice is stupid.
      And this is an example of historian’s fallacy. We can think that every one that had slaves was a bad person because slavery has been outlawed in the west of our world for over a hundred years. In a society where that is the norm, there is a difference to be made between the guy who was selling the unsullied, Hizdahr’s father who voted against the murder of children and the guy who honored his slave as a teacher.

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    21. Mihnea,

      You don’t think a ruler who kills a random person for a crime is a mad tyrant? The guy wasn’t even a suspect, he was just standing there.

      The good we do doesn’t wash out the bad. Nor does that bad wash out the good.

      Dany is like a south american dictator from the 40s, giving people labor laws and torturing their enemies at the same time.

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    22. Boojam: The ‘Dracarys’ sequence is extraordinarily good. It is the one in the book, except D&D trump GRRM by hiding that Dany’s mother tongue is High Valyrian. It’s a double wham to Kraznys when she uses it.

      This was one of those cases where television has the ability to conceal an auditory secret (Dany’s knowledge of High Valyrian) where it couldn’t conceal an obvious visual ruse (Arstan Whitebeard = Barristan Selmy). The latter wouldn’t have worked, given everyone who watches would have said, “Hey, it’s that guy from Season 1!”, whereas this one works as a departure from GRRM.

      Varys is another character whose motivations we only really learn about and start to understand later in the story than when GRRM first did it, same with Roose Bolton (we don’t get the story of his rape of Ramsay’s mother until late in Season 5, and he’s a character for nearly four seasons before that), or Oberyn Martell (who has his amazing scene with Tyrion in Mockingbird, rather than in the premiere). So we didn’t get the Varys story until far after Blackwater, instead of before it. But that, too, is a great scene – important in explaining Varys’ motivations, and then the great reveal of his tormentor in a box, which is the part where you realize he’s playing the game on another level, and isn’t just this guy content to sit around and whisper at people. Conleth Hill is such a joy on this show.

      One underused aspect of James Cosmo is just how damned big the guy is. He makes that impression in Braveheart as the father of Brendan Gleeson’s character, as a tough old coot who gets injured multiple times (and beats the hell out of the guys trying to mend his wounds at one point), but just before he dies, you really see just how large the guy is – he grabs Luke Barnes and slams him against the pole and you can see he towers over him. Mormont in his heyday must have been a pretty impressive type.

      This is also another episode that continues the GOT trend of taking the deaths we really wish for and undercutting them in some way. Whereas some were undercut by the horrific ways in which the character perishes (Joffrey, Janos Slynt), the death of Craster, which comes as a relief because of his odiousness – is immediately undercut by the mutiny that takes out Mormont.

      This is a great, great episode. It’s easily in the top 10 for me, and the two-fer with “Kissed by Fire” rivals the best “two in a row” pairs, ranking at the top with “Baelor/Fire and Blood” and “Two Swords/Lion & The Rose”.

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    23. “(1) Who was really behind the attempt on Tyrion’s life in Blackwater?

      which also brings to the other mystery
      Who was behind the second attempt on Bran’s life and that mystical Valyrian steel dagger?”

      Joffery on both counts.

      “Dovageris!”

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    24. Stargaryen,

      Slavery isn’t bad because it’s been outlawed, slavery is bad because it’s bad. Period. It’s vile and cruel and inhumane. I don’t give a crap if a slave is “honored” as a teacher. To own someone like you own a common household item is treating someone like they are less than human. For simply being born of the wrong parents. If those slave masters who honor their slaves as teachers want a teacher so bad, then why don’t they hire one? Aren’t they rich? Why must they own another’s life?

      I don’t know exactly how Dany was supposed to attempt to end slavery? Is she supposed to take a vote? Ending an institution that has lasted hundreds or thousands of years is going to need a pretty drastic and severe and even cruel action. Dany wants slavery ended immediately, not in a few weeks or months or years. But immediately. And this was her best option. The other only alternative is war, and war would have killed far more innocent lives than what Dany had ordered in Astapor.

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    25. Really got into Deadwood after the past year and Hildebrand shows up in the first episode and again as a different character in the last season. I really love his Kraznys. He needs to be not only morally reprehensible but personally despicable for his comeuppance to come across as a chest-beating moment. It’s fun to watch him though he’s written completely without a redeeming quality.

      His final scene is lovely and I definitely have watched it a thousand times. They just need a throwaway line about some sort of failsafe Unsullied password for him to try to use in the last moments.

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    26. El-Bobbie,

      I agree that slavery is bad, I just think we know that because slavery has been outlawed for a hundred years and we grew up knowing that. But it’s not so obvious as we may think.

      Every single slave rebellion in ancient societies had the same goal: to free these specific guys. Not a single one meant to end slavery. Abolitionism only became a thing in the modern world. And do you know what freed slaves did when they got some money? They bought slaves of their own. In ancient Rome, in medieval Turkey, in Brazil in the end of the XIX century. People who knew what slavery was in the flesh, much better than you and I will ever know, subjected other human beings to the same thing. They are not all evil, just products of their times like we are products of ours.

      I’m just saying that it was a very different society and it makes no sense to judge them by our XXI century, western educated morals. In that society, where owning someone is the norm, there is a difference between those who mistreat their slaves and those who don’t.

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    27. Mihnea,

      Except the show tends to eliminate obstacles where she is forced to compromise. They also brush past a lot of the mistakes she’s made or don’t acknowledge them as such and frame them as good decisions. She randomly picks a guy to feed to her dragons, even though she has no idea if he’s involved with the Harpies or not. This is the type of behavior her father would have engaged in, but we’re supposed to think it’s badass. Dany herself is afraid she is going to become like her father…so why have her do this?

      She does the whole ‘judgement and trial’ thing for that Harpy because that’s how it’s done in Westeros, but she fails to see that she’s not in Westeros and has to adapt to a new culture. It’s no wonder Mossador goes and kills the Harpy. Granted, you can blame Barristan for this too, since he advised her (if I remember correctly), but it was also her decision to go through with a public execution (and we all know how that went). Of course, that is all swept under the rug later.

      As for some other choices she’s made… it’s never clear to me if opening the fighting pits is a good decision or not. There is still an attack and Drogon has to save her (I believe originally the circumstances behind his arrival were different).

      And she also goes on to say on the show that she “is a queen not a politician”. This shows that she has no willingness to change and compromise on the show at least (because they’ve eliminated all the obstacles she is faced with that force her to compromise and display flexibility).

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    28. TFT,

      Probably because she didn’t want her granddaughter to get married to a tyrant. The scene where they asked Sansa how Joffrey was like pretty much sealed his fate.

      Tommen is also easier to manipulate and not cruel like Joffrey, but if she wants Margaery to be queen, Olenna has to eliminate the other one.

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    29. Nodor,

      Someone can correct me if I’m wrong, but in the books I believe they reveal that Joffrey was behind the second assassination attempt of Bran in the scene where he is receiving his wedding gifts (first half of ep 402) and Tywin presents him with his new Valyrian sword, to which Joffrey replies with something along the lines of “this is not the first time I’ve had my hands on Valyrian steel”. The show however left that line out of the adapted scene, not sure why.

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    30. Stargaryen:
      Every single slave rebellion in ancient societies had the same goal: to free these specific guys. Not a single one meant to end slavery. Abolitionism only became a thing in the modern world.

      Dany clearly considers slavery inherently bad. I don’t think it’s all that important whether the people practising it thought it was or not.

      Her specific order is “slay the masters, slay the soldiers, slay every man who carries a whip, but harm no child”.

      Joe,

      That’s correct. In terms of why that was omitted, there are, to my mind, two potential explanations:

      1) The writers thought the reveal was unsatisfying (which is a common opinion about it in the books, one I tend to share; it’s GRRM’s least-convincing plot resolution, in my opinion) and would have cluttered the scene, so they left it out and just hope viewers forget about it.
      2) The writers are planning to have somebody else be behind it in the show and reveal that later. For instance, it’s a common suggestion among book readers who don’t care for the twist that Littlefinger will subsequently be shown to have been behind it, even though that really doesn’t make sense (as GRRM himself commented).

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    31. Flayed Potatoes,

      Lets just agree to disagree.

      I may self saw her compromising the entire season and doubting herself.

      I’m not one who likes long pointless arguements. Because they are repetetive.
      You present ”proof” to witch I disagree, profoundly. and frankly don’t even consider to be valid.
      You, without doubt, think the same about my ”proof”.

      I will end this here. It’s not the subject of the thread.

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    32. Flayed Potatoes:
      Mihnea,

      Except the show tends to eliminate obstacles where she is forced to compromise. They also brush past a lot of the mistakes she’s made or don’t acknowledge them as such and frame them as good decisions. She randomly picks a guy to feed to her dragons, even though she has no idea if he’s involved with the Harpies or not. This is the type of behavior her father would have engaged in, but we’re supposed to think it’s badass. Dany herself is afraid she is going to become like her father…so why have her do this?

      She does the whole ‘judgement and trial’ thing for that Harpy because that’s how it’s done in Westeros, but she fails to see that she’s not in Westeros and has to adapt to a new culture. It’s no wonder Mossador goes and kills the Harpy. Granted, you can blame Barristan for this too, since he advised her (if I remember correctly), but it was also her decision to go through with a public execution (and we all know how that went). Of course, that is all swept under the rug later.

      As for some other choices she’s made… it’s never clear to me if opening the fighting pits is a good decision or not. There is still an attack and Drogon has to save her (I believe originally the circumstances behind his arrival were different).

      And she also goes on to say on the show that she “is a queen not a politician”. This shows that she has no willingness to change and compromise on the show at least (because they’ve eliminated all the obstacles she is faced with that force her to compromise and display flexibility).

      Wait, so you say that she has to adapt to a new culture? Then you show her adapting a new culture by opening the fighting pits. Then you say that she has no willingness to compromise? Come on, you yourself showed that she was willing to compromise!

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    33. Flayed Potatoes,

      RE the random burning scene: What the hell are you basing that on? How does the show indicate that was anything less than horrifying, especially given Barristans warning about the Mad King?

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    34. Sean C.,

      Dany’s from a different part of the world, where slavery is not the norm. Jorah Mormont was almost killed for it. It doesn’t mean people have the same morality in Mereen. They didn’t in our world until quite recently.

      In historical terms, Dany comes from a medieval society with modern values going to an ancient society. This is the reason so many people criticize her character saying she’s too modern and anachronistic.

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    35. Stargaryen,

      I don’t see how owning another human like an object is not obviously bad? Money and power and status is enough to corrupt any soul. And a freed slave who turned around to own another slave knew it was bad, they just didn’t give a crap. They wanted the status of being better than someone else. I sincerely doubt any of them felt they were doing the slaves they owned any favors. Some law-maker didn’t decide one day to just end slavery, therefore making everyone realize it was bad. They knew it was vile from the beginning.

      And again, to end a system of cruelty that is so ingrained in people will require an action that is possibly just as cruel. Because you can’t seriously think Dany would have been better off if she sat every slave master down one by one and asked them if they were a good slave master or a bad slave master. You think they would’ve told the truth? You think their slaves wouldn’t have lied for them due to paralyzing fear? The slaves and the unsullied needed to be emboldened by a swift and dramatic action. Otherwise, they would’ve just shrunk beneath the weight of uncertainty and fear.

        Quote  Reply

    36. cosca,

      I’m basing it on the reactions I saw to that scene, most of which are along the lines of “wooo dragons”. I didn’t see the show portraying it as horrifying. I didn’t get a scene where Dany looked like she regretted the decision or admitted it was a bad one (maybe Emilia could have acted differently in the scene if that was the case).

        Quote  Reply

    37. Stargaryen,

      Dany wasn’t initially all that anti-slavery (indeed, Drogo’s campaign to retake Westeros for her was to be financed by selling slaves, which is one of the ironies of her arc). She came to that conviction out of her own experiences. And it’s not true that moral opposition to slavery is purely a modern value. Certainly, it’s more common now, but there have always been people morally opposed to slavery. King Louis X of France abolished slavery in 1315, to cite one medieval example.

      I don’t see why it matters that they don’t have the same morality in Meereen. They didn’t in the American South either, or, really, in any place where it’s widely practised today.

      Now, I think the random crucifixions of the masters in Meereen were a mistake, but that’s different from ordering her soldiers to attack the people actively enforcing slavery in Astapor.

        Quote  Reply

    38. To the people that say Dany is surrounded by enablers and Yes Men I say: What?

      Her advisers constantly question her decision, particularly in Meereen, except maybe Missendei. Barristan questions her cruelty in killing the Masters, questions executing the Harpy, questions her dragon deal in Season 3. Daario does nothing but tell her she’s being too soft on Meereen, advising her to massacre all the Masters. Hizdahr was pretty consistent in questioning her. Jorah may love her but he didn’t agree with her on everything. He wanted her to go to Westeros after the capture of Meereen, it was his idea to buy the Unsullied despite her reservations and so on.

      It’s a narrative that is convenient for those who don’t like the character, but it just isn’t supported by the show.

        Quote  Reply

    39. Sean C.,

      Thanks for confirming it Sean. I lean towards option #1, as I didn’t necessarily find the reveal to be disappointing, although you do have to wonder what Joffrey’s motivation was to kill Bran at that time, seeing that he wasn’t yet a king and that he had no idea why Bran was pushed from the window, but that the assassination attempt happened 3 full seasons earlier and any mystery that surrounded the event was likely forgotten by the casual viewer.

      I do like the Littlefinger theory however, although I’d have to go back and watch that scene and the ones that follow to see if he would of had any motivation to finish Bran off.

        Quote  Reply

    40. Flayed Potatoes,

      Because she has a strong sense of justice and truly cares for her people, she’s a female Jon Snow, a heroine. She is an idealist and a better world is what she is fighting for – not honor (like Ned Stark), duty (Stannis), fun (Renly) or power (Tywin, Cersei, Margaery).

        Quote  Reply

    41. Flayed Potatoes,

      Then in the next scenes she asks Missandei for advise, because she is doubting herself.
      Then she procedes to marry Hizdhar and open the pits. She compromises because she realized she was wrong earlier.

        Quote  Reply

    42. Joe,

      You are correct – the book makes it pretty evident that Joffrey was responsible for the Bran assassination attempt. The show never really answered that question- maybe they wanted to infer that it was Cersei or Jaime.

        Quote  Reply

    43. Joe,

      Joffrey’s motivation in the books was that he heard Robert saying that Bran would be better off dead than a cripple, and wanted to mercy-kill him to impress Robert.

        Quote  Reply

    44. Jay Targ,

      She gets attacked in Daznak’s Pit. If that decision was enough and everyone was appeased, then the attack wouldn’t have normally happened. Opening a fighting pit is far from adapting to a new culture…there is much more to a place’s culture than that. Otherwise they’d be satisfied.

        Quote  Reply

    45. Joe,

      Never liked that reveal in the books. It felt cheap.

      It existed just so we can hate Joffrey more and feel better after he dies 2 chapters later.

        Quote  Reply

    46. Flayed Potatoes,

      What some fans think is irrelevant. Breaking Bad had thousands of fans praising Walter White even in later seasons. And I don’t see why it matters if Dany feels bad after, doesnt change how immoral it was.

      Given the context of the scene, with Barristan’s speech, and how sympathetic Hizdahr is, its clearly meant to be bad. There’s dark sombre music on the soundtrack when it happens too, the scene is shot as a horror scene, not at all like any of her previous triumphs. Do you have anything from the show or the writers that indicates otherwise?

        Quote  Reply

    47. Flayed Potatoes,

      It was a start. Show the masters you are willing to compromise but show the former slaves you still stay strong on your no-slavery policy.

      But the masters didn’t want to compromise. If anything the attack proves that Dany should’ve been even more decisive with the masters.

        Quote  Reply

    48. Sean C.,

      It was still cheap. It was only the 3rd thing in ASOS that I disliked, just after Tysha and LSH.

      If it was earlier it would have been better. Perhaps have Tyrion play with him a bit.

      But having it right before his death, makes it feel that Martin just added it so we have a motive to hate Joffrey and cheer louder when he dies.

        Quote  Reply

    49. Stargaryen,

      Are you forgetting that Dany was not raised in Westeros? Like, at all? She was raised in Essos, where slavery IS actually the norm. The only exceptions are Braavos and Lhazar, even Pentos has slavery though not in name. Dany traveled throughout the Free Cities as a child, witnessed and grew up with the slavery, yet she was able to realize that it is bad.

        Quote  Reply

    50. “And Now His Watch is Ended” is one of my favorite episodes of the series so far. I usually think towerofthehand.com episode scores are lower than they should be, but this one tallied a 9.25, which is equal to “The Rains of Castamere” and “Blackwater” for the three highest rated of the series by them. That’s two big ninth episodes equaled by a random fourth episode of a season. There are some episodes that are just solid from start to finish and this is one of them. I should watch it again tonight.

      The final scene of the episode was ninth episode or season finale worthy. The Daenerys ‘versus’ Kraznys part from the book was an as awaited for scene in the show for me as the Red Wedding and I wasn’t disappointed. Daenerys turning to speak to him in high Valyrian is my favorite thing from the character yet and I thought Emilia nailed it. I watched the entire scene about fifty times that week. While that scene boosted the entire episode, one just has to read the summary bullet points to recall how fantastic the rest of the scenes were as well.

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    51. Flayed Potatoes,

      So in other words, Dany must give into all of their demands? That wouldn’t be much of a compromise. The point is that the Harpy’s were the one’s not willing to compromise; they want slavery to come back (at least we’re led to assume that as their goals are not quite clear).

        Quote  Reply

    52. Mihnea,

      In the scene where she asks Missandei for advice, Missandei basically enables her. I rewatched the scene and she just tells Dany she makes the best decisions on her own, when she doesn’t listen to anyone. Ironically, she made her own decision to burn a guy alive before coming to Missandei. Not a great plan. And then she marries Hizdahr, which doesn’t accomplish anything because the attacks don’t stop and he dies anyway in the pits.

      I genuinely want to like her, but it’s like one step forward two steps back with her. The way she’s adapted doesn’t help. I’m hoping Dothraki Dany is better, since that was when she was more interesting and had more depth.

        Quote  Reply

    53. Flayed Potatoes,

      The very fact that she asks Missandei shows that she doubts herself.

      By marrying a Meereenese noble and opening the fighting pits shows she was willing to compromise, quite a lot.
      The fact that the Harpies and masters attacked doesn’t ”prove” that Dany was wrong, it proves that the other side wasn’t willing to compromise at all.

      I think Dany’s portrayal is top-notch. Hell in S5 I think they did a even better job that the books did.

      Okay let’s stop it here. It’s clear we view her story in 2 very, very, very different ways.
      We will never agree on this subject.

        Quote  Reply

    54. Jay Targ:
      Flayed Potatoes,

      So in other words, Dany must give into all of their demands?That wouldn’t be much of a compromise.The point is that the Harpy’s were the one’s not willing to compromise; they want slavery to come back (at least we’re led to assume that as their goals are not quite clear).

      This is a problem with the adaptation I think. We’re not provided a solid goal in season 5 for the Harpies. I find some of their actions contradictory on the show as well (like how they didn’t stop attacking after the opening of the fighting pits, since it seemed like that was what they wanted).

      In ADWD (if I remember correctly…it’s been a while) the main source of the problem is that Dany doesn’t provide an economic replacement for the slave trade, which is why cities like Astapor and Meereen were struggling and others were attacking. There was no other income. I don’t know why this was overlooked on the show. A simple mention would have sufficed and it would have given Dany’s arc more depth. Unpopular opinion, but I enjoy ADWD Dany more than Season 5 Dany.

      I think she made her big mistake at the beginning with the Harpy trial and Mossador. That was when she should have given into demands. The harpy was guilty…there was no need for a trial.

        Quote  Reply

    55. Joe:

      I do like the Littlefinger theory however, although I’d have to go back and watch that scene and the ones that follow to see if he would of had any motivation to finish Bran off.

      It’s not a question of motivation, but of opportunity. Littlefinger is a villainous scumbag who’d resort to killing Bran in no time if it got him closer to starting a war between Starks and Lannisters. The problem with the theory is that LF was in King’s Landing and had no time nor means of arranging an impromptu assassination.

        Quote  Reply

    56. Sean C.,

      Ah yes I remember, thanks. I really flew through the books, as I binged watched the first two seasons of the show, and couldn’t wait to find out what happened next between seasons 2-3, so I missed a lot of minor details that have since been filled in from reading these comment sections.

      As to Minhea’s point about it feeling cheap, obviously to each is his own, but I do agree it wasn’t needed in Ep 402, as we already had enough reasons to hate Joffrey, in large part to Jack Gleesons magnificent portrayal of the character and with the show having Joffrey being the one to order the massacre of all the bastard children in S1.

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    57. Flayed Potatoes,

      The problem is slavery.
      Not economics.

      She doesn’t want slavery, the masters/harpies do.

      Now. Volantis and Qarth do attack her because she is messing their economy but not the Harpies.

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    58. “And Now His Watch Is Ended” comfortably makes my top ten list of favorite Game of Thrones episodes to date. Together with Jaime’s bathtub confession in the next episode, Daenerys sacking Astapor also represents the exalted peak of a superb four-episode run that forms the spine of Season 3. I would put “Walk of Punishment”, “And Now His Watch Is Ended”, “Kissed by Fire”, and “The Climb” up against any consecutive four-episode stretch that the show has to offer, and I think that the only one that would surpass it would be “Mockingbird”, “The Mountain and the Viper”, “The Watchers on the Wall”, and “The Children” from the end of Season 4 (which remains my favorite season so far).

      One thing that isn’t always celebrated about this hour is that it’s a great Varys episode, and an excellent showcase for Conleth Hill – maybe his best. I love how he spins the story of the Spider’s origin, and the lessons he took from it. Episodes like this one reinforce why Varys has resonated far more with me on the show than he did in the book. There, the excessive descriptions of his tittering and his perfumed oils tended to undercut my enjoyment of the character, despite my appreciation for his vast and obvious mastery of the game. That was obviously Martin’s intention – Varys thrives on being misjudged – but that didn’t make it fun to read. Here, there are no such distractions – only the words, and the weight that Hill gives to them.

      I’ve noticed that Alex Graves-directed episodes tend to feature far more tight close-ups of the characters’ faces than the series typically employs. That makes such shots stand out more than I think they’re intended to, but they’re put to great effect here. I’m particularly enamored of the close-up on Varys when recounts hearing the demonic voice after the sorcerer threw his parts into the flames. Watch how Hill allows Varys’s eyes and voice to drift into the distant past when he says “I still dream of that night …” He’s come a long way, but that horror never left him.

      I also love the shot where Varys stares into a cracked and dirty mirror as he says, “Step by step, one distasteful task after another, I made my way from the slums of Myr to the Small Council chamber.” If we didn’t already know that Varys is a hard and dangerous man beneath the soft airs he puts on for court, this monologue seals the deal. Then there’s the coldness of the look Varys gives the captive sorcerer when finally opens the box to reveal his prize to Tyrion. That man is in for some truly unspeakable hell before he leaves this world … but he brought it on himself.

      Varys’s tête-à-tête with Lady Olenna is delightful as well, although the subject is quite serious. His assessment of Littlefinger – “He would see this country burn if he could be king of the ashes.” – is one of my favorite lines in the entire series. Combine that with Baelish’s “Chaos is a ladder” speech in “The Climb”, and you’ve got the two sides to Littlefinger’s ambition right there. The long-simmering rivalry between the Mockingbird and the Spider remains one of my favorite recurring bits in the series. I hope they meet again one day.

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    59. Mihnea:
      Flayed Potatoes,

      It was a start. Show the masters you are willing to compromise but show the former slaves you still stay strong on your no-slavery policy.

      But the masters didn’t want to compromise. If anything the attack proves that Dany should’ve been even more decisive with the masters.

      Show Hizdahr wanted to compromise. He was even helping her fix things with Yunkai.

      She made her big mistake in the trial with the Harpy. That was when she should have been decisive, but lost the opportunity.

      I agree that we won’t agree on this matter.

        Quote  Reply

    60. Flayed Potatoes: This is a problem with the adaptation I think. We’re not provided a solid goal in season 5 for the Harpies. I find some of their actions contradictory on the show as well (like how they didn’t stop attacking after the opening of the fighting pits, since it seemed like that was what they wanted).

      In ADWD (if I remember correctly…it’s been a while) the main source of the problem is that Dany doesn’t provide an economic replacement for the slave trade, which is why cities like Astapor and Meereen were struggling and others were attacking. There was no other income. I don’t know why this was overlooked on the show. A simple mention would have sufficed and it would have given Dany’s arc more depth. Unpopular opinion, but I enjoy ADWD Dany more than Season 5 Dany.

      I think she madeher big mistake at the beginning with the Harpy trial and Mossador. That was when she should have given into demands. The harpy was guilty…there was no need for a trial.

      You are correct, the economy in Slavers Bay is based on slavery and Dany did not replace it with something else.

      I think Season 6 will go more in depth with the famine and disease aspect as we have seen from some of the Season 6 images.

        Quote  Reply

    61. Flayed Potatoes,

      The final decision was Dany’s. Hizdhar could have tried how many times he wished to convince her but if she wouldn’t have wanted to compromise then there would have been no compromise.

      We do agree on one thing tough, we will never agree on this 🙂

        Quote  Reply

    62. Wonderful essay for a wonderful episode.
      I had forgotten this was the episode were we lost both the Old Bear and Ben Kingsley’s twin brother.
      James Cosmo did a wonderful job with the character. It’s sad that we couldn’t celebrate Craster’s death because of Jeor’s.
      BTW, I still think Tyrion’s conversation with Jon in Lord Snow would have been better with Jeor instead of Tyrion.

        Quote  Reply

    63. Flayed Potatoes,

      More like ”thank the gods!”.

      That awfull writing in ADWD almost made me stop liking Dany.
      But then I realized in wasn’t her that changed, she was still the character I loved, it was the borderline atrocious writing of everything else around her.

      Don’t even make me list them…ugh..

        Quote  Reply

    64. Jay Targ,

      I hope so. I think they really wanted to finally give us the Dany-Tyrion meeting quickly, and that unfortunately led to simplyfing the issues in Meereen and overlooking the chaos.

        Quote  Reply

    65. Flayed Potatoes,

      Actually that’s the best advice one gave dany..
      In the books he listens to everyone’s advice and counsel and makes the best decision out of those advices which she comes up with ..
      What dany asks missandei was exactly this that barristan adviced her to mercy and darrio adviced her to kill and she doesn’t think both works and asks missamdei what to do ..
      And missandei tells that she makes best decision..

      And you know what dany did she agreed to marry hizdar and open the fighting pits…. That’s compromise for the people..not going exactly by what darrio or barristan adviced.

        Quote  Reply

    66. Mihnea,

      I actually wanted them to capture how she’s struggling with finding a new source of income to replace slavery and some of the other obstacles, including the fact that she has put herself in a corner by taking these cities because now there’s no way she can leave without causing even more unrest. I could do without the floppy ears and the Harzoos Mo Whatever and Quentyn, the Unsullied getting rekt almost every episode (we know it’s happening; no need to repeat), and Daario’s bedside talks.

      – Quentyn can be replaced with a message from Dorne asking her to join with them (because I’m still trying to find some logic to all the messiness that was going on there in season 5, lord help me)
      – the temptation of leaving for Westeros vs fixing her mess in Essos
      – mentions of the economic issues
      – giving a clear goal for the Harpies

      The writers know how to streamline things and make them exciting, but something was off this time. For me, at least.

        Quote  Reply

    67. El-Bobbie,

      I have you many historical examples showing that people didn’t always think slavery was inherently bad. Specially not when done to a different “inferior” race. That’s what allowed slavery to be legal in the West until the XIX century. If you can’t understand how people could think dad, maybe you should open a history book. The Bible condoned it, the people who invented democracy did it, people didn’t think it was a bad system.

      And I’m not forgetting that Dany was raised in Essos, just saying that she had a different background than people in Meeren. So the fact she can see slavery as evil doesn’t mean anyone who doesn’t is an evil cartoon character who deserved to be killed without a trial.

        Quote  Reply

    68. cosca:
      Flayed Potatoes,

      RE the random burning scene: What the hell are you basing that on? How does the show indicate that was anything less than horrifying, especially given Barristans warning about the Mad King?

      Yup. And since this episode actually, D & D have been very upfront about Dany’s “Mad Monarch” genes – capacity for cruelty – Targaryen legacy – going hand-in-hand with her liberating/conquering . It is obviously a big thematic “concern” in the story.

      (03:43)

      The show was definitely using the “dragon burning” scene in season 5 for that particular reason. It is part of her character. Martin and Benioff and Weiss want the viewers to question and discuss this. This is not by accident!

        Quote  Reply

    69. Flayed Potatoes:
      cosca,

      I’m basing it on the reactions I saw to that scene, most of which are along the lines of “wooo dragons”.I didn’t see the show portraying it as horrifying. I didn’t get a scene where Dany looked like she regretted the decision or admitted it was a bad one (maybe Emilia could have acted differently in the scene if that was the case).

      Sorry but this an insane reading of the scene. Of course, it’s supposed to be horrifying. Jesus fucking Christ!

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    70. dragonbringer,

      I didn’t quite understand the question, but I hope I answered it.

      I am not a big fan of the Dorne in general, so I was thinking of a way to minimize their presence, while still keeping some of the basics there to establish some sort of link between them and Dany and between Dany’s storyline and Westeros (she can feel quite isolated at times from the rest of the action in the show/books).

      I am also a bit worried and wondering if Quentyn getting rekt in the books will lead to Dorne having some sort of animosity towards Dany. It’s not like she asked his dumb ass to go to the dragons lol. But it would create conflict. Obviously that won’t be the case on the show.

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    71. Needs more Dolorous Edd:

      Ah, look. More shit. I was starting to wonder what to do with the rest of me day.

        Quote  Reply

    72. Mitch,

      Yeah, no one I know went ”wooo dragons”. Nor was that the reaction I saw on different forums.
      There where many but ”wooo dragons” wasn’t one of them.

        Quote  Reply

    73. Mitch,

      So do you assume they plan on making her go Mad Queen on us?

      Or that she will commit further questionable acts in the future that are directly addressed as such? Or are they just placing that idea there and moving on to the next scene?

      I guess we’ll have to see in the future. The show has a tendency of whitewashing certain characters/fan favorites (Tyrion is the biggest example), so I don’t know if they plan on exploring this potential for Targaryen madness in the future.

        Quote  Reply

    74. Mihnea,

      I’ve seen plenty of reaction videos from casuals (they probably don’t check forums to discuss this) who are not concerned with the implications for Dany’s character or whether burning that guy was a good or bad decision.

        Quote  Reply

    75. Flayed Potatoes,

      Some consider that quentyn got rejected by dany and she was the reason for his death and that’s a mistake on dany part..
      I just wondered you thought the same
      Because like you I feel she was not responsible for his stupidity and his fathers stupidity ..even though she couldn’t marry him she knee why he was there and thought there still could exist an alliance between them and taken care of him well and warned of hizdar and asked him to leave many times…she did what she could do except the marrying him part which is also because of dorne coming late not dany to blame I believe ..

      And regarding your question about guest right….dany was not a guest at astopor …she was a customer and she did pay the price for the goods …its not her fault the dragons are not slaves .
      And its like how manderly escapes guest right by giving the Frey’s gifts and making them pie and eating

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    76. Flayed Potatoes,

      That was the character arc for dany in ADWD and Season 5 ..they wanted there to dany have conflict with her father and family and about this madness …
      And through that she was forced to an indecisive and at times lost..

      I for one sure that she will be bringing down the meereen to grounds next season and from that new civilization will be born .
      She is certainly going to do lots of sacking like astopor in the coming season but that will not be related to madness ..

        Quote  Reply

    77. dragonbringer:
      Flayed Potatoes,

      Some consider that quentyn got rejected by dany and she was the reason for his death and that’s a mistake on dany part..
      I just wondered you thought the same
      Because like you I feel she was not responsible for his stupidity and his fathers stupidity ..even though she couldn’t marry him she knee why he was there and thought there still could exist an alliance between them and taken care of him well and warned of hizdar and asked him to leave many times…she did what she could do except the marrying him part which is also because of dorne coming late not dany to blame I believe ..

      And regarding your question about guest right….dany was not a guest at astopor …she was a customer and she did pay the price for the goods …its not her fault the dragons are not slaves .
      And its like how manderly escapes guest right by giving the Frey’s gifts and making them pie and eating

      Thanks for the answer. I thought that was the case. Obviously, the guys in Qarth broke guest right.

      Quentyn is an idiot. It was his decision to go to the dragons (who were chained for a reason).

        Quote  Reply

    78. Since everyone’s familiar with the grand moments of this episode, I’ll try to celebrate a few smaller moments, or I‘ll be here all day.

      That final scene has lost none of its power for me. It’s one of the strongest endings to any episode of the series, and I still get chills watching it. I’m glad that Cian singled out the shot of Jorah approaching Dany, silhouetted against the smoke and the setting sun, for praise. I love that shot as well. Jorah looks so awestruck as he’s approaching her, and he seems to be gearing up to say something along the lines of “You knew what you were doing all along. I never should have doubted you.” Yet Dany doesn’t look at him – she just strides away, her face shrouded in shadow. In that moment, she’s become something else, something far beyond his reach.

      I also love the piece of Ramin Djawdi’s music (“Dracarys”) that underscores Dany’s exit from Astapor with her newly-won army. It’s one my most-played songs from the Season 3 soundtrack. Just listening to it conjures up vivid memories of the scene – whenever it comes up on a playlist while I’m running, I always run just a little bit faster. 🙂

      Two line readings from this episode that I think are particularly fantastic. When Margaery is attempting to convince Joffrey to step outside and greet his subjects, she drops her voice to a lower register and spins sweet lies to him, ending with “They adore you.” The way that she drops her voice to a whisper and draws out the word adore is so damn seductive. Small wonder Joffrey listens to her.

      The other is when Cersei meets with Tywin, and attempts to convince her father that she might be the child who has the most to contribute to his legacy. I love the way that Charles Dance sits back in his chair, puts down his quill, and says in short, clipped fashion: “All right. Contribute.” As in, contribute now. Right now. And it had damn well better be worth my time, because I’ve got Red Weddings to arrange via raven. As it turns out, Cersei’s concerns about the Tyrells manipulating Joffrey don’t meet that exacting standard.

      Another small moment that I’ve celebrated many times before: the way Karl Tanner closes his eyes and steels himself before he hurls the fateful insult at Craster: “You are a bastard. A daughter-fucking, wildling bastard.” He knows that the second those words leave his mouth, Craster’s coming to kill him, so composes himself beforehand. That way, when the time comes, he can be faster. The Fookin’ Legend of Gin Alley didn’t earn that reputation for nothing.

      Jeor Mormont surviving long enough to almost choke Rast to death after he’s stabbed in the back is such a badass moment. Rest in peace, Old Bear. You deserved far better.

      Finally, Theon’s confession about the Stark boys and realization that his “real father” died in King’s Landing is a great moment for the character, and for Alfie Allen. That confession is undoubtedly the high point of Theon’s Season 3 arc.

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    79. dragonbringer,

      I hope so. To me her road in season 6 seems pretty straightforward/easy to guess, but I am curious to see how she fixes her mess at the end if she wants to go and leave the place in good hands.

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    80. Flayed Potatoes,

      I would just like to point out that the response I mostly see re: Arya’s murder of Meryn Trant is all woo Arya, when it also plays out like a horror scene (honestly I found it really disturbing). Similarly to Khal Drogo ripping that guy’s tongue out, Tyrion using wildfire on Stannis’ army, Brienne giving “two quick deaths” and one slow, etc, etc…

      This is the point of GOT, Dany’s more of an anti-hero than a hero, and people still like her because a lot of us find antiheroes fascinating. As Tyrion says, she only differs from people like Cersei or her father because she does terrible things with the intent of preventing more terrible things from happening to her subjects.

      I also think that Dany has, by far, the most difficult situation to deal with of any of the leaders (including Jon Snow and the wildlings), so it’s a little unfair to judge her “bad leadership” when she’s kind of in a no-win situation imo.

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    81. Dracarys!

      Leaders are evaluated primarily on their effectiveness and decisiveness. Likeability comes at a distant second. And in order to be effective and decisive, you have to do like Mike from Breaking Bad says: always go full-measure. Never go half-.

      In Astapor, Dany went full measure. In Meereen she did not; she tried to compromise after her advisors told her to. But that was simply bad advice from people who had never been in leadership positions. *Never* go half measure.

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    82. Great essay.

      To me the pivotal scene and the one that stood out in this episode is Theon’s sad and honest admittance to his captor about how he chose “wrong.” (It was plain to see that it was a difficult decision in “What Is Dead May Never Die” but if anyone ever doubted it, they shouldn’t after “And Now His Watch Is Ended.” Another scene that stood out to me as a woman was the horrible scenes taking place at Craster’s place.

      About Dany. I can’t for the life of me understand how nearly all comments are about this character. Clearly she is not fit for ruling Westeros. I think she is a bit crazy and very dangerous.

      As far as I see the only ones marginally fit for ruling anything in this world in a good way, meaning in a way that would try to ensure peace and stability would be Tyrion (because he is the brightest and most humane of them all) and the nearly perfect (but dead) Jon Snow, or Sansa, who is wiser now than she ever was. I could actually also see Theon rule the Iron Islands very well after his captivity, but he was never a natural born leader and is much too broken. Yara is wonderful but ruler of Westeros? No, the Ironborn mentality is not made for that. Gendry was pretty meh, but who knows what will happen in S6. Arya is much too vengeful and bloodthirsty. Bran – well, he is a bit weird in the best sense of the word. He would be a perfect Hand perhaps.

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    83. Chai From Asshai,

      I saw the same response as you did for Arya. I think her arc is the saddest to me because of how she is influenced by all the traumatic events. She is, after all, a child, so you are more likely to feel sorry for her. It was like a horror scene though, I agree. I couldn’t cheer, but just feel sad for her. I think her death would actually be a release or a blessing for her, based on what she has been through.

      For Tyrion, I guess, you can argue that he used the wildfire to defend the city. It was strategy. The burning of the guy in Meereen doesn’t really accomplish anything.

      100% agree about Khal Drogo. Everyone loves him but he literally said in one episode he was going to rape all the women in Westeros and enslave everyone. Wtf?? How is that something to cheer about??

      I’ve never compared Dany’s leadership to another character in that position in this post (and I don’t think I did in previous ones). I know people tend to compare Dany to Jon when leading and both have made mistakes (time is also a factor). They’re both in different situations and I usually don’t like comparing them. It feels like a pissing contest at times. I have my issues with Jon’s arc in season 5 as well (we’ll get to that post soon enough).

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    84. Jared: I would put “Walk of Punishment”, “And Now His Watch Is Ended”, “Kissed by Fire”, and “The Climb” up against any consecutive four-episode stretch that the show has to offer, and I think that the only one that would surpass it would be “Mockingbird”, “The Mountain and the Viper”, “The Watchers on the Wall”, and “The Children” from the end of Season 4 (which remains my favorite season so far).

      Brilliant episodes, no doubt. Speaking of stretches, I would make that 5 for Season 4. Everything from Laws of Gods and Men onward was pure gold (that particular episode did have the supremely silly scene where Yara assaults Dreadfort, but aside from that, it was a spellbinding hour from start to finish).

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    85. DRACARYS!!!

      I am a huge Dany fan, and this is the show that made me that way. This is the episode that made me pick up the books and sully myself. The moment the “very little girl” outsmarted all the men around her. . .including poor love-struck Jorah (Oh! I so wish they could be together, my ship keeps sailing) and proves to them that she is the true blood of the dragon. . . Oh, it was a beautiful sight! Dracarys is part of my regular vocabulary now. . . when people tick me off. . . I like to mutter it under my breath. They think I’m a little crazy. LOL LOL

      Oh, the rest of the episode was good too. But, Dany’s moment was my moment. I just wish she could have another moment like that again. Drogon rescuing her in “Dance with Dragons” doesn’t even compare, because she was not in control of the moment, not in charge of her destiny. That was what made it so special for me. The “very little girl” showing that she was really a grown up.

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    86. Flayed Potatoes:

      100% agree about Khal Drogo. Everyone loves him but he literally said in one episode he was going to rape all the women in Westeros and enslave everyone. Wtf?? How is that something to cheer about??

      One word: charisma. If you’re devilishly handsome, charming and/or charismatic, people will cheer pretty much whatever you do. And man, the way Momoa delivered that speech… he’s the Dothraki version of a rock star. No wonder the audience collectively went Hell yeah!

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    87. Jared: “And Now His Watch Is Ended” comfortably makes my top ten list of favorite Game of Thrones episodes to date. Together with Jaime’s bathtub confession in the next episode, Daenerys sacking Astapor also represents the exalted peak of a superb four-episode run that forms the spine of Season 3. I would put “Walk of Punishment”, “And Now His Watch Is Ended”, “Kissed by Fire”, and “The Climb” up against any consecutive four-episode stretch that the show has to offer, and I think that the only one that would surpass it would be “Mockingbird”, “The Mountain and the Viper”, “The Watchers on the Wall”, and “The Children” from the end of Season 4 (which remains my favorite season so far).

      Both of those are a pretty great four-episode run. I’d probably put the best 4-ep run like this:

      1. The aforementioned 3.3-3.6 (the bookends are good, the middle are classic)
      2. The entire run from “You Win or You Die” through “Fire and Blood” (or alternatively, start with “Golden Crown” and end with “Baelor,”)
      3. The last four episodes of Season 4
      4. Straddling Season 3/4 – “Rains of Castamere,” “Myhsa,” “Two Swords,” “The Lion and the Rose,” with Myhsa being the only one that’s not top-notch.
      5. Season 5’s “Kill the Boy” through “Hardhome,” though it is somewhat undone by the weaker “Unbent…”

      TOP 10 EPISODES EVER:
      1. Blackwater (still)
      2. Hardhome
      3. Fire and Blood
      4. Two Swords
      5. Kissed by Fire
      6. The Lion and the Rose
      7. The Watchers on the Wall
      8. Baelor
      9. And Now His Watch is Ended
      10. A Golden Crown/The Children

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    88. Greatjon of Slumber: 5. Season 5’s “Kill the Boy” through “Hardhome,” though it is somewhat undone by the weaker “Unbent…”

      I still haven’t reached Season 5 on my yearly rewatch (making it the only season I have seen only once), but I remember the back half being very strong. At least from 5×07 The Gift on. (I am an outspoken fan of 5×06 — the “Sansa rape” episode — but I wouldn’t call it an hour of GoT worthy of inclusion in “best of” lists.)

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    89. Stargaryen,

      The first time I’ve ever commented on here…and it was because someone used the word “Manichean”, and it made me happy. While they aren’t the only ones to have the dualistic world view, the fact it randomly popped up as a descriptive was a surprise. I jokingly refer to it being the root of all issues when I quip that Augustine is the reason we can’t have nice things (himself having dabbled in it…and I’m only mostly joking).

      And I won’t dispute context of the black and white nature of Dany in this season, though, it has been pushed back on and against. As fans know, this is a world with lots of gray, even in Dany. Will be curious how it will evolve in this season.

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    90. Flayed Potatoes: This is a problem with the adaptation I think. We’re not provided a solid goal in season 5 for the Harpies. I find some of their actions contradictory on the show as well (like how they didn’t stop attacking after the opening of the fighting pits, since it seemed like that was what they wanted).

      You are wrong.

      S5E7

      Daario Naharis:How long before the King of Meereen comes to warm my pillow?
      Daenerys Targaryen:Don’t be ridiculous- my marriage to Hizdahr is political, and he’s smart enough to understand that.
      Daario Naharis:...I think the Sons of the Harpy have stopped killing because their leader has been made King.

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    91. Mr Fixit,

      I love “The Laws of Gods and Men” as well, especially the second half focusing on Tyrion’s trial. If we were talking five-episode runs (or half-seasons, in that case), that one easily lifts the second half of Season 4 to the top of any list. I only cut it off at four because we’re in Season 3 right now, and I think that the episodes bracketing the four I mentioned – “Dark Wings, Dark Words” and “The Bear and the Maiden Fair” – are Season 3’s weakest episodes, relatively speaking (though, as always, there is much to love in both hours).

      Mr Fixit: I still haven’t reached Season 5 on my yearly rewatch (making it the only season I have seen only once), but I remember the back half being very strong. At least from 5×07 The Gift on. (I am an outspoken fan of 5×06 — the “Sansa rape” episode — but I wouldn’t call it an hour of GoT worthy of inclusion in “best of” lists.)

      “The Gift”, “Hardhome”, “The Dance of Dragons”, and “Mother’s Mercy” is a great stretch of episodes, especially when you can watch them all close together. One of many reasons why I’m such a staunch defender of Season 5 (and I think the Winterfell material in “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken” is very strong as well. It’s actually the rest of the hour that pushes that episode to a lower tier for me – again, relatively speaking).

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    92. Greatjon of Slumber:
      5. Season 5’s “Kill the Boy” through “Hardhome,” though it is somewhat undone by the weaker “Unbent…”

      TOP 10 EPISODES EVER:
      1. Blackwater (still)
      2. Hardhome
      3. Fire and Blood
      4. Two Swords
      5. Kissed by Fire
      6. The Lion and the Rose
      7. The Watchers on the Wall
      8. Baelor
      9. And Now His Watch is Ended
      10. A Golden Crown/The Children

      I typically watch every episode a handful of times the week following airing during the season but I haven’t rewatched “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken” again since then. I’ve never fully disliked an episode of GoT but as a whole it was definitely one of the weakest of the series, and not just because of the rape and Dorne scenes. Critics hashed on it mainly for that though and it currently is the lowest rated episode of the show on Rotten Tomatoes at 58%, IMDB at 7.8, not to mention lowest with the critical TotH users at a measly 6.18 (the only sub-7 on their site). It was quite a slug to start the second half of the season. I have to assume it was one of the episodes even D&D weren’t thrilled about on final review.

      That’s a decent personal top 10 list. I’d probably move them around a bit and replace a couple for my pleasure, but all solid episodes.

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    93. Greatjon of Slumber,

      Ah, I didn’t think about bridging two seasons! The Season 3/Season 4 run from “The Rains of Castamere” to “The Lion and the Rose” would definitely be up there for me as well.

      The order of my personal Top 10 list of episodes tends to fluctuate depending on how recently I’ve rewatched the episodes, but the episodes themselves are pretty set. “The Watchers on the Wall”, “Hardhome”, and “Blackwater” are definitely my top 3 in some order – probably that order for now. Then there’s “Kissed by Fire”, “The Rains of Castamere”, “The Children”, “The Mountain and the Viper”, “The Lion and the Rose”, “And Now His Watch is Ended”, and “Baelor”. Again, probably that order for the moment, but it’s subject to change.

      There are a whole bunch of others that I could name as strong contenders for various reasons, including some that are on your list! But I’ll cut myself off there, lest I name rattle off half of the episodes in the series. 😉

      That being said, I’m hoping that Season 6 will force me to knock several of those episodes out in order to make room for new favorites …

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    94. DRACARYS!!!

      Dany had played her game well. Not letting on to anyone (including Missandei) that her native tongue was High Valyrian.

      I had to laugh in that scene then knowing that she had understood all the abuse and insults (e.g. a Westerosi whore, a slut, a bitch, that he liked the curve of her arse, etc) that Kraznys says to Dany during their negotiations to obtain the Unsullied!

      That sideways glance Missandei gives to Kraznys says it all (like now you’re in deep shit!) and then Dany’s line in Valyrian that a dragon is not a slave… Dracarys !!!

      Without doubt, for me one of the best endings of any GoT episode 😉

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    95. mau,

      Everyone that disagrees with you or criticizes an aspect of the show is wrong then? LOL

      If Daario’s the harpy there better be a good reason why, because he was supporting Dany way before she got to Meereen and even had the Harpy problem.

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    96. Jared: There are a whole bunch of others that I could name as strong contenders for various reasons, including some that are on your list! But I’ll cut myself off there, lest I name rattle off half of the episodes in the series. ?

      For sure. Usually when I’m making a list of my “bottom 5” episodes, it’s usually the “least favorite” ones, as most episodes have something to recommend them. There are a couple I do find to be weak but not many.

        Quote  Reply

    97. Flayed Potatoes,

      Did you read your own post?

      You said that they didn’t stop attacking after the opening of the fighting pits, and you are wrong, because they did.

      This has nothing to do with your opinion, but with the facts stated in the show.

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    98. mau,

      I said in my other posts that the harpies attacked the fighting pits (and that Dany opening them did not stop them from attacking). I’ve read my posts. I guess you haven’t. Or you’ve probably misread that.

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    99. Flayed Potatoes,

      With certain characters returning from Meereen and Yunkai in S6 I’m sure that it will be revealed that Yunkai is behind the harpies and that they asked for the reopening of the fighting pits just to set a trap for Dany.

      But reopening the pits never was official demand from the harpies. It was something Yunkai asked.

        Quote  Reply

    100. mau,

      Yeah they might be allied. I’m pretty sure that guy

      from Yunkai who is returning on the show is behind this (he brought Dany that chest of treasure so she can gtfo of Essos, so he has a motive). Otherwise, why bother getting him back.

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    101. Flayed Potatoes,

      And from Meereen I think it will be Yezzan who is working with them.

      We have information that that guy from Yunkai will have a scene with him.

      Hizdahr was good red hearing, but the leader of the harpies stood right in front of Dany and she didn’t know that.

        Quote  Reply

    102. mau,

      I know. The reactions will be hilarious.

      Don’t spoil me on TD1, please. I haven’t finished it yet. I’m actually making an effort to watch something without spoilers.

        Quote  Reply

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