George R. R. Martin Gives Meaty Update on The Winds of Winter

George R.R. Martin

Calling all Game of Thrones fans and A Song of Ice and Fire fans: He’s done it! The Maestro has done it! George R. R. Martin has completed(!!!)…a blog post detailing his latest updates on the definitely-not-yet-complete but hopefully-further-along-than-it-was-prior-to-quarantine The Winds of Winter. Its predecessor A Dance with Dragons came out NINE years ago next month. Yes, readers, that is correct. Understandably, fans have been getting a little antsy for good news, what with the state of the world in constant flux and all. Hopefully, George’s latest post is a welcome relief of stress. Rest assured that he is, as ever, working, on it. How much so? Let’s check out what he says.

“I finished a new chapter yesterday, another one three days ago, another one the previous week. But no, this does not mean that the book will be finished tomorrow or published next week. It’s going to be a huge book, and I still have a long way to go.”

Oh, do you? Still a long way to go? How many ‘ways’ to go are we talking? 10 pages? 100 pages? 600 pages? We’ll never know! But one thing is clear. He would like those many websites speculating on his progress to simply stop. Martin says, “Please do not give any credence to any of the click-bait websites that like to parse every word of my posts as if they were papal encyclicals to divine hidden meanings.” Given the article I’m writing here, I’d hate for my name to show up on one of those lists. So I’ll make it clear that this is not speculating. Just commenting. And observing. And adding my thoughts. Is that speculating? Dammit.

With CoNZealand canceled, George’s plans to go there fell through, which means more time to rush and get the book out this year…right? “I can always visit Wellington next year, when I hope that both Covid-19 and THE WINDS OF WINTER will be done.” Next year?! Isn’t that what he said last year? Now, remember that we’re in a different place than we were in 2011 when the last book came out. Back then, we were only one season in to what would soon become the biggest show on the face of the planet. Now that the show is over, and everyone all over the Internet loved the ending unreservedly, we’re past all the hype. And yet, the fates of certain characters in the book are still in question.

Will their journeys unfold and conclude the way of the show? Will TV show conclusions that frustrated longtime fans conclude the same way or even similarly in the book? Will Stannis eat it? These are very important questions. One thing’s for sure – George is working on it: “Of late I have been visiting with Cersei, Asha, Tyrion, Ser Barristan, and Areo Hotah. I will be dropping back into Braavos next week. I have bad days, which get me down, and good days, which lift me up, but all in all I am pleased with the way things are doing.” We are thrilled that you are pleased. Now, we would also like to be pleased, so please please your way into the published pile!

But I digress. I know he’s working on it. And as someone who has at most written a short story two pages long, the last time of which was probably in 5th grade, I am definitely not one to speak or even rush him. I’d rather it take a long time and be good than be rushed and be bad. The only question is, how long will it take? “I do wish they would go faster, of course. Way way back in 1999, when I was deep in the writing of A STORM OF SWORDS, I was averaging about 150 pages of manuscript a month. I fear I shall never recapture that pace again. Looking back, I am not sure how I did it then. A fever indeed.”

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So what can I say? He’s working on it, and it will be completed at his own pace.  For the hot goss on what else George is up to in quarantine, including, but not limited to his latest book recommendations, check out his original post.

721 Comments

  1. IMO, there’s really no purpose in giving an update at this point. It’s either done or it’s not.

    Updates are just going to provoke nerd rage. Stop with the updates until it’s done.

  2. “Please do not give any credence to any of the click-bait websites that like to parse every word of my posts as if they were papal encyclicals to divine hidden meanings.”

    And yet.. that’s exactly what this article title is, not to mention the opening sentence 🤨

  3. Apollo:
    “Please do not give any credence to any of the click-bait websites that like to parse every word of my posts as if they were papal encyclicals to divine hidden meanings.”

    And yet.. that’s exactly what this article title is, not to mention the openingsentence 🤨

    Yea, I have to admit I’m surprised how click-baity this is.

  4. One can only hope.

    Ser Barristan (Selmy!) lives! Last we read, he was shouting “Sound the attack!” as infected corpses rained down upon his knights and soldiers, crazed dragons razed the city, and the battle of Meereen kicked into full gear.

    (hope)

  5. Apollo:
    “Please do not give any credence to any of the click-bait websites that like to parse every word of my posts as if they were papal encyclicals to divine hidden meanings.”

    And yet.. that’s exactly what this article title is, not to mention the openingsentence 🤨

    This author can only hope you read the entire article making fun of internet culture before jumping to conclusions assuming he induced “clickbait.”

  6. so was anyone else disappointed that GRRM wasn’t working on Arya’s scenes? He did say he will get back to Braavos next week..

    “George is working on it: “Of late I have been visiting with Cersei, Asha, Tyrion, Ser Barristan, and Areo Hotah. I will be dropping back into Braavos next week.”

    So does that mean that Arya is still in Braavos? Hopefully she has a major journey in Braavos to accomplish in the 1000 pages of TWOW. I’m hoping Braavos won’t be Arya’s Meereen (as it was for Dany in ADWD). I suppose it could be Iron Bank drama.

    At least he is writing chapters. So I think that’s good news. Hopefully his publisher won’t make him split TWOW into two books again like the last time. Just publish one 1000 page book instead of screwing things up again by splitting them…

  7. Tron79:
    so was anyone else disappointed that GRRM wasn’t working on Arya’s scenes?He did say he will get back to Braavos next week..

    “George is working on it: “Of late I have been visiting with Cersei, Asha, Tyrion, Ser Barristan, and Areo Hotah. I will be dropping back into Braavos next week.”

    So does that mean that Arya is still in Braavos?Hopefully she has a major journey in Braavos to accomplish in the 1000 pages of TWOW.I’m hoping Braavos won’t be Arya’s Meereen (as it was for Dany in ADWD). I suppose it could be Iron Bank drama.

    At least he is writing chapters.So I think that’s good news.Hopefully his publisher won’t make him split TWOW into two books again like the last time. Just publish one 1000 page book instead of screwing things up again by splitting them…

    In the last line of his blog post, he does mention Arya is calling 😉

    I agree, it’s good GRRM is writing chapters but I’m admittedly still more wary than hopeful at this point ^^;

  8. Adrianacandle,

    Yes I agree. I should have said one two thousand page book. I think it likely it could be 1500. I said awhile back I calculated at least 3000 pages to finish the story. Anyhow I am glad to hear that Arya was calling to him.

  9. Tron79: Yes I agree. I should have said one two thousand page book. I think it likely it could be 1500. I said awhile back I calculated at least 3000 pages to finish the story. Anyhow I am glad to hear that Arya was calling to him.

    Maybe that would be an interesting draw — guess how many pages TWOW will be? 🙂 To the digit!

    This part from his post made me laugh imagining the long emails he gets in response to the stuff he posts:

    So far, no rats at my cabin. Sid did catch a couple of mice last year, but she made pets of them. And Timmy and TomTom were no help whatsoever with WINDS. (Please don’t send me long emails about the dangers of mice, we know all that stuff).

  10. This is slightly more detailed than his former blog posts, but only slightly. As expected, we’re not seeing Winds any time soon, or ever. I’m disappointed, but only for those who are actually excited about reading it. I was perfectly satisfied with the show’s ending and accept that it will most likely be the only ending we ever get.

  11. Tron79: Ok. I want some of those GOT Oreos if I win. Perhaps Ten Bears still has a few he can spare.

    Oooh, that’d be a nice prize! (Although, if Ten Bears is anything like me, an Oreo would barely last 12 hours).

  12. Hodors Bastard:
    One can only hope.

    …. Last we read, he was shouting “Sound the attack!” as infected corpses rained down upon his knights and soldiers, crazed dragons razed the city, and the battle of Meereen kicked into full gear…

    Wait. Is that a review of the Tulsa rally?

  13. Tron79:
    so was anyone else disappointed that GRRM wasn’t working on Arya’s scenes? He did say he will get back to Braavos next week..

    “George is working on it: “Of late I have been visiting with Cersei, Asha, Tyrion, Ser Barristan, and Areo Hotah. I will be dropping back into Braavos next week.”

    So does that mean that Arya is still in Braavos?Hopefully she has a major journey in Braavos to accomplish in the 1000 pages of TWOW. I’m hoping Braavos won’t be Arya’s Meereen (as it was for Dany in ADWD). I suppose it could be Iron Bank drama…

    As someone who has only read the TWOW “Mercy” sample chapter, I took that as

    Arya’s farewell to Braavos. Her last internal monologue thoughts made it sound like she was going to miss all of her theatre troupe friends. Unless, of course, like on the show, the FM punish her and give her a second chance…

    What do you think? Has our girl worn out her welcome in Braavos?

  14. Tron79,

    ”At least he is writing chapters. So I think that’s good news. Hopefully his publisher won’t make him split TWOW into two books again like the last time. Just publish one 1000 page book instead of screwing things up again by splitting them…”

    I still say he should release what he’s writing in serialized form, e.g., a chapter at a time, like Charles Dickens. Fans would gladly subscribe.

  15. Adrianacandle: Oooh, that’d be a nice prize! (Although, if Ten Bears is anything like me, an Oreo would barely last 12 hours).

    I must confess. I scarfed down the GoT Oreos several months ago. I didn’t intend to. They were in my GoT memorabilia drawer. I just went on a feeding frenzy one night…and they were gone.

    I did send a few packages to friends as gifts. Even if they still have them, I suppose it would be tacky to ask to buy them back…

    P.S. They weren’t that great anyway. I’d rather spend my money on more GoT Royal Mail stamps if they’re still being sold.

  16. Ten Bears,

    Ohhhh, I think this line

    “Now you will have to excuse me. Arya is calling. I think she means to kill someone.”

    is a wink-wink to you, TB!

  17. Ten Bears: I did send a few packages to friends as gifts. Even if they still have them, I suppose it would be tacky to ask to buy them back…

    P.S. They weren’t that great anyway. I’d rather spend my money on more GoT Royal Mail stamps if they’re still being sold.

    I did look on eBay and they’re still available there! I am a total sucker for that Oreo taste (it’s my favourite Dairy Queen blizzard and McFlurry flavour apart from Skor) so I doubt I’d have the strength to send a few packages to friends — even very very very very very good friends 😉 So that was very very very very nice of you!!

    (I also have a GoT Royal Mail stamp set – Jon Snow!)

  18. I wish we had more on the method of writing. If I were a journalist, I’d ask him about that.
    We know that he immerses in the world for being able to write, so distractions don’t help. But does he write his characters from beginning to end in a book, or stops at a good point of the story to come back later, or does he finish the chapters and then gets into another PoV?
    He says he had been visiting with “Cersei, Asha, Tyrion, Ser Barristan, and Areo Hotah”, does that mean that he finished Brienne, Jamie, Jon, Theon, Daenerys, Sansa?

    I know he wouldn’t want to answer such questions, but I’m really curious about the method, considering that I haven’t read any other book were structure is so careful, embroidering information in it is so meticulous, symbolism permeats the text from page 1 to the very last (a headache!) and words are chosen tortuously considering that none is there by chance.

    On the speculation level, a chapter per week is a good pace, because chapters can be very long (twenty or even thirty pages, depends on the character and the narrative). Very few chapters are less than that. Tyrion’s, Jon’s and Daenerys’ chapters tend to be the longest, and from his post it seems he’s not over with Tyrion. On the other hand, Areo and Barristan and Asha have very few chapters, and not that long.
    If the book is about two thousand pages (I suppose that’s where it’s going) then to have the book ready in a year (he started sometime last autumn) he’d need to write about forty pages a week, which would bring him a over his own pace in ASoS. That’s exhausting for an author even if one writes the first thing that pops up in his head!

    So all in all, yes, it seems that he’s in a good place, even if that means twenty pages per week. Not all chapters need a week to finish, which allows time for two a week, if he has “good days”.

    Keep up the good work, George! We’re not going anywhere, anyway…

    But we can make our fanfic, can’t we?
    How about speculating on our own preferred ending?

    Or, how about who is it that Arya kills next?

  19. Efi,

    But does he write his characters from beginning to end in a book, or stops at a good point of the story to come back later, or does he finish the chapters and then gets into another PoV?

    He says he had been visiting with “Cersei, Asha, Tyrion, Ser Barristan, and Areo Hotah”, does that mean that he finished Brienne, Jamie, Jon, Theon, Daenerys, Sansa?

    Somebody mentioned on asoiaf that he doesn’t write chronologically (and from what little I’ve gathered, I think that might be true) so he might be writing chapters he’s feeling at the time? I know he’s mentioned having to get into certain head spaces for characters so it could be dependent on that — what headspace he can get into on any given day…?

    If the book is about two thousand pages (I suppose that’s where it’s going) […]

    Care to make a guess? 😀 Tron’s is 1506, mine is 1542!

  20. Efi:
    Ten Bears,

    Ohhhh, I think this line

    “Now you will have to excuse me. Arya is calling. I think she means to kill someone.”

    is a wink-wink to you, TB!

    Well good! I hope Arya is roaming around Big G’s Brain. It’s time she snuffs out a[nother] bad guy and hightails it out of Braavos.

    I loved Mercy/Arya’s final scene in the TWOW “Mercy” sample chapter.

    If Big G can pick up where he left off writing Arya, he’ll do just fine.

    Hey, I know he was toying with a five-year gap at one point before ditching it. Perhaps he should revisit that idea in light of all the time that’s passed since his last book. (Nine years ago, isn’t it?) Age up Arya five or ten years, and Maisie can star in the sequel as soon as G publishes the next book and a motivated screenwriter adapts it for TV.

    “The Continuing Adventures of Arya Super Ninja Assassin Warrior Princess.” ™️

    ™️ talvikorppi (2018)
    ©️ HBO 2022

  21. Efi,

    ” But we can make our fanfic, can’t we?
    How about speculating on our own preferred ending?

    Or, how about who is it that Arya kills next?”

    Ooh! Ooh! Can I play?

    Let’s see…
    Well she just

    exsanguinated that Raff jerkoff and fed him to the canal eels, so maybe his fellow guard will come looking for him and Arya will have to terminate him too. Or better yet, the visiting emissary from KL (Master of Coin?) they were guarding.

    Wouldn’t that be fun? Lannister Secretary of the Treasury travels to Braavos to secure financing from Iron Bank. Returns with no head and no gold.

  22. Adrianacandle,

    ”I also have a GoT Royal Mail stamp set – Jon Snow!)”

    I think I may have mentioned once that I make my own Arya and Sandor “stamps” with a color printer and address labels. I don’t counterfeit the Royal Mail stamps; they’re not good for postage in the U.S. anyway.

    And that was an epic fail by the U.S. Postal Service: The USPS issued Star Wars stamps about twenty years ago. It often jointly issues stamps with other countries, e.g., Greta Garbo stamps with Sweden and fairly recently (I think) hockey stamps with Canada.

    How could USPS not issue GoT stamps??? They would have sold like hot cakes!

  23. Ten Bears,

    I think I may have mentioned once that I make my own Arya and Sandor “stamps” with a color printer and address labels. I don’t counterfeit the Royal Mail stamps; they’re not good for postage in the U.S. anyway.

    I think that’d be beautiful 🙂 One of the reasons I splurged for stamps I know I would/could never use to send mail was because I thought the design of each was so pretty. Ideally, I’d get them all but I had to settle for just one set 🙁

    And that was an epic fail by the U.S. Postal Service: The USPS issued Star Wars stamps about twenty years ago. It often jointly issues stamps with other countries, e.g., Greta Garbo stamps with Sweden and fairly recently (I think) hockey stamps with Canada.

    Yeah, that sounds about right with the hockey stamps! I would have loved if USPS issued their own GoT stamps too 🙁 I also really love stamp designs — the challenge of designing artwork for a ≈25 mm x 25 mm space, I love seeing what different designers/companies do with this tiny art board 🙂

  24. Efi,

    We know for a variety of reasons that he jumps from character to character: in particular, his different updates at different times document this.

    He’s been pretty open about his methods, too. It’s not just that he immerses himself: but he’s also working towards particular endings for the overall plot and the individual character arches. He’s known for nearly decades what endings Daenerys, Jon, Bran, Arya and Tyrion have: it’s the details of getting them there on which he works. (He’s obviously added numerous 2ndary protagonists since then: he’s never discussed how quickly their endings were cemented in his heads.)

    Of course, this might be one of the delays at this point. The world is and was, to put it mildly, highly unimpressed with how the show ended. GRRM has made it pretty clear that that was the ending he has had in mind: the “differences” that he’s promising are that minor characters cut by the show (or that got killed off early) might be around. Moreover, at this point, it is much, much too late to have anything more than cosmetic differences between his intended ending and his final one: after all, he wrote the first 5 books with that ending (those endings) in mind.

    My suspicion is that the TV series revealed another reason why it’s taken GRRM so long. Given the nature of the story, he clearly wants some “Catch-22” of the sort that Straczynski had for Babylon 5. Fans have been speculating about what that might be since the late 90’s at least. (And possibly earlier: but that is when I first partook in such online discussions!) And then the show delivered…. nothing. There is always the conspiracy theory “he withheld the choice bits for his books” but that means both that Martin has been lying to us and that Martin was very foolish: after all, even if he finishes the last book, then the show will still be the only way that most people ever witness his story. This is consistent with the idea that either his initial ideas didn’t work once he thought them through clearly or that he never really nailed down a good “gotcha!” for this. (I do think that the entire “Scouring of the Shire” calamity might have been more tolerable if there had been that Faulkneresque “We’re boned either way” lynchpin story-moment at the climax of Walkers plot line.)

    At any rate, I fully expect that I’ll make my annual “When are we getting our apology for no book this year?” in January 2022! (Of course, given how infrequently I visit this site anymore, and given how completely GoT has disappeared from general entertainment news, it’s entirely possible that one year I will make that post and then have someone point out that it actually came out already.)

  25. There were obviously things GRRM should have done differently over the past decade that would have resulted in ASOIAF already being wrapped up. But at least GRRM has confirmed that he’s forging ahead as best as he can. So that’s great news. Onward!

    Efi,

    How about speculating on our own preferred ending?

    Okay, based on some real-life world history along with more realistic storyline pacing:

    + Jorah survives the Battle of Winterfell and is present during the subsequent attack on KL.

    + Dany originally torches only the Red Keep.

    + Jaime strangles Cersei as a mercy killing (and turns out to be the prophecised Valonqar) in order to save her from an excruciating death-by-fire, shortly before Dany incinerates both of them at point-blank range.

    + Tyrion later finds only Jaime’s half-melted gold hand, buried amongst his siblings’ ashes.

    + Dany does not initially target KL’s civilian population, but her rule is heavy-handed and has a zero-tolerance attitude towards perceived threats.

    + Dany’s forces — especially the Unsullied — engage in an increasingly brutal and oppressive military occupation of KL. The other lords across Westeros observe events with mounting alarm, especially as Dany exhibits an increasingly high-handed “imperial” attitude towards them too.

    + There are repeated incidents of Dothraki raping women in KL and nearby areas. Dany is either unwilling or unable to stop this.

    + Some of KL’s population attempt to retaliate against the occupying forces, resulting in escalating tit-for-tat violence and eventually the murder of a number of the Unsullied and Dothraki.

    + Dany decides to “teach the civilians a lesson” and publicly executes the culprits. Perhaps this involves Dany deliberately crucifying them and then burning them as “human torches”, Nero-style. She also randomly crucifies & burns a number of other civilians in order to “send a message”.

    + Dany is becoming impervious to Jon, Tyrion and Jorah’s objections. She also reminds them of Lady Olenna’s advice to “Be a dragon”.

    + Some of KL’s civilians — possibly also surviving Lannister soldiers — decide to launch an outright rebellion. It takes a while for the conspiracy to unfold, but they try to assassinate Dany by igniting the Mad King’s stores of wildfire near/beneath wherever Dany normally holds court.

    + Dany survives the attack, but Grey Worm is wounded (not mortally), a number of his officers are killed, Jon is caught in the explosion but “mysteriously” does not suffer any burns, and Jorah is killed while trying to shield Dany with his body.

    + *This* is what finally convinces a griefstricken, enraged Dany to pull the trigger. She overrides Jon and Tyrion’s objections and proceeds to nuke KL.

    + The other lords of Westeros also realise this is what awaits them and their populations if Dany ever decides to “teach them a lesson” too. They find ways to make their concerns clear to Jon.

    + For her part, Dany also makes it clear that she now has no problem nuking cities across the rest of the world during a planned campaign of global conquest if she perceives any targets to be “rebellious” or “refusing to bend the knee”.

    + Jon’s agonising over whether to kill Dany is also partly driven by his own experience of death; as someone who was resurrected but found there to be no afterlife whatsoever for humans, he knows more than anyone else that he will be literally wiping Dany out of existence if he kills her.

    The rest of the story happens as on the show, except with better dialogue, more nuanced debating between Jon and Tyrion, and definitely a much better speech from Tyrion explaining why Bran should be elected king.

  26. Jai,

    […]a number of his officers are killed, Jon is caught in the explosion but “mysteriously” does not suffer any burns[…]

    In the books, I don’t think Targaryens are immune to fire — the funeral pyre during which Dany hatches her dragons was a one-time magical thing. Jon has already burned his hand when he grabbed a lamp to throw at a wight while Dany, herself, burned her hand wrenching a burning hot spear out of Drogon. So I think Jon would be toast in that scenario.

    GRRM from So Spake Martin, November 5, 1998:

    Lastly, some fans are reading too much into the scene in GAME OF THRONES where the dragons are born — which is to say, it was never the case that all Targaryens are immune to all fire at all times.

    This snippet from a March 18 1999 chat transcript linked from a 1999 So Spake Martin on westeros.org:

    Granny: Do Targaryens become immune to fire once they “bond” to their dragons?

    George_RR_Martin: Granny, thanks for asking that. It gives me a chance to clear up a common misconception. TARGARYENS ARE NOT IMMUNE TO FIRE! The birth of Dany’s dragons was unique, magical, wonderous, a miracle. She is called The Unburnt because she walked into the flames and lived. But her brother sure as hell wasn’t immune to that molten gold.

    For my part, I’m hoping Dany’s actions and choices are more nuanced and conflicted in the books. Likewise, I’m hoping the Bran as king thing is better set-up and not entirely dependent on a single speech :/

  27. So what he means to say is that the book will definitely be finished by 2023…well actually, 2024…well more than likely 2025-26… surely no later than 2027…

  28. Jai,

    I don’t really like the theory that Jaime will kill Cersei, because it seems to me that Jaime will be throwing his crimes under Cersei’s feet, blaming her for everything he’s done, but I can get behind it if it’s a mercy killing.

    I also like your idea regarding Danerys, but I don’t think it’s necessary. That would be extending the story for no reason. The set up for Danerys torching King’s Landing was already there, no need to drag it out. I feel that one of Martin’s problems in his later books is that he spends too much time on build up, not enough time on payoff.

    I disagree with you on the dialogue. It’s some of the best television has to offer. There’s a reason D&D received an Emmy nomination for Best Writing. In Season 8, we had Jon and Arya’s reunion, Brienne’s knighting, Podrick’s song, Arya and the Hound on the parapets of Winterfell, Sam finding out about his father and brother, Jon finding out about his parentage, Jon telling Danerys about his parentage, Arya and Melisandre reunite, Jon’s eulogy, Jaime says farewell to Brienne, Danerys begs Jon not to tell anyone about his parentage, Stark family meeting, Tyrion and Varys talk about loyalty, Tyrion pleads with Cersei to surrender, Tyrion turns Varys in, Tyrion says goodbye to Jaime, the Hound says goodbye to Arya, Dany’s victory speech, Tyrion quitting as Dany’s Hand, Tyrion’s speech to Jon why he should kill her, Jon talking to Danerys in the throne room, Tyrion tells Jon his sentence, Jon says goodbye to his family, among many others.

    Jon and Tyrion’s conversation was among the best scenes the show has to offer.

    I didn’t hate Tyrion’s speech regarding Bran, but I understand why others do. That wasn’t the point of that scene for me. It was the formation of a new system of government that will progress Westeros into the future.

  29. Jai: Jaime strangles Cersei as a mercy killing (and turns out to be the prophecised Valonqar) in order to save her from an excruciating death-by-fire, shortly before Dany incinerates both of them at point-blank range.

    I think the idea of Valonqar occurring to save Cersei in some form is a neat twist but I don’t think strangulation really fits the bill of mercy killing because it’s such a brutal, literally (sorry TB!) hands-on way of killing. With strangulation, you feel somebody choke to death under your palms for a prolonged period of time and the killer is required to keep that pressure for this period of time. It’s not a fast, sharp arrow/knife to the heart, a gunshot to the head, or even a pillow on the face. Strangling goes beyond that, I think.

    But is a cool twist though 🙂

  30. Ten Bears,

    Isn’t he already in Braavos with Raff? She’s not going to kill him, he’s Tyrell. Besides, and he’s not on the list and I suppose that the episode Martin is referring to is mid-book?
    My guess is

    Trant. Refugees from KL arrive at Braavos after KL has been taken by Aegon and Arianne. It’s Cersei and her sweet escorts, Trant, the Kettleblacks. Arya doesn’t know the Kettle idiots (LF’s men) but she knows the rest of them. She kills Trant but she fails to kill Cersei. When Cersei departs for the Riverlands, with Casterly Rock as her ultimate destination and her chests full of the Iron Bank’s gold, Arya decides to leave The House of Black and White. She has learned from them that the North has been re-gained for the Starks by Jon, Sansa and Stannis.
  31. Okay, first of all, THANK YOU David for such a fun and insightful article, it had me in stitches the whole way through, such a witty writing!

    And, let’s be honest, did anyone truly expect George to finish TWOW this year? Well, me tbh, but I will dramatically cry in a corner for an hour and get on with my “life”.

    I feel sad for George though, he must be very frustrated with his book, he is such a perfectionist that he will melt his brains thinking and programming and rewrite half a book if necessary just to give us the best he can, and I respect that.

    Do I want the book to be realised as soon as possible? SURE but I also want him to be in a good health, both mentally and physically, and the books will be finished, some day.

    when will that day come? I’m not entirely sure but what I do know is that I’ll be waiting as long as it takes, unless there is another awful pandemic, a Third World War or the world Explotes, because given the year that we have been having…

  32. As expected, another TWOW “update” like countless others in past years. Well to be honest, I pretty much forgot this book needs to be released in first place so it’s not really a difference for me 😂

  33. Wimsey,

    I don’t think that Martin withheld anything of importance from the producers. From what we know it’s not like he gave it to them in bulletpoints, they visited his house and stayed there for days, so they had lots of details and they discussed it through. But I do believe that at some point the show story diverged significantly since there’s the avalanche effect and since, and they have said it themselves, “they made the story their own”. And as I understand, Martin was at peace with that because he’s very experienced with TV and how it works and because this way he gets to guard some of his secrets for the book.

    For example, they kept Beric alive with the particular purpose to save Arya in the battle of the Dawn and made use of the early Arya-Melisandre scene in 8.3 which does not exist in the books. Arya kills the NK, but perhaps there will be no NK in the book either. This might imply that she kills someone else of equal importance. Cersei, or even Daenerys. And leaving Westeros for exploring? No way. In the chapter I was reading yesterday she contemplates that Braavos is not her home. Home is Winterfell. Arya is homesick, she won’t leave WF once she returns to it. She contemplates that her pack is dead; she has no brothers, she has no sisters. How will she leave them as soon as she finds them again? Not to mention that Arya, unlike other characters in the book (Tyrion, Bran), has no curiosity about the rest of the world. Braavos becomes her univerisity and she studies people, not places; she doesn’t want to see Asshai or sail through Valyria and doesn’t ever wonder “what’s west of Westeros”.

    So the show ending for Arya is significantly different from what book Arya is showing us. If they did that for Arya, who is a main, why would I believe that they didn’t do it for the other characters? The producers made choices for the ending that left much of the audience less than happy. I can believe that the broad strokes are there, as has been stated; this means that the Starks rule everything (which is turning the story on its head), Daenerys and Cersei are dead, Westeros is utterly destroyed shore to shore (which didn’t become clear in the show). But the rest? Imo there will be great differences even if Jon is exiled and Bran sits the IT. The show messed up the messages because de-characterization of the mains started veeeery early, but characterization in the books is very consistent.
    As you said, if there is a motive for Martin to write, it’s this, that the show left the audience with the feeling that saving the world is futile since you’ll be condemned by the establishment and damned by the gods, if you’re a savage criminal you’ll pay community service while actually getting to rule and Big Brother surveillance solely secures stability, if you’re a woman you can’t have both family and power, if you’re a misfit there’s no place for you so you must roam the world as an explorer.
    Whaaaaat? Is that the message? Eight seasons were all for this? I somehow doubt it. The ending may very well be the same (apart from Arya, because she’s too young in the books) but Martin will bring it about sweetly, even if its bitter.
    If we ever get that book ending though, I guess that it will become a nice trilogy or even tetralogy on the big screen within a decade of the publication of ADoS, so the non-book readers will get it. [I wish it would be Christopher Nolan to direct it]
    If ever….

  34. Efi,

    1658 of rather 1858.
    There’s lots of plots there!

    I’m hoping for a longer book myself! 🙂

    So the show ending for Arya is significantly different from what book Arya is showing us. If they did that for Arya, who is a main, why would I believe that they didn’t do it for the other characters?

    I don’t think this is evidence that the book ending for Arya will be significantly different (or other select mains). Arya leaving Westeros may be set up differently in the books — especially if Westeros becomes a significant source of pain for Arya or there’s a specific reason she’s sailing away. There might be another compelling reason for Arya to want to leave Westeros (at least for a time, maybe not forever).

    Arya has also felt restless and occupied an outsider role in Winterfell where she feels she didn’t quite fit in. She misses her family, of course, and they’ve become even more precious in hindsight but I don’t know if this alone is enough to keep her tied to Winterfell forever in a role she may not feel satisfied in or in a place that may have become too painful to be in considering all of her experiences — and there are at least two more books to go still, during which I think things will get even harder.

    The producers made choices for the ending that left much of the audience less than happy. I can believe that the broad strokes are there, as has been stated; this means that the Starks rule everything (which is turning the story on its head), Daenerys and Cersei are dead, Westeros is utterly destroyed shore to shore (which didn’t become clear in the show). But the rest? Imo there will be great differences even if Jon is exiled and Bran sits the IT. The show messed up the messages because de-characterization of the mains started veeeery early, but characterization in the books is very consistent.

    There are some things that I don’t think were set up all that well but I don’t think the endings for the mains (including Arya) were simply coming from the producers of the show. The unpopularity of these endings does more to convince me personally that they were coming from GRRM because D&D were making some very unpopular choices here. To me, it sort of feels like picking and choosing to say Arya’s end will be significantly different (and perhaps the endings for other mains) while the Starks ruling everything and Cersei and Dany dying will be the same.

    I think the show had some of the basic concepts down, concepts I think that will exist in the show too, but I’d say the execution was lacking.

    As [Wimsey] said, if there is a motive for Martin to write, it’s this, that the show left the audience with the feeling that saving the world is futile since you’ll be condemned by the establishment and damned by the gods, if you’re a savage criminal you’ll pay community service while actually getting to rule and Big Brother surveillance solely secures stability, if you’re a woman you can’t have both family and power, if you’re a misfit there’s no place for you so you must roam the world as an explorer.

    I don’t think these are the messages per say but more how some very unhappy viewers are taking the endings to these arcs. The set-up for these same endings may be different in the books and that might make all the difference in reception — or not. Over the past 20+ years, especially with the show resulting in this series becoming even more popular, people have become very attached to specific characters (and have come to hate other characters in equal measure) and I think that’s what makes some of this stuff difficult. A fan’s view of what is an appropriate ending for a character may not be the author’s view. One person’s sweet may be another person’s bitter.

    However, even when saving the world, there are consequences to choices and that’s a very Martin thing to implement and explore in-universe. One might not be rewarded for saving the world but subject to the consequences of the actions it took to get there (something Jeor tells Jon in ACOK).

    I don’t think Arya is leaving because she’s a misfit. I think it’s more that she wants to explore new lands and may not feel there is a role that is suited to her in Winterfell or Westeros (that’s the impression I got). Sansa can start a family if that’s what she wants — Ned, too, was left alone in Winterfell after the deaths of his father, older brother, and younger sister while Benjen left for the Wall. However, he was able to create his own family.

    The ending may very well be the same (apart from Arya, because she’s too young in the books) but Martin will bring it about sweetly, even if its bitter.

    I don’t know if Arya would be too young at approx. 13-15 (by ADOS) in ASOIAF, not with the experiences she’s garnered already. Kids can rule at younger ages, 12-13 year olds can be married off and made leaders in their clans. I think 13-15 would be acceptable, I’d say.

  35. Efi,

    Good point. in case of writing style, I remember George mentioned in one of his interviews that he starts with a character and writes his/her chapters one by one to the end, then goes to meet another character. moreover he does a lot of editing and rewriting. that’s one of the main reasons in my opinion that takes him too long to finish books. I believe he mentioned that he wrote 3 different stories for Quentyn on his journey to meereen, chronologically.
    as for number of book pages, martin has always mentioned that TWOW will be a very large book and probably 1500 pages of manuscript. but manuscript pages are different that published book pages. ASOS, I believe was almost 1500 pages of manuscript, but only 100 pages of book. So we can expect that we will get an approximately a 1000 page of a book.

  36. Adrianacandle: I think the idea of Valonqar occurring to save Cersei in some form is a neat twist but I don’t think strangulation really fits the bill of mercy killing because it’s such a brutal, literally (sorry TB!) hands-on way of killing. With strangulation, you feel somebody choke to death under your palms for a prolonged period of time and the killer is required to keep that pressure for this period of time. It’s not a fast, sharp arrow/knife to the heart, a gunshot to the head, or even a pillow on the face. Strangling goes beyond that, I think.

    But is a cool twist though 🙂

    • No need to apologize! You used “literally” correctly AND made a nice pseudo-pun out of “hands-on.” 😏

    • Allow me to interject a re-whinge of mine: I still say Jaime cannot be the Valonqar because the prophecy says the little brother will wrap his hands (plural) around Cersei’s pale white throat, and Jaime only has one hand (singular). Counting a prosthetic golden hand would be cheating, especially since (on the show, at least) Jaime cannot use that inflexible prosthesis to hold a shovel or grip a sword. How would he be able to “wrap” it around someone’s throat and use it to “choke” the life out of that person?
    Jaime only has one hand. In my book, while he may have started out as a 3-1 favorite among the betting public, I have downgraded him to a long shot in the Valonqar Sweepstakes* – or in horse racing parlance, I predict a DNF (“Did Not Finish”).
    🐎
    I expect GRRM to fulfill the prophecy with a twist upon a twist: Cersei thinks it’s Tyrion; the reader suspects it’s really Jaime; and then GRRM ultimately reveals it’s someone else.
    * (I had elevated a dark horse candidate, Jon Snow aka little brother Aegon T, to the top of the field right before post time. However, I had based that wager on S6 and S7 of the show (including Jon + LF in WF crypts in S7e2), which did not fulfill my prediction in S8. 🤦🏻‍♂️ Mixing and matching show canon and book canon is probably not a good idea anyway, particularly since the show omitted the Valonqar prophecy from the Young Cersei visit to Magy the Frog in the S5 cold open.)

    • Good observation about slow, agonizing death by manual strangulation vs. quick, mercy killing methods. As one noted criminal justice scholar would describe the latter:

    Where’s the punishment in that? All over in an instant.”

    – Sandor Clegane, PhD

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FvILT4w8mOM

    at 3:15

  37. Ten Bears,

    Allow me to interject a re-whinge of mine: I still say Jaime cannot be the Valonqar because the prophecy says the little brother will wrap his hands (plural) around Cersei’s pale white throat, and Jaime only has one hand (singular). Counting a prosthetic golden hand would be cheating, especially since (on the show, at least) Jaime cannot use that inflexible prosthesis to hold a shovel or grip a sword. How would he be able to “wrap” it around someone’s throat and use it to “choke” the life out of that person?

    Ooooh, that’s a good point — and one I keep forgetting (that Jaime only has one hand). Yeah, I don’t think it’d be possible for Jaime to choke Cersei to death with only the one hand. He’s not Wun-Wun (is Wun-Wun a little brother? 🙂 )

    I expect GRRM to fulfill the prophecy with a twist upon a twist: Cersei thinks it’s Tyrion; the reader suspects it’s really Jaime; and then GRRM ultimately reveals it’s someone else.

    Right, I don’t think it’s Tyrion for these reasons either — or Jaime for the reasons you brought up above. I think it’d be unexpected to have Jon fulfill this and this does make him a good dark horse candidate since he also fits the bill… but I also wonder, in light of the show’s ending, if that’d be assigning Jon too much to do. Jon does hate the Lannisters, yes, but I’m wondering if Volonquar needs to be somebody who has a more personal history with Cersei since the method of killing is so personal and agonizing?

    For that reason, I’ve often thought of Arya as Volonqar — but does she have the physical strength and size to strangle Cersei? Ditto for Dany. Both would fulfill the younger sibling bit but they are also both anatomically small, slender young girls without a ton of muscle and (I’d expect) small hands. I know Dany mercy-smothered Drogo with a pillow but that can be done with small hands and Drogo wasn’t fighting back since he was in a vegetative state.

    I’d speculate Brienne but she’s an only child.

    So I’m stumped with Volonqar :/

    (And thanks for the clip! XD)

  38. Adrianacandle,

    “…Arya leaving Westeros may be set up differently in the books — especially if Westeros becomes a significant source of pain for Arya or there’s a specific reason she’s sailing away.”

    Hmmm. Pondering if Arya will sail away
    Was that a subliminal suggestion to post Track #1 on my Arya Compilation Album (counterpart to final scene in S4e10 + final montage in S8e6)?

    ‘Cause I was going to dedicate today’s Musical Interlude to GRRM himself, in keeping with the theme of the post and comments below it.

  39. Ten Bears: Hmmm. Pondering if Arya will sail away…
    Was that a subliminal suggestion to post Track #1 on my Arya Compilation Album (counterpart to final scene in S4e10 + final montage in S8e6)?

    Yes, it was a subliminal suggestion since the song is now stuck in my head, replacing yesterday’s ‘Psycho Killer’ c/o Heroes 😉

    But I am curious as to what you selected for GRRM!

  40. Adrianacandle:
    Efi,
    […]I don’t think these are the messages per say but more how some very unhappy viewers are taking the endings to these arcs. The set-up for these same endings may be different in the books and that might make all the difference in reception — or not. Over the past 20+ years, especially with the show resulting in this series becoming even more popular, people have become very attached to specific characters (and have come to hate other characters in equal measure) and I think that’s what makes some of this stuff difficult. A fan’s view of what is an appropriate ending for a character may not be the author’s view. One person’s sweet may be another person’s bitter.[…]

    I should amend this part of my post to include that I also share some of these feelings that the ending felt personally a bit more on the nihilistic side to me (I was also a viewer who wasn’t over the moon about the ending of GoT) — but in perhaps different ways than Efi does. However, I don’t think these are messages that the show was trying to send — or even GRRM’s messages should he proceed with these endings. I think there’s a sense in several of the endings (for example, I think it’s realistic within the established laws and customs of Westeros and the ASOIAF universe that there will be consequences to queenslaying, kinslaying, and oath breaking on a social, spiritual, and personal level, thus the exile — even though I don’t love it), even if some are more bitter than I’d like, make me sad, and despite my reservations over how these conclusions came about.

    However, I think there was intent to mix in some hope (or peace or release) among the bitter.

  41. Adrianacandle,

    ”Jon does hate the Lannisters, yes, but I’m wondering if Volonquar needs to be somebody who has a more personal history with Cersei since the method of killing is so personal and agonizing?”

    That is why I had Sandor Clegane as 4:1 runner-up in early odds for the Valonqar Sweepstakes.
    He’s the little Clegane brother, and grew up right next to the Lannisters in Casterly Rock.

    Like my tinfoiling of Jon aka Aegon 2.0 as Valonqar, I could envision Cersei capturing or threatening Sansa or Arya, enraging Sandor so much that he would not hesitate to give Cersei a slow agonizing death once he got his hands on her.

    The only glitch (aside from show! Sandor allowing Cersei to skeedaddle right by him in S8e5, to my great disappointment), is that Sandor would probably be able to choke Cersei to death with one hand while drinking her wine and eating her lunch with the other. 🍷 🐓🐓

    (Cue Arya coaching Sandor by channeling Syrio: “One hand is all that is needed.”) 🙂

  42. Ten Bears: That is why I had Sandor Clegane as 4:1 runner-up in early odds for the Valonqar Sweepstakes.
    He’s the little Clegane brother, and grew up right next to the Lannisters in Casterly Rock.

    Like my tinfoiling of Jon aka Aegon 2.0 as Valonqar, I could envision Cersei capturing or threatening Sansa or Arya, enraging Sandor so much that he would not hesitate to give Cersei a slow agonizing death once he got his hands on her.

    The only glitch (aside from show! Sandor allowing Cersei to skeedaddle right by him in S8e5, to my great disappointment), is that Sandor would probably be able to choke Cersei to death with one hand while drinking her wine and eating her lunch with the other. 🍷 🐓🐓

    (Cue Arya coaching Sandor by channeling Syrio: “One hand is all that is needed.”) 🙂

    I’ve been mispelling ‘Valonqar’ :(!!!

    I’ve entertained the thought of Sandor being Valonqar too (and he’s a speculated candidate on the westeros.org wiki!). Cersei does view Sandor as a “traitor and a brute”, wanting him dead — but not for fear of him being the prophesized Valonqar but for the treason of desertion (although, Cersei publicly claims she dismissed him rather than admitting Sandor ditched Joffrey and King’s Landing) so I don’t think she’d entertain Sandor as a possibility. Sandor barely grazes her thoughts. I think that makes him a good candidate. Cersei wouldn’t see that coming with her thoughts focused on her own younger brother who hates her (and who she hates) — Tyrion 🙂

    The only glitch (aside from show! Sandor allowing Cersei to skeedaddle right by him in S8e5, to my great disappointment), is that Sandor would probably be able to choke Cersei to death with one hand while drinking her wine and eating her lunch with the other. 🍷 🐓🐓

    True, but I’m sure he’d make a concession just to be sure 😉

  43. Ten Bears,

    Yeah. I think the valonqar might be Arya. The prophecy says “the valonqar” not “your valonqar”. It’s all about protecting the family, and Cersei’s obsessed enough to want to hurt e.g. Sansa or Jon Snow. Plus, Arya is Sansa’s sister who imo is the only one who has all the credits for being the younger more beautiful queen (supposing the two prophecies are connected).

  44. Efi,

    The younger more beautiful “queen” should be in quotation marks, because the prophecy doesn’t mention “queen”. So it might be “woman”, “girl”, “brother” (?! lol , this is what actually happened) or sth else entirely (Nymeria?).

  45. Efi: The younger more beautiful “queen” should be in quotation marks, because the prophecy doesn’t mention “queen”. So it might be “woman”, “girl”, “brother” (?! lol , this is what actually happened) or sth else entirely (Nymeria?).

    To this end, since it doesn’t mention gender or this person being a queen, I wonder if Young Griff (younger, who I think is said to be quite handsome), Dany (younger, described as beautiful, is a queen), or perhaps even Brienne (also younger and while not physically beautiful apart from her eyes, she may be more beautiful in spirit or may be seen as more beautiful in a way by Jaime?) might also be this “another” (in addition to Sansa).

    I’m also entertaining the idea that Brienne might be Valonqar. She has the ability to strangle Cersei and could find her motive via Jaime. While I didn’t get the impression that Valonqar was all about protecting family, it might be a motive (depending on who Valonqar is). However, strangulation is a very distinct way of killing so I’m hung up on that…

  46. On the topic of Cersei’s end (who will be the younger, more beautiful one to cast her down and take all she holds dear, who will be Valonqar), I remembered Alt Shift X did a video on this topic that I completely forgot about. It goes over several theories.

  47. Adrianacandle,

    ”…I’m wondering if Volonquar needs to be somebody who has a more personal history with Cersei since the method of killing is so personal and agonizing?

    For that reason, I’ve often thought of Arya as Volonqar — but does she have the physical strength and size to strangle Cersei? Ditto for Dany. Both would fulfill the younger sibling bit but they are also both anatomically small, slender young girls without a ton of muscle…”

    • I eliminated females from my Valonqar Sweepstakes only because:

    (a) As grammarian King Stannis would point out, the prophecy as worded specifically refers to “his hands” (masculine). GRRM could have easily phrased it differently if he intended to embrace both genders, e.g., he could have avoided using the pronoun “his.”

    (b) There is no indication that the Valyrian word for “little brother” is gender-neutral, unlike Book! Aemon’s and Show! Missandei’s translation of the PTWP prophecy to mean “the Prince or Princess” That Was Promised.
    Dragons may be genderless. I don’t think that extends to binary-sexed humans or to all Valyrian words for humans.
    Again, GRRM could’ve left this ambiguous if that’s what he intended. (E.g., in English, words like “doctor” aren’t gender-specific.) He didn’t. He used the masculine word “his,” and I assume the only in-universe translation of “Valonqar” was that it meant little “brother” – not “sibling.”

    (c) As much as I’d enjoy Arya dispatching everyone on her List – and in fact, wiping out every single villain and villainess 🙂 – I’ve always felt that fan speculation that Arya might steal Jaime’s face and kill Cersei masquerading as her twin brother would be a little cheesy. Besides, Arya would still be a “she” even if wearing a guy’s face.

    (d) Now, as I understand it (correct me if I am wrong), in the books Arya has not (yet) whacked anyone while wearing a face mask. On the show, she used that trick three times already. Doing it a fourth time would be [excuse the pun] overkill. I’m glad the show didn’t use that trick again; otherwise any time two or more characters were in a scene together I’d be wondering “Hey, is [Character X] really Arya in disguise?” If book! Arya was going to be Cersei’s strangler (and assuming D&D were aware of GRRM’s intended reveal), I would think the show would not have diluted the impact of Arya’s face-changing by using it, three times, first to enable Arya to exsanguinate Meryn F*cking Trant in S5e10; then to terminate Walder Frey and implicitly, his two “damn moron sons” in S6e10; and yet again to exterminate the rest of House Frey’s Red Wedding perpetrators in S7e1.

    (e) [Excuse the show! + books! conflation]: I would think the reference to “Dark Sister” in Arya’s show-only scene with Tywin would’ve been too enticing to pass up if “Valonqar” could mean a little sister, and Arya was meant to be the one to fulfill that prophecy. (Again, that would also be overkill, since show! Arya was already The Lord’s Chosen and The Princess that was promised who brought the dawn. I mean, she can’t do everything. Or can she? 👸🏻)

    (f) While Sansa certainly has the requisite personal connection to Cersei and every reason to want to snuff her out, I don’t believe (as you pointed out) that Sansa has been portrayed as
    having the physical strength to asphyxiate someone with her bare hands. (Hungry dogs as her proxy, yes. 🐕 🐶 Arya as her executioner, yes. 👸🏻🔪 Hands-on single combat…not so much. 🕊)
    And while Brienne would certainly have the physical strength do the job, I’m not sure she has the personal connection with Cersei or the personal animus to choke the life out of her. If anything, Brienne would execute Cersei in a swift, dignified manner – like show! Brienne did when she foolishly executed the One True King in the name of the treasonous would-be Usurper Renly.

    (g) Even if we assumed for the sake of argument that “Valonqar” could mean any younger sibling of either sex, rather than only the youngest* brother of two or more male siblings, are there any other female characters who’d even qualify as a candidate?

    * I’d also suggest that just like when Margaery told LF she wanted to be “the queen” and not just “a queen,” the use of the definite article in the term “the Valonqar” (as opposed to the indefinite article, e.g., “a Valonqar” or “any little brother”) identifies a specific person rather than a class of persons.
    That, to me, indicated that GRRM might be alluding to someone who’d be identified within a family as “the” little brother, and not merely any one of several younger brothers. (This could be a stretch though. It would, however, readily distinguish Aegon 2.0 from his older, deceased brother Aegon 1.0, e.g., Q: “Which Aegon?” A: “The little brother.”)

    • Oh, and another thing or two about my tinfoil elevation of Jon Snow aka Aegon T 2.0 from early 50:1 long shot to 2:1 odds-on favorite:

    – It was curious that Magy used a High Valyrian word in her prophecy. To me, that suggested that the Valonqar would be a member of a Valyrian family (or as Dany would say, someone who has “the blood of Old Valyria”), i.e., a Targ.
    Or else, why wouldn’t Magy just say “the Little Brother” or some generic English word, instead of using an esoteric Valyrian word that Young Cersei wouldn’t understand without a translator?
    (It’d be like addressing someone in an English-speaking country as “Frau” or “Fraulein”: you’d assume that person was a German or Austrian woman. There’s an old Ricky Nelson song that illustrates this. Maybe I’ll link it some other time. I’m digressing…. Sorry. 🤥)

    – Purely from a narratively satisfying perspective, I thought it’d be a delicious twist if:

    (a) The Lannisters assumed they’d already extinguished House Targaryen’s line of royal succession long ago during the tail end of Robert’s Rebellion, by Jaime Lannister’s assassinating King Aerys, and Tywin Lannister ordering the slaughter of toddler Aegon 1.0, at around the same time his father Prince Rhaegar was killed at the Trident. [I forget who died first: Rhaegar at the Trident or his son in KL?].
    And then of course nutty beggar prince Viserys – Rhaegar’s brother – later got himself killed in a far away land before he could even try to return home to reclaim the throne.

    (b) The Lannisters, first through Jaime & Cersei’s two incest bastard sons, King Joffrey and King Tommen (in furtherance of Tywin’s objective to establish a “dynasty”) and then through Queen Cersi herself, thought that all rival claimants had been eliminated [regicide-by-boar: very creative Cersei; and nice going, Kingslayer Brienne], firmly establishing themselves as the royal family.

    (c) After all that time, for a Targaryen heir – a “little brother” nobody even knew existed – to be the one who’d come along and end Cersei’s life, fulfilling the prophecy she’d been obsessed with avoiding and ending her and her family’s reign once and for all, could be a juicy “Oh, f*ck me!” shock to Cersei – and perhaps the fandom too, if GRRM sets it up that way.

    • Afterthought: I remain convinced that there is no way that Random Brick #235 will turn out to be the Valonqar. GRRM has got to have something different in mind. Besides, as other commenters have reminded me (thanks for the snark! 😎) I did not include Random Brick #235 or its little brother Ceiling Tile #428B in my Valonqar Sweepstakes scorecard.

  48. Ten Bears,

    Those are good speculations and some great points!

    Re: female Valonqar. As you noted, Maggie used a High Valyrian word in her prophecy. This from the wiki:

    As supporting evidence, a translation error discussed in A Feast for Crows is often cited. According to Maester Aemon, the prophecy about the prince that was promised, which thus far had been interpreted to indicate a man, could have been incorrectly translated. Aemon, because of this, comes to believe that the prophecy could refer to a woman, stating “The error crept in from the translation. Dragons are neither male nor female, Barth saw the truth of that, but now one and now the other, as changeable as flame. The language misled us all for a thousand years.”.[33] Readers have taken this to indicate that the word used in the prophecy concerning the prince that was promised is gender-neutral, and thus, that there might be more gender-neutral words in the old Valyrian language, with “valonqar” being their candidate.

    David Peterson, who created the High Valyrian used on HBO’s Game of Thrones, has commented on the assumption, claiming that “[Aemon’s quote] says nothing whatever about the gender system of High Valyrian”. He stressed that Aemon, in A Feast for Crows, was speaking about biological gender (i.e., dragons being able to change their gender from male to female, or vice versa), not grammatical gender, and that grammatical and biological gender need not be tied to one another. To explain further, Peterson stated “English is a gender neutral language. We have gendered third person singular pronouns, but outside of that, English has no grammatical genders the way Spanish, French and Italian do. “Prince” is grammatically gender neutral. Semantically, though, it’s male, just as the words “man”, “bachelor”, “father” and “son” are. That these words exist says nothing about the grammatical gender system of English.” According to Peterson, the High Valyrian word originally used in the prophecy that was translated as “prince” in the Common Tongue (i.e. English) can refer to both men and women, with Aemon’s comment referring to the assumption, given the context, that the person prophesied must be male.[34]

    The use of “his” might point to a male, yes. However, it could be an assumption or interpretative translation on Maggy’s part (which is also noted in the show).

    It was curious that Magy used a High Valyrian word in her prophecy. To me, that suggested that the valonqar would be a member of a Valyrian family (or as Dany would say, someone who has “the blood of Old Valyria”), i.e., a Targ.

    Perhaps but it may be just the ancient language from which the prophecy originates in rather than the usage of Valyrian indicating the Valonqar must be a person who has Valyrian blood (sort of like The Prince That Was Promised, a prophecy I gather that also originated in the language of Valyrian(?) since Maester Aemon believed there was a translation error).

    I’d also suggest that just like when Margaery told LF she wanted to be “the queen” and not just “a queen,” the use of the definite article in the term “the Valonqar” (as opposed to the indefinite article, e.g., “a Valonqar” or “any little brother”) identifies a specific person rather than a class of persons.

    That, to me, indicated that GRRM might be alluding to someone who’d be identified within a family as “the” little brother, and not merely any one of several younger brothers. (This could be a stretch though. It would, however, readily distinguish Aegon 2.0 from his older, deceased brother Aegon 1.0, e.g., Q: “Which Aegon?” A: “The little brother.”)

    Yes, that may be what it’s indicating but I think it could also mean that there exists only one valonqar in all the world rather than pointing to this person needing being the youngest in the family.

    If the phrasing was a valonqar, it would make it seem like there are multiple valonqars running around when there is only one to fulfill this role.

    Or else, why wouldn’t Magy just say “the Little Brother” or some generic English word, instead of using an esoteric Valyrian word that Young Cersei wouldn’t understand without a translator?

    I’d imagine because a) sounds fancier, more ominous (to the reader) and b) it adds another piece for Cersei to suss out (the meaning of valonqar).

    [I forget who died first: Rhaegar at the Trident or his son in KL?]

    I think it was Rhaegar who died first because the Battle for the Trident occurs before the Sack of King’s Landing, during which is when Aerys gets news of Rhaegar’s death. This prompts Aerys to send his heir (Viserys) and wife to Dragonstone but refused to let Elia, Aegon, and Rhaenys go as well to prevent Dorne from rebelling.

    (c) After all that time, for a Targaryen heir – a “little brother” nobody even knew existed – to be the one who’d come along and end Cersei’s life, fulfilling the prophecy she’d been obsessed with avoiding and ending her and her family’s reign once and for all, could be a juicy “Oh, f*ck me!” shock to Cersei – and perhaps the fandom too, if GRRM sets it up that way.

    Sure and while I’m not opposed to Jon being the valonqar, the only thing is that if Jon is killing Dany too, I think Jon killing Cersei as well would be a bit too much, even if the methods, manner, emotion, and circumstances of dispatch differ between the two. I’m not saying this rules out Jon as a possibility but I think it’d be a bit much narratively for the same person to be doing both these killings especially if they’re to happening within (I’m guessing) within the same/similar spans of time.

    Afterthought: I remain convinced that there is no way that Random Brick #235 will turn out to be the Valonqar. GRRM has got to have something different in mind. Besides, as other commenters have reminded me (thanks for the snark! ) I did not include Random Brick #235 or its little brother Ceiling Tile #428B in my Valonqar Sweepstakes scorecard.

    What?? But Younger Brick is my leading contender! (Joking, I agree with you XD)

    Watching that Alt Shift X video, there’s also another item which may bring Jaime back into the game. It’s possible that Jaime may use a chain of hands (the chain used for the Hand of the King) to choke Cersei to death. The westeros.org wiki, which also introduces this possibility, reminds me of this passage:

    “His natural daughter?” Lady Sybell looked as if she had swallowed a lemon. “You want a Westerling to wed a bastard?”

    “No more than I want Joy to marry the son of some scheming turncloak bitch. She deserves better.” Jaime would happily have strangled the woman with her seashell necklace. Joy was a sweet child, albeit a lonely one; her father had been Jaime’s favorite uncle.

  49. Efi:
    Ten Bears,

    Yeah. I think the valonqar might be Arya. The prophecy says “the valonqar” not “your valonqar”. It’s all about protecting the family, and Cersei’s obsessed enough to want to hurt e.g. Sansa or Jon Snow. Plus, Arya is Sansa’s sister who imo is the only one who has all the credits for being the younger more beautiful queen (supposing the two prophecies are connected).

    • Yes, as to the use of the term “the Valonqar” rather than “your Valonqar. As I speculated above,
    GRRM’s use of the definite article “the” rather then the indefinite “a” or “any” was deliberate.
    By the same token, as you pointed out, GRRM
    did not have Magy say “your” Valonqar or “your” brother (or sister).
    Assuming GRRM carefully phrased the prophecy, he likely intended it to be vague enough so that Cersei would readily jump to the conclusion that it had to refer to the little brother she despised so much, and had accused of killing her mom (thanks to the malignant influence of Father of the Year Tywin), when in fact if she’d thought about it dispassionately, she might have logically deduced that the prophecy probably referred to someone else’s little brother, i.e., someone outside her family. Or else – as you observed – Magy could’ve said “Your Valonqar.”

    Despite all of the other shaky or contorted prophecies in the books, which Tyrion described as [something like] donkeys who could suddenly kick you or whores that could bite someone’s member while fellating him*,

    * As you know, I have not read the books, though I am aware from discussions here that book! Tyrion had some colorful analogies to describe unreliable and misleading prophecies. I don’t recall the exact wording of Tyrion’s descriptions. I hope you know what I’m talking about.

    • However, as I also tried to explain above,
    I am not sure how Arya could fulfill the prophecy because she is not a “brother” and her hands are not “his hands.”

    • As poor little androgynous-looking tomboy Arya has had to frequently remind people who mistake her for Ned’s son: “I’m a girl!” Even dullard Polliver, in the Harrenhal scene, thought Arya was a boy until Tywin castigated him: “You idiot! This one’s a girl.”
    I don’t think GRRM would rely on Arya’s gender-defying clothing and physical appearance to shoehorn her into the masculine prophecy. I could be wrong. Perhaps the last thing book! Cersei ever sees – or thinks she sees – is a little boy crushing her windpipe. (“Wait, WTF? Who are you? Arry the orphan boy? I thought that malformed imp brother of mine would be … Get off me! … argh! .. gag … gasp gurgle .”)

    • [Ultra-Tinfoil Alert] Now, I know this will never happen, particularly because it’s unlikely GRRM could envision a way to portray it believably based on medical science decades ago, even if adopted as “magic” or as a mad scientist Qyburn experiment…. I’ll cover this with spoiler coding so as not to offend, though that’s hardly my intention.

    A far-fetched fulfillment of the prophecy would require a gender-fluid or transgender character: perhaps someone Cersei knew as a girl or had just assumed was a girl, who turned out to be a boy.
    For Cersei, who often bemoaned her treatment as a “broodmare” because of her sex, and mused that she should’ve been born a boy because she had more of the Lannister verve than Jaime, perhaps it would be karma to be choked to death by a girl or woman who had successfully navigated that tradition in a patriarchal, misogynistic world.

    That Brienne had often been derided as masculine-looking, or had proved herself more than capable in competing against men in traditionally masculine martial pursuits, could make her a viable candidate for this role of a woman perceived by Cersei to be a man, especially if her gender were obscured by armor and a helmet. However, I’m not aware that Brienne had any brothers or sisters. (I thought she was an only child. I could be wrong.)
    And if I recall correctly, the scene in which Cersei meets Brienne at Joffrey’s wedding party was a show-only creation, even though GRRM scripted that episode.
    Is there anything in the books indicating Brienne would have ample reason to administer to Cersei an an “up close and personal” death by strangulation? From the show, she struck me as someone who’d go about an execution in a business-like manner, without causing unnecessary pain to the condemned person. I also assume someone who aspired to be a knight would not torture a victim; if she had to kill an adversary she would do so with “honor.” Then again, if she didn’t have a sword, I suppose a rock (sorry Sandor) or her bare hands would have to do.

    • I was a little unclear. When you wrote: “Plus, Arya is Sansa’s sister who imo is the only one who has all the credits for being the younger more beautiful queen (supposing the two prophecies are connected)”, I hope you meant that Arya will turn out to be the Younger, More Beautiful Queen. 👸🏻

    If so, that had always been my impression from the show, and from my own two eyes: A critic once described Maisie Williams as “the Many-Faced Goddess” for her chameleon-like ability to change her look from boyish to glamorous. I concur. Even in her mid-S7 – S8 combat suit and pulled-back hairdo, Arya looked beautiful. If show! Lyanna (Aisling Franciosi) was the standard, Arya exceeded it. (I understand and appreciate that the show didn’t give Arya a cliche “makeover” scene, e.g., put Arya in a flowing white dress and take down her hair to look like show! Lyanna Stark in her S7e7(?) flashback wedding scene.)

    From my second-hand knowledge of the books, there are even more indications that horse face “Arya Underfoot” could blossom into a Lyanna Stark doppelgänger, i.e., a “wild beauty.”
    I thought book! Ned told Arya she looked like Lyanna; the “Kindly Man” told her she was attractive; and there was a passage – with Gendry? -in which she had to put on a dress, and looked rather fetching.

    For a reliable show-based assessment, I’ll refer to my go-to primary source for objective reporting:

    I can’t believe I thought you were a boy. You’re pretty!

    – Hot Pie, S7e2

  50. A dance with Dragons should have included the big battle in Meereen. But because of the 5 years gap events there was no more room. The Winds of Winter will contain that battle and it’s safe to say that it was completed since 2011 or even before that.
    George already pre-released 9 chapters from TWoW.
    In this post he told us that he just finished 3 chapters in one month.
    So we know for sure that he already has completed 12 chapters and the battle in Meereen.
    Last year he said he will have TWoW in his hand in July 2020 or else, imprisonment. I think just as Jon Snow though us, “words stopped meaning anything”. What I think George actually says is: “it’s not the right time to publish The Winds of Winter.”
    And he’s right. It would have been a restricted event, with social distancing and so on. Not his heart’s desire.
    Although George, we would read TWoW in this isolation over and over.

  51. Ten Bears,

    However, I’m not aware that Brienne had any brothers or sisters. (I thought she was an only child. I could be wrong.)

    She had one older brother who died at age 8 — something I totally forgot but remembered after the fact.

    Is there anything in the books indicating Brienne would have ample reason to administer to Cersei an an “up close and personal” death by strangulation? From the show, she struck me as someone who’d go about an execution in a business-like manner, without causing unnecessary pain to the condemned person. I also assume someone who aspired to be a knight would not torture a victim; if she had to kill an adversary she would do so with “honor.” Then again, if she didn’t have a sword, I suppose a rock (sorry Sandor) or her bare hands would have to do.

    I don’t think Brienne is the strongest contender for this prophecy but I think she might be able to do so if she’s pushed by some extraordinary circumstances: she hits an emotional breaking point, if her relationship with Jaime is developed enough and something happens to him because of Cersei that drives her to this action in which she reacts out of fury, if she’s suffering exhaustion and at the mental end of her rope, and if circumstances push her to an extraordinary response like this whereas regularly, yes, she’d dispatch the target in a far quicker, cleaner way.

    It’s shaky no doubt and I’m not entirely sold, I have some reservations due to the manner of killing, but I’d say it’s within the realm of entertaining the possibility without knowing what she’ll be experiencing in the next books.

    I do like Jai’s idea of a twist on this (Jaime mercy killing Cersei to spare her a more brutal death) but I don’t think the manner of killing works for that. Strangulation, especially, feels like it’s being driven by a real hatred or an intense in-the-heat-of-the-moment emotion.

  52. Ten Bears: I thought book! Ned told Arya she looked like Lyanna; the “Kindly Man” told her she was attractive; and there was a passage – with Gendry? -in which she had to put on a dress, and looked rather fetching.

    With the dress, are you thinking of this passage? 😀

    It was even worse than before; Lady Smallwood insisted that Arya take another bath, and cut and comb her hair besides; the dress she put her in this time was sort of lilac-colored, and decorated with little baby pearls. The only good thing about it was that it was so delicate that no one could expect her to ride in it. So the next morning as they broke their fast, Lady Smallwood gave her breeches, belt, and tunic to wear, and a brown doeskin jerkin dotted with iron studs. “They were my son’s things,” she said. “He died when he was seven.”

    “I’m sorry, my lady.” Arya suddenly felt bad for her, and ashamed. “I’m sorry I tore the acorn dress too. It was pretty.

    Yes, child. And so are you. Be brave.”

    The other passages I think you’re thinking of?

    “It has a name, does it?” Her father sighed. “Ah, Arya. You have a wildness in you, child. ‘The wolf blood,’ my father used to call it. Lyanna had a touch of it, and my brother Brandon more than a touch. It brought them both to an early grave.” Arya heard sadness in his voice; he did not often speak of his father, or of the brother and sister who had died before she was born. “Lyanna might have carried a sword, if my lord father had allowed it. You remind me of her sometimes. You even look like her.

    “You believe this is the only place for you.” It was as if he’d heard her thoughts. “You are wrong in that. You would find softer service in the household of some merchant. Or would you sooner be a courtesan, and have songs sung of your beauty?

    “Wear this when you are here,” the priest said, “but know that you shall have little need of it for the present. On the morrow you will go to Izembaro to begin your first apprenticeship. Take what clothes you will from the vaults below. The city watch is looking for a certain ugly girl, known to frequent the Purple Harbor, so best you have a new face as well.” He cupped her chin, turned her head this way and that, nodded. “A pretty one this time, I think. As pretty as your own. Who are you, child?”

    However, I don’t know if this makes Arya physically more beautiful than Cersei (in the way Sansa, Dany, and perhaps Margaery are) but a different type of beauty (I think Lyanna might be more striking than conventionally beautiful. I think Cersei, Sansa, Dany, Myrcella, Val, and Margaery, etc. all have conventional beauty while I get the impression that Lyanna is more of a wild beauty but less conventionally so).

    Yet that may not even matter. As noted in the Alt Shift X video above when he references theories suggesting Brienne may be the beautiful “another” to cast Cersei down, it may not be about physical beauty:

    But there’s also another cool possibility in Brienne, the one who takes Cersei’s dear Jaime from her. Brienne is younger than Cersei. But she isn’t more beautiful – in fact in the books, Brienne is very ugly — so ugly that she’s called “the Beauty” as a cruel sarcastic joke. But some fans argue that Brienne has a metaphorical inner beauty – her heroism, loyalty and kindness. Which does sound a bit lame and cliché, but it could make sense for Maggy the Frog.

    Maggy in the show looks like a sexy Halloween witch, but Maggy in the books is very ugly. Maybe she’d want to teach vain young Cersei a lesson by referring to a woman’s inner beauty. Also, Catelyn thinks that Brienne’s eyes are “beautiful”, and she thinks that just after saying she’d like to wrap her hands around Cersei’s “white throat” and choke her — almost the exact wording of Maggy’s valonqar prediction.

    So there’s definitely some connection here between Brienne and Maggy’s prophecy.

    Here is the Catelyn passage from ACOK that is being referred to:

    “You’re wrong,” Catelyn said sharply. “Every morning, when I wake, I remember that Ned is gone. I have no skill with swords, but that does not mean that I do not dream of riding to King’s Landing and wrapping my hands around Cersei Lannister’s white throat and squeezing until her face turns black.”

    The Beauty raised her eyes, the only part of her that was truly beautiful. “If you dream that, why would you seek to hold me back? Is it because of what Stannis said at the parley?”

    Now, I’d still say this is kind of a reach (for both valonqar and the beautiful ‘another’)… but it’s fun to consider all the same 🙂

  53. Efi,

    Edit: (Timer ran out..)

    I meant to condense my last comment, AND to add that despite the in-universe warnings against accepting prophecies at face value, Magy the Frog has a perfect track record. Her predictions have always come true, even if the recipients, like Cersei, made incorrect assumptions and reinterpreted then to fit their own confirmation biases.

    By contrast, Melisandre and to some extent Kinvara, shoehorned prophecies into their own religious template, or simply misinterpreted visions. I also suspect that the “ancient” prophecies recited by Melisandre (e.g., the S2e1 “Warrior of Light” analog to the books’ Azor Ahai prophecy), must’ve been so embellished in their retelling over the millennia that they’re 10% accurate and 90% added-on window dressing.

    By S7e2, when Melisandre showed up on Dragonstone, even she had retreated from taking prophecies at face value. (Not surprising considering her disastrous conviction that Stannis was the Lord’s Chosen and her anointing Stannis as the PTWP, inducing him to doom himself and his family). In S5 she (inexplicably) seized on Jon as PTWP. By S7, instead of committing to a PTWP, Melisandre hedged, admitted prophecies were tricky, and merely said that Dany, like Jon Snow, “had a role to play.”

    Don’t get me wrong. I like it that “prophecies” are revealed to be 9 parts propaganda and misconception, and 1 part fact. I like it that just as in the real world, different cultures have their own iterations of the same prophesies. I like it that what were probably mundane historical events in the distant past involving regular guys, are transformed over time into mythic feats of legendary heroes. (The show had presented the recurring theme of how “official” accounts are often a fictionalized revision or even a total inversion of what really happened, but kind of abandoned this theme by the final two seasons.)

    I also like it that Magy the Frog kind of gives ASOIAF a MacBeth vibe: there’s a prophet who provides 100% accurate predictions, yet the character hearing them either: (a) ensures they come true by trying to prevent them from coming true, or (b) puts his or her own self-serving positive spin on them and doesn’t realize they’re about to come true – literally (apologies, adrianacandle) – until it’s too late.

  54. Ten Bears: In S5 she (inexplicably) seized on Jon as PTWP.

    (I’m sorry for replying to another response of yours!)

    I don’t think this was so inexplicable — I think the idea was that Melisandre realized she was wrong about Stannis, which shakes her faith to the core and she comes to believe the Lord of Light never spoke to her. However, when she is able to bring Jon back from the dead, something Melisandre views as a feat which shouldn’t be possible, this seems to restore her faith in that the Lord of Light is working through her after all and believes the Lord of Light brought Jon back for a reason.

    In the books, it seems Melisandre’s visions are correct but she’s misinterpreting/mistranslating them — all but for one, when she warns Jon about “daggers in the dark” and Jon dismisses this because Melisandre was wrong about Arya, who turned out to be Alys. And then, at the end of that same chapter, he’s shanked.

    When she asks for a glimpse of Azor Ahai:

    Yet now she could not even seem to find her king. I pray for a glimpse of Azor Ahai, and R’hllor shows me only Snow.

    And Melisandre talks about the trickiness of interpreting visions:

    Whenever she was asked what she saw within her fires, Melisandre would answer, “Much and more,” but seeing was never as simple as those words suggested. It was an art, and like all arts it demanded mastery, discipline, study. Pain. That too. R’hllor spoke to his chosen ones through blessed fire, in a language of ash and cinder and twisting flame that only a god could truly grasp. Melisandre had practiced her art for years beyond count, and she had paid the price. There was no one, even in her order, who had her skill at seeing the secrets half-revealed and half-concealed within the sacred flames.

    But she does get things wrong and that may be due to seeing what she expects to see rather than understanding what she’s being shown.
    _____

    Don’t get me wrong. I like it that “prophecies” are revealed to be 9 parts propaganda and misconception, and 1 part fact. I like it that just as in the real world, different cultures have their own iterations of the same prophesies. I like it that what were probably mundane historical events in the distant past involving regular guys, are transformed over time into mythic feats of legendary heroes.

    Yes, it’s true that different cultures all have their own version of the legend Azor Ahai. However, I don’t know if these legends are totally all down to mundane historical events turning these guys into legends (especially because the original Long Night was a supernatural event with supernatural creatures and I’d think it’d need a supernatural aspect to combat it) — but I think there is a twist somewhere.

    Given the prevalence of magic and prophecy in the books vs. the show, in which the magical elements are significantly downplayed (and I’d say they are more an unpredictable force of nature than anything else), I think there is truth to these prophecies in some respect but they may be misinterpreted/mistranslated/unanticipated. I also think these prophecies would have a certain set of attributes to be met in order for a prophecy’s outcome to be realized as well or it’s a bit too loose — but perhaps under unexpected/unanticipated circumstances or with another unexpected feature/outcome/etc.

    GRRM described magic like this:

    Fantasy needs magic in it, but I try to control the magic very strictly. You can have too much magic in fantasy very easily, and then it overwhelms everything and you lose all sense of realism. And I try to keep the magic magical — something mysterious and dark and dangerous, and something never completely understood. I don’t want to go down the route of having magic schools and classes where, if you say these six words, something will reliably happen. Magic doesn’t work that way. Magic is playing with forces you don’t completely understand. And perhaps with beings or deities you don’t completely understand. It should have a sense of peril about it.

    This sort of sounds like trying to harness forces of nature but even there, in our world, there are things about our natural world (like outer space, the deep sea, theories over how life started on earth, what happened to the dinosaurs, etc.) we don’t totally understand, elements and aspects that are unpredictable, mysterious, and are out of our control.

  55. Adrianacandle,

    • Thank you for those excerpts and quotes!
    It looks like I might have been on the right track with some of what I postulated (e.g., that “Valonqar” wasn’t intended to be gender neutral), and barking up the wrong tree on other things.

    • I guess I shouldn’t realistically expect Jon to be the Valonqar. If that’s what GRRM intends, he’d have to set that up in the books – through a threat to Arya or Sansa, or something else that would cause Jon to confront Cersei, in anger, and motivate him to choke the life out of her.

    • I suppose I put too much tinfoil stock in things like the S7e2 LF + Jon scene in the WF crypts. I had thought that scene was in there to show how an otherwise laid-back Jon Snow would become enraged to the point of throttling someone who talked sh*t about his sisters.

    Now, in hindsight, I have no f*cking idea why that scene with LF was included at all.
    Jon never saw LF again after that. LF’s ability to piss off Jon (for no apparent reason) never figured into the story. If LF’s intention was to ingratiate himself with Jon, declaring that he “loved” Sansa just like he loved her mother did just the opposite. It only made LF come off as creepy and stupid. (Who in his right mind says that to a young girl’s older brother anyway?) It was no surprise to me that Jon reacted by throwing LF up against the wall, grabbing him by his throat, and threatening to kill him if ever touched his sister. But Jon then left, didn’t face a similar situation, and didn’t come close to choking anyone else.

    • I had thought Cersei might capture Sansa, triggering Jon’s rage buttons (as well as a frustration of his S6 assurance that he could protect her). I had thought that there would be a real justification for Tyrion’s statement in S7e2, when advising Dany to ally with Jon, that Jon Snow had “even more reason” than Dany to “hate Cersei.” (The reasons Tyrion gave at the time were flimsy: Cersei had no part in any of the murders of Starks cited by Tyrion).

    • I must have read too much into Cersei’s cryptic comments to the Iron Banker about using the Golden Company to take back something that was hers; Cersei’s continuing hatred for Sansa even after Jaime told her Olenna was behind Joffrey’s murder; Sansa’s warning to Jon that despite his focus on the impending zombie invasion from the north, Cersei posed a real danger from the south and was relentless in getting what she wants; Sansa (justifiably) declining Cersei’s “invitation” and sending Brienne in her stead; Sansa’s curious response (when Jon suggested that it almost sounded like Sansa admired Cersei) that she’d learned a lot from Cersei; and in general, a sense that Sansa and Cersei had unfinished business.

    • Q: Any ideas why that scene was in that episode? I suppose it could mirror Ned’s scene in S1 when he threw LF against the wall outside the brothel and started choking him… but so what?

    • I should also admit I’m a slave to my own wishful thinking, and my enjoyment of a well-deserved “oh, f*ck me!” type comeuppance for pompous bad guys, and similar dramatic twists and turnabouts that are meticulously set up.

    That could be why I felt that the “secret” little brother Aegon would work.

    • There are only three or four known characters that check off all the boxes for the Valonqar, assuming (as your quoted material indicates) that the the word is male gender specific.

    • I’d want Sandor to fulfill the Valonqar, though I do concede I am terribly biased.*

    Show! Sandor satisfied all of the requirements. He’s got a lifelong history with the Lannisters. He’s publicly announced “F*ck the Queen,” “F*ck the King,” enough times that he thought that’s why there was a bounty on his head. He’s killed Lannister soldiers. He abandoned Joffrey and the defense of KL during the Battle of the Blackwater in glorious fashion. On the show at least, he made his triumphant return to KL – in the retinue of Cersei’s adversaries. There’s bound to be bad blood between them.
    He’s the “little brother” of the two Clegane boys. He’s certainly got the physical strength to choke out Cersei, and the temperament to do so without hesitation or remorse – even if she’s bawling her eyes out.
    He too could be motivated to brutally strangle Cersei if she f*cks with either one of his surrogate daughters. I get the impression Sansa’s relationship with Sandor in the books is a little more nuanced than on the show, while his relationship with Arya was expanded upon in the show. Either way, even if the books left Sandor Clegane “at rest,” Cersei endangering either one of “his girls” could resurrect the violent Hound personna. (The show did that with the slaughter of Ray and his hippie commune. GRRM could conceivably reactivate the Hound via a threat to either or both Stark sisters. I assume GRRM didn’t hint that the Sandor was still alive as a gravedigger if he was just going to leave Sandor to hang out with a bunch of monks the rest of his days. The show repeatedly stressed, through Beric and through Ray, that Sandor was alive because the gods had plans for Sandor Clegane.

    He did serve as Arya’s protector and bodyguard until his incapacitating injury. He did later return to WF and safeguard Arya’s life at a critical moment.

    I do not know if there were such obvious hints and parallels in the books thus far. Nor do I know if there are foreshadowings that Sandor is destined to return to KL for a final showdown with ZombieGregor, i.e., Cersei’s bodyguard, or if Sansa or Arya might be in peril when that happens. Likewise, I don’t know if book! Arya, like show! Arya, will renain fixated on crossing Cersei off her List. (If certain fan theories are true, Sansa will wind up in KL for the final showdown against Cersei while Arya will remain in the North. I have no idea if these theories comport with the books.)

    * I liked show! Sandor so much that I’d want him to be the Valonqar, the Last Hero, the Lord’s Chosen, the Warrior of Light aka Azor Ahai. (If you look hard enough, the salt, the smoke, the rebirth, and most of the other prerequisites for these roles are in the show.)

    The only prophesied role I can’t shoehorn Sandor into is the Younger More Beautiful Queen. 😉
    Whether Sandor has the same prominence in GRRM’s telling as he did on the show is another story. I suspect not.

    • In any event, somebody’s got to strangle book! Cersei. I’d bet the farm GRRM is not going to kill her off in a cave-in. I’d also wager that Magy’s unblemished track record surely means her book! Valonqar prediction will come true. That the prediction was omitted from the show in the S5 cold open with Young Cersei and Magy gave the show leeway to craft its own means for Cersei’s demise. I doubt GRRM will simply blow off the prophecy that Cersei will die at the hands of “the little brother,” whoever that may turn out to be.

    P.S. I am sure I have been misspelling “Valonqar.” I’ll have to look up the right spelling and force feed it to Auto-Correct.

  56. Adrianacandle,

    Thank you for retrieving those Arya passages. Yes, they were the ones I remembered seeing somewhere.
    When I read the Lady Smallwood passage you excerpted, I thought to myself: “So Arya did get a makeover scene!”

    • The Brienne/Catelyn quotes are real interesting, i.e., Cat telling Brienne she’d want to wrap her hands around Cersei’s throat, in language almost identical to Magy’s prophesy.
    What could be the significance of that? It could not have been coincidental on GRRM’s part.

    Q [I cannot scroll back up to re-read your excerpts, so I apologize if the answer is in there]:
    Was there anything specific that provoked Catelyn to muse out loud about wanting to choke Cersei? Other than Cersei being Cersei?
    (Obviously, Catelyn’s gone. Perhaps whatever provoked her will also piss off the Valonqar..)

  57. Ten Bears,

    Q: Any ideas why that scene was in that episode? I suppose it could mirror Ned’s scene in S1 when he threw LF against the wall outside the brothel and started choking him… but so what?

    Bryan Cogman answers this in the commentary for 702!

    This was a scene [Jon in the crypts] that was not in the original outline. Usually the staff, David and Dan, and Dave and myself, we map out every scene and we outline it in great detail. Then we script the episodes from the outlines. Generally, it adheres pretty closely to it.

    But when I was writing the episode, it occurred to me that Littlefinger and Jon had never really spoken. There was obviously a lot of tension there. Littlefinger has been allowed to stay in the castle because Littlefinger essentially saved their lives at ‘The Battle of the Bastards’ but Jon’s well aware of Littlefinger’s role in putting Sansa in the horrible position she was put in, in season 5.

    So, I dreamed up this scene and I’m really happy that the guys didn’t do what they sometimes do when I dream up a new scene and go, “What the hell is this?” and throw it out. But they liked this one.

    So it seems like a scene Cogman wanted to put in because he wanted a LF and Jon confrontation since they had never spoken before and there were clearly issues between them Cogman wanted to play on. And it could also involved some dramatic irony — Jon is depicted to be a lot like Ned, though he’s not Ned’s son by blood.

    I had thought that scene was in there to show how an otherwise laid-back Jon Snow would become enraged to the point of throttling someone who talked sh*t about his sisters.

    I think it’s more than LF just talking sh*t about one of his sisters because Jon isn’t that trigger happy (like you said) — LF is one of Sansa’s abusers — a man who Jon was told by Sansa that sold her to a monster tormented and raped her. For that reason, Jon would reasonably hate Ramsay. Plus, as of season 7, Sansa is the only one of Jon’s remaining family who he knows for sure is alive and he has back. And now LF is perving on his abused sister in the crypts and Jon already hates the guy.

    In one of the clips promoting season 7, Kit Harington talks about Littlefinger and how Jon hates this man, doesn’t trust this man, and views LF as trying to manipulate Sansa. Kit Harington also talks about some discord between Jon and Sansa in this same interview — I saved this clip to one of my hard drives and if you’re interested, I’ll get it off. I just need to get to my other computer.

    I think, realistically, Jon could be driven to throttle somebody who is directly responsible for significant torment against a loved one and/or if it’s somebody who Jon already hates (and Jon does hate the Lannisters in the books) if the circumstances came together just right and Jon had had it. In the books, it’s Arya who Jon was willing to risk everything for, despite his misgivings, while he doesn’t really react to news of the marriage between Tyrion and Sansa (not to say Jon doesn’t love Sansa in the books but they’re missing that factor in the show where they were the only two Starks who managed to reunite and I think that informed a lot).

    In ASOS, Jon does briefly lose it against Alliser Thorne and Janos Slynt when they would not stop insulting Ned and here, Jon knew Janos Slynt had a hand in Ned’s death. Jon nearly throttles Alliser Thorne. He was also pretty heavily injured, sleep deprived, exhausted, and had reached the end of his mental rope.

    Like Brienne, Jon doesn’t lose it as a rule but in this instance, everything came together to create a sort of perfect storm: mental and physical exhaustion, he despises Thorne and Slynt from his very marrow already, and they kept taunting him and trying to provoke him about his father — and Jon responded.

    I had thought Cersei might capture Sansa, triggering Jon’s rage buttons (as well as a frustration of his S6 assurance that he could protect her). I had thought that there would be a real justification for Tyrion’s statement in S7e2, when advising Dany to ally with Jon, that Jon Snow had “even more reason” than Dany to “hate Cersei.” (The reasons Tyrion gave at the time were flimsy: Cersei had no part in any of the murders of Starks cited by Tyrion).

    We know Cersei was not directly responsible for the murders of the Starks because we got to see those scenes but Jon may not. Cersei stood alongside Joffrey when Joffrey had Ned executed (and I think that might be why Cersei is on Arya’s list?) Plus, there’s whatever Sansa told Jon about Cersei, who had a hand in tormenting Sansa and putting her in some pretty awful situations in King’s Landing.

    Sansa (justifiably) declining Cersei’s “invitation” and sending Brienne in her stead; Sansa’s curious response (when Jon suggested that it almost sounded like Sansa admired Cersei) that she’d learned a lot from Cersei; and in general, a sense that Sansa and Cersei had unfinished business.

    I thought so too — but I didn’t think that manifest in putting Sansa in yet another victim role (which is a big problem I have with the Ramsay storyline) but a confrontation in which both were on fairly equal footing.

    He did serve as Arya’s protector and bodyguard until his incapacitating injury. He did later return to WF and safeguard Arya’s life at a critical moment.

    I do think Sandor would be a good candidate if valonqar is male. Arya may figure into it, perhaps Sansa, but we’ll have to see!

  58. Ten Bears,

    I do not know if there were such obvious hints and parallels in the books thus far. Nor do I know if there are foreshadowings that Sandor is destined to return to KL for a final showdown with ZombieGregor, i.e., Cersei’s bodyguard, or if Sansa or Arya might be in peril when that happens. Likewise, I don’t know if book! Arya, like show! Arya, will renain fixated on crossing Cersei off her List. (If certain fan theories are true, Sansa will wind up in KL for the final showdown against Cersei while Arya will remain in the North. I have no idea if these theories comport with the books.)

    I’m hoping if Sansa returns to KL in some fashion, which I’d like to see since I agree they do have stuff between them, that it’s not in a victimized role. Rather, I’m hoping it’s in a role where Sansa has more control, agency, and can use her wits (rather than having to rely on another party to for a rescue as she’s had to do throughout the books — through no fault of Sansa’s but I’m hoping she’ll learn some tools to grant herself more agency and control).

    With Arya, I have trouble foreseeing her crossing Cersei off her list but that doesn’t mean it won’t happen. I just can’t see it happening at this time with the way the story is. But I don’t know when Arya returns North, she may visit KL first per some other theories and suggestions. But it’d be an interesting thing to look up and read other peoples’ thoughts about this!

    The only prophesied role I can’t shoehorn Sandor into is the Younger More Beautiful Queen. 😉
    Whether Sandor has the same prominence in GRRM’s telling as he did on the show is another story. I suspect not.

    Well, neither ‘queen’ nor gender is specified in that part of the prophecy and Sandor may have a beautiful spirit 😉

    In any event, somebody’s got to strangle book! Cersei. I’d bet the farm GRRM is not going to kill her off in a cave-in. I’d also wager that Magy’s unblemished track record surely means her book! Valonqar prediction will come true. That the prediction was omitted from the show in the S5 cold open with Young Cersei and Magy gave the show leeway to craft its own means for Cersei’s demise. I doubt GRRM will simply blow off the prophecy that Cersei will die at the hands of “the little brother,” whoever that may turn out to be.

    I agree, I think it’s too big a thing to overlook and chalk it up to Cersei dying under a pile of bricks.

    P.S. I am sure I have been misspelling “Valonqar.” I’ll have to look up the right spelling and force feed it to Auto-Correct.

    You’ve got the right spelling! (I double checked! Like with the spelling of ‘Daenerys’, I made an active effort today to memorize the spelling of ‘valonqar’ — no second ‘o’ and no ‘u’ after the ‘q’, which have been my common mistakes with word’s spelling)

    • The Brienne/Catelyn quotes are real interesting, i.e., Cat telling Brienne she’d want to wrap her hands around Cersei’s throat, in language almost identical to Magy’s prophesy.
    What could be the significance of that? It could not have been coincidental on GRRM’s part.

    The Alt Shift X video above noted the same thing in that it is nearly identical to the wording of Maggy’s prophecy, which leads me to give it a bit more credence that Brienne is the more beautiful ‘another’. I have some reservations but it’s an interesting possibility to consider.

    Was there anything specific that provoked Catelyn to muse out loud about wanting to choke Cersei? Other than Cersei being Cersei?

    I’ll get the full quote! Catelyn blames Cersei for Ned’s death and wants revenge. She’s sympathizing with Brienne over her desire to kill Stannis for Renly:

    [Catelyn to Brienne] “You mean to kill Stannis.”

    Brienne closed her thick callused fingers around the hilt of her sword. The sword that had been his. “I swore a vow. Three times I swore. You heard me.”

    “I did,” Catelyn admitted. The girl had kept the rainbow cloak when she discarded the rest of her bloodstained clothing, she knew. Brienne’s own things had been left behind during their flight, and she had been forced to clothe herself in odd bits of Ser Wendel’s spare garb, since no one else in their party had garments large enough to fit her. “Vows should be kept, I agree, but Stannis has a great host around him, and his own guards sworn to keep him safe.”

    “I am not afraid of his guards. I am as good as any of them. I should never have fled.”

    “Is that what troubles you, that some fool might call you craven?” She sighed. “Renly’s death was no fault of yours. You served him valiantly, but when you seek to follow him into the earth, you serve no one.” She stretched out a hand, to give what comfort a touch could give. “I know how hard it is—”

    Brienne shook off her hand. “No one knows.”

    “You’re wrong,” Catelyn said sharply. “Every morning, when I wake, I remember that Ned is gone. I have no skill with swords, but that does not mean that I do not dream of riding to King’s Landing and wrapping my hands around Cersei Lannister’s white throat and squeezing until her face turns black.”

    The Beauty raised her eyes, the only part of her that was truly beautiful. “If you dream that, why would you seek to hold me back? Is it because of what Stannis said at the parley?”

  59. Efi: I don’t think that Martin withheld anything of importance from the producers.

    Sorry: didn’t mean to imply that you thought that! It was germane to other things I was writing. The sort of fan who held (and probably still holds) this idea are the same sort that were convinced that Martin had both of the remaining books done but was not releasing them yet for _____ reasons. (Usually these reasons were Martin sharing their hatred of the TV show!) We’ve seen how well that idea panned out! I think that a lot of it also stems from ignorance of how writers write stories. A lot of fans assume that authors are always just making it up as they go: and that the climax of the story occurs to them shortly before they start writing it. However, whenever authors discuss the writing process, they almost always emphasize that the climax of the story is one of the first things and often the first thing that jumps into their head. Martin has talked about this a bit. (Before him, Rowling did the same Other series authors might say the same, but very few series with over-arching plots have gotten anywhere near the attention that GoT and HP received.)

    The other things is that fandoms always attract a “conspiracy theory” crowd, and this fandom is no exception. Amusingly, I’ve heard equally goofy conspiracy theories in the opposite direction: particularly that Martin has never had an ending or an intention to provide one, but that he thought it would be wonderfully funny to provide an entertaining setup with lots of hanging clues, etc., and then crush people by never delivering it! Oddly, those particular conspiracy theorists tend to be fans of other franchises, and the sort of fan who hates all other franchises on principle.

    Ain’t entertainment entertaining? 😀

  60. Ten Bears: There are only three or four known characters that check off all the boxes for the Valonqar, assuming (as your quoted material indicates) that the the word is male gender specific.

    I forgot to add — I think the quoted material from the wiki indicates how the word for valonqar may not be gender specific, thus the reason why some fans are speculating about a female valonqar. It might very well be a male! But I think there’s room for some interpretation based on the quoted material from the wiki over these these High Valyrian words (“prince”, “valonqar”) possibly meaning male and female, introducing the idea that some mistranslation/miscommunication may or may not have not occurred. Maester Aemon is talking about TPTWP — but this may actually apply to valonqar instead.

    Just a theory 🙂

  61. Adrianacandle,

    Good lord, the amount of missing words from sentences in my post. Corrections!

    * LF is one of Sansa’s abusers — a man who Jon was told by Sansa that sold her to a monster *who tormented and raped her.

    * and they kept taunting him and trying to provoke him about his father — and Jon *rose to their bait (Note: Alliser and Janos were trying to get Jon executed here, using this as “proof” Jon is now a wildling. This was after his return to Castle Black from the wildlings).

    * I thought so too — but I didn’t think that *would manifest in putting Sansa in another victim role (*or at least, I hoped not. This is a big problem I had with the Ramsay storyline) but a confrontation in which both were on fairly equal footing.

  62. Adrianacandle,

    Thanks for ferreting out the origin of the S7e2 LF-Jon scene. So it wasn’t in the original script outline. If you ask me, Cogman shouldn’t have decided to add in that scene. It contributed nothing. It detracted from LF’s character. It went nowhere. It wasted precious screen time.

    They could have used those few minutes in S7e2 for… MORE HOT PIE! Or more Arya & Nymeria.

    Anyway, thanks again for solving that little mystery. Now I know why that scene confounded me.

  63. Adrianacandle,

    ”…We know Cersei was not directly responsible for the murders of the Starks because we got to see those scenes but Jon may not. Cersei stood alongside Joffrey when Joffrey had Ned executed (and I think that might be why Cersei is on Arya’s list?) Plus, there’s whatever Sansa told Jon…”

    Glad you brought that up: I do think Cersei made it onto Arya’s list because Arya (mistakenly) assumed Cersei must have been responsible for Joffrey beheading Ned, though as I recall Joffrey himself publicly announced that Cersei and Sansa had counseled him to show “mercy.” As I understood things, Cersei was prepared to follow through on the prearranged deal with Ned: his false confession for treason in exchange for exile to the Wall. Joffrey blew that up, and even Cersei was blindsided.

    I guess Arya didn’t know that???

    Arya was not aware of any of Cersei’s mistreatment of Sansa at the time Arya started composing her List. Besides, most of Sansa’s torment occurred after Ned’s execution and after Arya had already escaped KL, so Cersei’s abuse of Sansa didn’t earn her a place on the List.

    Or perhaps it was because Cersei demanded Lady’s death after Joffrey lied about tormenting a Mycah? Arya alternatively blamed Joffrey and then Sandor for Mycah’s death; I don’t recall her ever blaming Cersei. I know that after the Joffrey vs. Mycah fiasco, when Sansa played dumb instead of telling Robert what happened, Arya told her father she hated “all of them” – the king, the queen, Joffrey… and Sansa. But again, I don’t recall that Arya later placed any of them on her List because of that early S1 incident.

    I don’t know what to think. Cersei was wicked, alright and yet…is it possible Arya wrongly condemned Cersei, and even years later was laser-focused on her objective “to kill the Queen” all based on a mistaken assumption?

    If so, then Sandor unwittingly prevented her from killing someone who didn’t belong on her hit list to begin with.

    I mean, some folks (like Olenna and other Sept explosion victims’ families) had good reason to want to kill Cersei. Arya was not one of them.

    Am I overlooking something?

  64. GRRM says: “I finished a new chapter yesterday, another one three days ago, another one the previous week. But no, this does not mean that the book will be finished tomorrow or published next week. It’s going to be a huge book, and I still have a long way to go.”

    So now we know the book will be finished…someday.

  65. Ten Bears,

    I guess Arya didn’t know that???

    I found a quote that provides reasoning for the names on Arya’s list and it looks like Arya does blame Cersei for her father’s execution:

    Arya watched and listened and polished her hates the way Gendry had once polished his horned helm. Dunsen wore those bull’s horns now, and she hated him for it. She hated Polliver for Needle, and she hated old Chiswyck who thought he was funny. And Raff the Sweetling, who’d driven his spear through Lommy’s throat, she hated even more. She hated Ser Amory Lorch for Yoren, and she hated Ser Meryn Trant for Syrio, the Hound for killing the butcher’s boy Mycah, and Ser Ilyn and Prince Joffrey and the queen for the sake of her father and Fat Tom and Desmond and the rest, and even for Lady, Sansa’s wolf. The Tickler was almost too scary to hate. At times she could almost forget he was still with them; when he was not asking questions, he was just another soldier, quieter than most, with a face like a thousand other men.

    I think — because Arya wouldn’t have any way of knowing that Cersei was blindsided by Ned’s death since Arya was never privy to these conversations over what Tywin/Cersei/etc. wanted to do with Ned (ie. not execute him) — she’d have no way of knowing the truth. From her perspective, Cersei stood by her demonic son when he cut off her father’s head.

    Arya was not aware of any of Cersei’s mistreatment of Sansa at the time Arya started composing her List. Besides, most of Sansa’s torment occurred after Ned’s execution and after Arya had already escaped KL, so Cersei’s abuse of Sansa didn’t earn her a place on the List.

    I think Arya does become aware of Sansa’s beatings by Joffrey in ASOS via Sandor but that was well after she came up with her list (I think Arya first recites her list in Arya VI).

    I know that after the Joffrey vs. Mycah fiasco, when Sansa played dumb instead of telling Robert what happened, Arya told her father she hated “all of them” – the king, the queen, Joffrey… and Sansa. But again, I don’t recall that Arya later placed any of them on her List because of that early S1 incident.

    Yes, Arya didn’t come up with her list at this time but yes, she did blame all of those people for Mycah’s death:

    “Arya desperately wanted to explain, to make him see. “I was trying to learn, but …” Her eyes filled with tears. “I asked Mycah to practice with me.” The grief came on her all at once. She turned away, shaking. “I asked him,” she cried. “It was my fault, it was me …”

    Suddenly her father’s arms were around her. He held her gently as she turned to him and sobbed against his chest. “No, sweet one,” he murmured. “Grieve for your friend, but never blame yourself. You did not kill the butcher’s boy. That murder lies at the Hound’s door, him and the cruel woman he serves.”

    “I hate them,” Arya confided, red-faced, sniffling. “The Hound and the queen and the king and Prince Joffrey. I hate all of them. Joffrey lied, it wasn’t the way he said. I hate Sansa too. She did remember, she just lied so Joffrey would like her.”

    I mean, some folks (like Olenna and other Sept explosion victims’ families) had good reason to want to kill Cersei. Arya was not one of them.

    Am I overlooking something?

    Not for Ned’s death in any case, Cersei didn’t approve of that, but I’d think there’d be other reasons (Sansa’s torment, Arya herself being hunted, the hunt for Gendry — it’s Cersei who is hunting Robert’s bastards in the books rather than Joffrey, as portrayed in the show — Cersei gunning for the Starks… In AFFC, Cersei tries to have Jon assassinated for aiding Stannis but Arya wouldn’t know about that.)

    That word has more than one spelling in High Valyrian, Your Grace.

    😉

    And I’m going to hold to that! 😉

  66. Adrianacandle,

    I’m overtired and may be hopelessly confused about the chronology. Please bear with me…

    About Melisandre, I stated above that “in S5 she (inexplicably) seized on Jon as PTWP.”

    You replied:

    ”I don’t think this was so inexplicable — I think the idea was that Melisandre realized she was wrong about Stannis, which shakes her faith to the core and she comes to believe the Lord of Light never spoke to her. However, when she is able to bring Jon back from the dead, something Melisandre views as a feat which shouldn’t be possible, this seems to restore her faith in that the Lord of Light is working through her after all and believes the Lord of Light brought Jon back for a reason.”

    • I thought Mel jumped from Stannis to Jon as her designated PTWP in S5, long before she resurrected Jon in S6e2(?).

    • With the understanding that the following timeline is approximate and the dialogue is paraphrased:

    • S4e9: Nights Watch barely holds off Mance’s assault on CB.
    • S4e10: After Jon goes out alone to Mance’s tent to treat with Mance or try to kill him, Stannis & his cavalry arrive on the scene and subdue the Wildling army. At Jon’s suggestion, Stannis takes Mance prisoner. Thereafter, Stannis & Co. take up residence at CB. At some point Mel joins him there.
    • S5e?: Mel escorts “the Bastard of Winterfell” to confer with Stannis, who wants Jon to convince Mance to bend the knee and have the Wildlings join his army.
    • S5e?: Stannis offers to legitimize Jon Snow as Jon Stark to “give me the North.” [Great speech by Stannis/Stephen Dillane]. Jon declines.
    • S5e?: Mel gives Jon weird look through the flames of a funeral pyre; says nothing.
    • S5e?: Jon elected LC.
    • S5e?: Janos Slynt defies LC Jon’s order. Jon beheads Slynt. Stannis nods in approval. [Not really relevant. I just wanted to throw that in.]
    • S5e?: Mel tries to seduce Jon with lap dance + sex as LoL-sanctioned religious ritual spiel. She vaguely alludes to some kind of “power” in Jon.
    Hard to tell if she senses he’s got king’s blood or is somehow special; or if she’s (understandably) just drawn by his pretty hair and washboard abs to try to hook up with him, spouting religious mumbo jumbo as a pretext. (She had successfully used a similar routine to seduce Gendry and extract his king’s blood.) Mel opens her robe, Jon cops a feel, but then turns her down.
    •S5e5: Jon unchains Tormund; agrees to ask Stannis to borrow his ships to sail with Tormund to Hardhome.
    • S5e?: Stannis leaves CB for WF, never to return. Stannis’s forces are snowbound on their way to WF. Stannis sends Davos back to WF to facilitate Shireen’s immolation without Davos interfering.
    •S5e9: At Mel’s suggestion, Stannis roasts Shireen to melt the ice and snow, and free up his forces to continue their march to WF.
    • S5e?: Half of Stannis’s army deserts; horses are killed in Ramsay’s guerrilla attack. Selyse hangs herself. Meanwhile, Melisandre has abandoned Stannis, and rides off to WF.
    [Note: This is where my recollection of the order of events gets really discombobulated.]
    • S5e? or S6?? Mel tells Davos Stannis wasn’t the PTWP but “someone has to be.” Mel designates Jon Snow as (her new) PTWP.
    TB talks back to TV screen, asking: “Why him? Why not Edd? Why not Hot Pie? Why not flaming sword-wielding, 6x resurrected Beric Dondarrion?” Nothing suggests Mel believes Jon is a “Prince.”
    • S5e? [I think Mel makes another Jon = PTWP statement at some point. I am drawing a blank.]
    • S5e9 or e10? For some reason, Davos hitches his wagon to Jon Snow. The pretty hair and the abs?
    • S5e10: Stannis and skeleton crew march on foot to WF. They get wiped out. Brienne commits regicide and treason, executes the One True King in the name of the late treacherous would-be Usurper, Renly.
    • S5e10: Jon gets shanked.
    • S6e1: For some reason, Davos, Edd and a few others safeguard Jon’s corpse.
    • S6e2: Out of the blue, Davos asks Mel if she knows of some kind of magic spell to bring Jon back to life.
    • S6e2: Edd sneaks off to ask Wildlings (at the Gift?) for help against Thorne and his fellow traitors, who are now in charge of CB. Wun Wun makes dramatic gate-crashing entrance just as Thorne and his goons are about to chop down the door with Davos, DeadJon et al. inside.
    • S6e2: Though disheartened by her f*ck-ups, Mel begrudgingly agrees to take a shot at resurrecting Jon. It doesn’t look like it’s working. Everybody starts leaving the room.
    • S6e2: A few minutes later, Ghost wakes up from a nap. Mel proclaims Ghost as TPTWP. [Just kidding]. Jon gasps, sits up. End of episode.
    • S6e3: Resurrected Jon goes outside to greet his fans.
    • S6e3 or e4: Sansa and Brienne arrive at CB. Brienne casually mentions to Davos that she executed the One True King.

    – I would wholeheartedly agree that if Mel didn’t anoint Jon as PTWP until after she (well, the Lord of Light) resurrected him, then you’re right and I’m wrong: Mel seizing upon Jon as PTWP would not be “inexplicable.” It would make logical sense.
    I’ll have to go back and pinpoint when Mel started calling Jon TPTWP, and what exactly she said.

    – By itself, resurrection still wouldn’t explain why Jon would be considered a “Prince” – his true parentage had not been revealed yet – but I won’t quibble over such details.

    – In any event, on the show Jon didn’t turn out to be the Prince That Was Promised anyway.
    That honor was reserved for the Lord’s Chosen, ASNAWPTWP.*

    In show canon, the Lord of Light had kept bringing back Beric so he could give his last life to protect Arya. Likewise, the Lord of Light brought back Sandor after he was clinically dead because the Lord’s plans for Sandor Clegane were for him to join Beric in safeguarding Arya so she could do her savior of the world gig.
    I’m okay with that.😀

    (Incidentally, I’m glad the show kept Beric alive. I understand that in the books Beric had already given his last life to reanimate Catelyn’s decomposing corpse. I liked Richard Dormer’s portrayal, loved his voice, and enjoyed the way Beric laughed off Sandor’s insults. I also thought Beric’s speeches were well-written and well-delivered, especially in S6 – S8.
    I also genuinely appreciated that in a show full of violent religious zealots and hypocrites who used “the gods” as an excuse for personal aggrandizement and arrogating political power (hello, High Sparrow and your forehead-carving imbeciles) or to roast “nonbelievers,” there was a character whose faith compelled him to defend those who could not defend themselves, and fight the forces of evil for the sake of the greater good.)

    *👸🏻 Arya Super Ninja Assassin Warrior Princess That Was Promised who brought the dawn and saved the world from eternal darkness.

  67. Adrianacandle,

    I figured GRRM and TWOW deserved their own musical tribute.

    Next up: Sandor Clegane. Not as easy as I’d hoped. I was gonna go with “Hound Dog” by Elvis, except the lyrics don’t fit and I’m not enamored with the song anyway.

    I don’t think I remember very many love songs or any other songs written about a gruff, foul-mouthed warrior – a misanthrope with “a face like a half-burned ham,” per Hot Pie.

    Hmm. I’ll have to try to focus on the “inner” Sandor, the one who despised knights and yet bravely rescued damsels in distress when “anointed” knights chickened out; spoke through his actions contrary to the hateful words he uttered; and on rare occasions briefly dropped the nasty facade (e.g., with Arya in S4e7, S8e2, and S8e5).

    Well, off to bed…

  68. Ten Bears,

    I would wholeheartedly agree that if Mel didn’t anoint Jon as PTWP until after she (well, the Lord of Light) resurrected him, then you’re right and I’m wrong: Mel seizing upon Jon as PTWP would not be “inexplicable.” It would make logical sense.
    I’ll have to go back and pinpoint when Mel started calling Jon TPTWP, and what exactly she said.

    I believe the times when Melisandre refers to Jon as TPTWP are in 6×03 and 6×04, after Jon is resurrected (but I can’t find a mention of her believing Jon to be this beforehand):

    6×03 (to a newly resurrected Jon, who returns to life at the very end of 6×02):

    Melisandre: The Lord let you come back for a reason. Stannis was not the prince who was promised, but someone has to be.

    6×04:

    Davos: Will you stay here at Castle Black?

    Melisandre: I will do as Jon Snow commands.

    Davos: You serve Jon Snow now?

    Melisandre: He’s the prince that was promised.

    Davos: Forgive me, my lady, I thought that was Stannis.

  69. Ten Bears: I don’t think I remember very many love songs or any other songs written about a gruff, foul-mouthed warrior – a misanthrope with “a face like a half-burned ham,” per Hot Pie.

    Hmm. I’ll have to try to focus on the “inner” Sandor, the one who despised knights and yet bravely rescued damsels in distress when “anointed” knights chickened out; spoke through his actions contrary to the hateful words he uttered; and on rare occasions briefly dropped the nasty facade (e.g., with Arya in S4e7, S8e2, and S8e5).

    My own mental music library is far far far more limited than yours so I’m afraid I can’t offer any suggestions 🙁 Except for this one, which just occurred to me:

    As odd as this is (and this may be totally out of left-field), what you described sounds a bit like Shrek XD;; Maybe that (first) movie would offer some suggestions? 🙂 Or Beauty and the Beast (I’ve seen it written that the relationship between Sandor and Sansa is supposed to be a play on that…).

  70. Adrianacandle,

    Looks like I was wrong and you were right. You found the lines by Mel that I was thinking of. They are in S6, post-resurrection.

    Particularly since Mel had such a dreadful history of interpreting visions in the flames and apparently had gotten only static or silence in response to prayers in the past, for the Lord of Light to actually listen to her prayer and grant her request by bringing a dead person back to life must have been a BFD for her. It would also be a pretty good indication that the resurrected person is super special.

    Great sleuthing! 🕵️

  71. Ten Bears,

    I think Arya blamed Cersei for the Trident incident, Mycah’s death and Lady’s killing. While she doesn’t know that many things, she knows that Sansa would never willingly marry a Lannister –but that is later; Cersei enters her list long before that, so it must be related to the Trident. Also, Ned “confides” in her by telling her that she must be careful in the court, because it’s “winter”. So Arya must have sensed that her father was worried for more things than she could ever imagine and that there was something wrong in KL, unlike Sansa, who is kept in the dark. A kid would be able to put two and two together, even though she doesn’t have the details.
    Arya also learns that Sansa was beaten at the court (Cersei is not responsible for that, hers is another type of abuse) and that she was up for raping (also indicated by what Sandor says about that). While Arya’s reasoning is not that explicit -she is only 11 after all- it’s the bits and pieces that she must put one after the other in her mind, that make the list very firm. I suppose we’re yet to see more about that in her future chapters (some day).

  72. Ten Bears,

    It’s really an over-reliance on the Cmmd+F function 🙂 You had Melisandre’s line right word-for-word.

    Efi,

    I think Arya blamed Cersei for the Trident incident, Mycah’s death and Lady’s killing.

    To amend an above comment I made about this (re: the quote showing Arya’s reasoning and why she put these names on her list), I think Lady specifically is one of the reasons why Arya blames Cersei, as well as her father’s death:

    Arya watched and listened and polished her hates the way Gendry had once polished his horned helm. Dunsen wore those bull’s horns now, and she hated him for it. She hated Polliver for Needle, and she hated old Chiswyck who thought he was funny. And Raff the Sweetling, who’d driven his spear through Lommy’s throat, she hated even more. She hated Ser Amory Lorch for Yoren, and she hated Ser Meryn Trant for Syrio, the Hound for killing the butcher’s boy Mycah, and Ser Ilyn and Prince Joffrey and the queen for the sake of her father and Fat Tom and Desmond and the rest, and even for Lady, Sansa’s wolf. The Tickler was almost too scary to hate. At times she could almost forget he was still with them; when he was not asking questions, he was just another soldier, quieter than most, with a face like a thousand other men.

    And it’s right after this paragraph that Arya develops her list and starts reciting it night after night (Arya VI, ACOK).

    And while Arya isn’t blaming Cersei here, I think it’s evident she does feel Lady’s death quite a bit:

    Arya was glad to hear that the castle of the Darrys would be burned. That was where they’d brought her when she’d been caught after her fight with Joffrey, and where the queen had made her father kill Sansa’s wolf. It deserves to burn.

  73. Adrianacandle,

    Musical moral dilemma!

    I was turned off by Sansa’s speech to Sandor in S8e4, i.e., that she’d still be a little bird were it not for LF, Ramsey and all the abuse she had to endure. Many fans and critics are divided on this. I for one thought it played into a horrible and overused “rape made me a stronger person” cliche. I also find the notion of empowerment through suffering to be boneheaded and lazy. (Girls and women can evolve in ways other than through surviving torture and abuse.) Enough pontificating…

    My problem is that I think I may have found the perfect song for Sansa, but it plays into that trope I find offensive. Maybe it is not even my place to criticize it. If a woman sings about it, who am I to question it?

    I’d better sleep on it. Or plan to post it with a disclaimer.

  74. Ten Bears,

    “Nor do I know if there are foreshadowings that Sandor is destined to return to KL for a final showdown with ZombieGregor, i.e., Cersei’s bodyguard, or if Sansa or Arya might be in peril when that happens.”

    There is foreshadowing in Bran’s chapters, among his visions in GoT.
    Bran sees his sisters in KL. Above them he sees three figures, one golden, shining all over (Jamie) one like a hound (definitely Sandor) and another whose open visor reveals sth very, very bad (the other Clegane).
    I took this from Wiki:
    “one as dark as ash, with the terrible face of a hound, one armoured like the sun, golden and beautiful, and one a giant in armour made of stone with only darkness and thick black blood in his visor looming over them”

    Now, one might think that this is about what will happen in the next months, Sansa’s attempted rape, the events in KL, etc. But there is the problem that Jamie has absolutely no role in the events in the first and second book with regard to Arya and Sansa. Also, Gregor Clegane has no interference with the girls either. He is sent by Tywin to the Riverlands and is absent from KL until a few days before the duel with Martell. For this reason I tend to think that this vision refers to the final events.

    I might be wrong though; I have reservations because I do not think that Sansa will return again in KL. Arya and Sandor might, but I do not find a reason for Sansa to return there before everything is over, meaning before the destruction of KL.

    Also, this vision might not be about one event either. What if it foreshadows the roles of these people in the lives of Arya and Sansa, or in general in the story? But again, I do not see why Gregor as dead and resurrected by Qyburn would have any relevance to Sansa, who has escaped in KL and -imo- won’t return for a long time. (I do believe that Arya will be in KL with Jon)
    Also, Gregor is not important politically. He’s someone to command, not someone who will by himself have any impact on the story. If he’ll pose a threat to the girls it’ll be via Cersei who commands him.

  75. Ten Bears: I was turned off by Sansa’s speech to Sandor in S8e4, i.e., that she’d still be a little bird were it not for LF, Ramsey and all the abuse she had to endure. Many fans and critics are divided on this. I for one thought it played into a horrible and overused “rape made me a stronger person” cliche. I also find the notion of empowerment through suffering to be boneheaded and lazy. (Girls and women can evolve in ways other than through surviving torture and abuse.) Enough pontificating…

    For myself, I agree with what you’re saying here because I felt the same way:

    With my own experiences, I had one counselor throw a similar line of reasoning at me — that I became “stronger” for these experiences but a) it certainly didn’t feel that way to me, I felt quite the opposite, b) this made me pretty angry, and c) this explanation upset me to the point where I dropped this counselor altogether.

    However, that’s not to say everybody feels the way I do because maybe there are some who do feel this way or maybe it’s more complex than this for some.

    I agree especially with this:

    I also find the notion of empowerment through suffering to be boneheaded and lazy. (Girls and women can evolve in ways other than through surviving torture and abuse.)

    While suffering does inform our views, development, and growth — for better or worse, I think you’re right in that it’s not the only vehicle for growth and (positive) development. Suffering can be but it can also do damage in many ways too. Ultimately, and speaking only for myself, I think it’s a pretty complex notion: strengthening through adversity. I think that’s quite possible, I think suffering certainly makes an impact and can stimulate a type of development (and can certainly provide a strong basis for empathy and an ability to relate to the suffering of others) but that impact can also be pretty complex and unwilling to be filtered into wholly good or wholly bad — sometimes, it just results in a… difference.

    However, I’m no psychologist, psychiatrist, MD, or anything else 🙂

  76. Ten Bears,

    “As grammarian King Stannis would point out, the prophecy as worded specifically refers to “his hands” (masculine). GRRM could have easily phrased it differently if he intended to embrace both genders, e.g., he could have avoided using the pronoun “his.””

    As the language geek that I am, I have to point out that for non-english natives who come from countries where nouns have three genders and accusative and pronouns all follow declination and gender, like mine, adjusting a neutral —the/a/one– to the possessive pronoun and vice-versa is a pain in the a**. As in:

    “One should choose math studies if it fits his intellect”

    See what I mean? Why “his” and not “her”? Why not “one’s”?
    You need to know this information in advance, which you don’t, because I did not give you that.
    One of my English Grammar books said that it’s wrong to follow with him/her/his/hers when it’s not indicated which gender is meant. The correct follow-up would be, technically, the same, meaning in this case, “one’s”.
    But the same author admitted that it usually doesn’t happen neither in written nor in spoken language. We tend to use him/her/his/hers without any justification, but admittedly it makes our lives easier.

    Which is why I don’t think that Stannis’ argument is correct. He’s a sophist in reality, set out to prove sth that’s not necessarily there.
    The correct in this case should be “the valonqar shall warp his/her hands around your throat”, since we don’t know what gender a valonqar is. 😁

    [of course Martin couldn’t write his/hers in the text!]

  77. Adrianacandle,

    On the show, I found it strange that during Arya’s table-stabbing argument with Sansa, she blamed Joffrey (not Sandor) for Mycah’s death, because Sandor only does what Joffrey tells him to do.
    Yet, in S3 in the cave with the Brotherhood Arya came right out and accused Sandor of murder.

    That was all complicated when Sandor prevailed in his trial by combat. Afterwards, when she still insisted he was guilty, Beric responded: “not in the eyes of god” or something like that.

    In S5 Game of Faces with Jaqen 2.0 Arya got whacked with his stick several times when she said she had left the Hound to die in the mountains because “I hated him! I wanted him to suffer!” … “That’s not a lie! I hated him!” Jaqen 2.0 retorted: “A girl lies to me, to the Many-Faced God,… to herself.” By S6 Arya admitted to the Waif she had taken Sandor off her list. She did – and she did not – want him dead any longer; she sounded confused because she was confused.

    What I’m getting at is Arya apparently absolved Sandor of slaughtering Mycah – which he had freely admitted, both in the Brotherhood’s cave in S3 and again in S4e10 when he tried to goad her into killing him.

    How then could she continue to blame Cersei for the Mycah incident? Or was suggesting that Lady be killed in place of the missing Nymeria enough to warrant the death penalty for Cersei?

    As much as I love Arya, I wonder if she went overboard in putting Cersei on her list and keeping her there for years, when others who had done far worse were let off the hook. I also wonder if she’d change her mind if she knew what really happened when Joffrey ordered Ned beheaded, scuttling Cersei’s deal with Ned.

    Another thought, based on the book excerpts: I can see how an 11 year-old girl would condemn everybody she saw on the dais without apportioning culpability. Wouldn’t the benefit of a few years of maturity dissuade her from assigning guilt by association? I mean, she did apparently accept that Sandor had killed Mycah because it was not his place to question the Prince’s story or refuse his command.

    Oh, I don’t know. It just seemed to me that Cersei remaining on the List was a function of the story designating Cersei as the Big Bad, more than anything else. Melisandre, Sandor, and Beric all got dropped from the List after a while, and arguably they all did worse things than Cersei.

    Final comment on this subject: Had Arya been assigned to carry out an assassination mission as part of the war effort, that would have been different – even commendable. A stealth infiltration and killing of the enemy’s ruler would have achieved the mitigation of collateral damage that Team Stark + Targ was trying to avoid all along by following Tyrion’s (not so) “clever plans.”
    But killing Cersei motivated by a purely personal and possibly misplaced desire for revenge wasn’t so admirable, was it? That’s why I’m glad Sandor talked her out of it. (Though he should’ve bisected Cersei when she flitted down the stairs right by him. I’m still not sure why they filmed it that way…)

  78. My brief suggestion about the Valonqar has really taken on a life of its own, hasn’t it? 😉

    Great debates everyone. A few more thoughts from me:

    + Jaime would have to strangle Cersei instead of stabbing her if he no longer has a dagger or sword at that point.

    + Without getting into distasteful details about the mechanics of it all, Jaime would only need one working hand to do it. He could use his gold hand to simply hold Cersei’s neck still from the other side.

    + Another explanation: ASOIAF’s Wiki page about Valonqar prophecies has an interesting alternative theory about what “Jaime’s hands” actually means in the context of killing Cersei.

    + Jaime mercy killing Cersei mirrors Cersei nearly mercy killing Tommen at the end of the Battle of Blackwater. You know how GRRM loves that kind of mirroring/foreshadowing etc, as we also saw on GOT.

    However, as Ten Bears has noted, GRRM also loves unexpected twists. So here are some other options:

    + “Younger, more beautiful queen” may refer to Dany overthrowing Cersei. And Dany being the sole surviving “younger sibling” in her family also fits “Valonqar” basically meaning “younger sibling”.

    + However, the prophecies may not refer to the same person.

    + So, while “younger, more beautiful queen” may still refer to Dany, the almost exact wording used in Maggy’s “Valonqar” prediction and Catelyn’s remarks to Brienne could mean that the person that ultimately strangles Cersei is…Lady Stoneheart.

    + This would partly explain why GOT didn’t make a big deal about the Valonqar prophecy; it was because the show completely dropped the Lady Stoneheart storyline.

    + Maggy also says “Your death is here tonight, little one. Can you smell her breath? She is very close.”
    + Someone needs to check the books. Was a young Catelyn anywhere in the vicinity (either nearby or at least in the same kingdom) while Maggy was talking to the 10 year old Cersei?
    + Or, if you want to get time-bendy, was the adult Catelyn anywhere in the same kingdom as the adult Cersei when she was recalling that memory? Does that mean Maggy was actually talking to the future Cersei remembering that childhood experience?

    + It’s possible one of the final books in ASOIAF will mention that Catelyn originally had one or more older siblings who died when she was young (perhaps they were still alive when Maggy made her prophecy), so “younger sibling” could actually refer to Catelyn in that context.

    + But the “Valonqar” turning out to be Lady Stoneheart would be one hell of a twist. Not to mention yet more mirroring etc — Ned died because of Cersei, so Catelyn ultimately ends up being the person that kills Cersei. And you can imagine GRRM doing this.

  79. Ten Bears,

    What I’m getting at is Arya apparently absolved Sandor of slaughtering Mycah – which he had freely admitted, both in the Brotherhood’s cave in S3 and again in S4e10 when he tried to goad her into killing him.
    How then could she continue to blame Cersei for the Mycah incident? Or was suggesting that Lady be killed in place of the missing Nymeria enough to warrant the death penalty for Cersei?

    I would suspect the difference lies in that Arya was able to foster a relationship with Sandor and see him beyond what she thought he was. I don’t really have much to base this on other than my own views/interpretation of the matter but I’m wondering if the time Arya spent with Sandor enabled her to see him as a person with relatable motivations (ie. what he suffered at the hands of his brother) while Cersei remained an enemy to Arya, a stranger whom she had barely any contact with.

    Well, that and Sandor helped Arya survive 😉

    But again, I don’t have any sources to base this on — this is just speculation 🙂

    Another thought, based on the book excerpts: I can see how an 11 year-old girl would condemn everybody she saw on the dais without apportioning culpability. Wouldn’t the benefit of a few years of maturity dissuade her from assigning guilt by association? I mean, she did apparently accept that Sandor had killed Mycah because it was not his place to question the Prince’s story or refuse his command.

    Yes but even Catelyn blamed Cersei for Ned’s death and Catelyn was an adult. In Arya’s view, Cersei had a hand in Ned’s death and unless she is able to access the truth somehow, I don’t know that she’d ever reconsider this position (that Cersei was at the mercy of Joffrey) because by this time, Arya already hated Cersei (before Ned’s death).

    I wouldn’t call this fair but I’d call it a realistic reflection of emotions and sometimes mistaken perception.

    Melisandre, Sandor, and Beric all got dropped from the List after a while, and arguably they all did worse things than Cersei.

    I can’t remember why Melisandre was dropped from Arya’s list. She’s not on Arya’s list in the books simply because Arya hasn’t met Melisandre in the books.

    Final comment on this subject: Had Arya been assigned to carry out an assassination mission as part of the war effort, that would have been different – even commendable. A stealth infiltration and killing of the enemy’s ruler would have achieved the mitigation of collateral damage that Team Stark + Targ was trying to avoid all along by following Tyrion’s (not so) “clever plans.”
    But killing Cersei motivated by a purely personal and possibly misplaced desire for revenge wasn’t so admirable, was it? That’s why I’m glad Sandor talked her out of it.

    Yes, I agree with this :/

  80. Adrianacandle,

    I am not a shrink either. To me it’s common sense that enduring physical or emotional trauma is not a good thing. Surviving it and moving past it is laudable. Better to not have it happen at all.

    I don’t know any women who’d say abuse was worth it, or that all in all it was a positive experience.

    I have never heard an abuse survivor say she is thankful that it happened or else she’d still be naive and innocent. Unfortunately, that’s how I perceived Sansa’s dialogue in that scene.

    Other viewers have different perceptions and different opinions. I am speaking only for myself.

    Frankly, I had been expecting a more rewarding and much longer Sansa + Sandor reunion scene, considering their relationship in S1 and S2 before Sansa decided to stay in KL instead of taking up Sandor on his offer to take her home the night of the Battle of the Blackwater.

    I cringed when Sandor told Sansa he’d heard how she’d been “broken in.” That was nasty and unnecessarily cruel, even for foul-mouthed Sandor. When he tried to convey that he regretted she had not escaped KL with him when she had the chance because she never would’ve been abused by LF and brutalized by Ramsay, Sansa came back with the verbiage I found so offensive.

    And then their scene abruptly ended. That was it. Very unsatisfying, not enjoyable to watch, and no desire to rewatch.

  81. Jai,

    My brief suggestion about the Valonqar has really taken on a life of its own, hasn’t it? 😉

    It really did! And I’ve really enjoyed the valonqar debate! (And getting its spelling right!)

    Someone needs to check the books. Was a young Catelyn anywhere in the vicinity (either nearby or at least in the same kingdom) while Maggy was talking to the 10 year old Cersei?

    I’m pretty sure Catelyn was in Riverrun at the time, she doesn’t mention being in or around Lannisport during her childhood at any point (as far as I can recall. I did a quick check but I can’t see any mentions of Catelyn traveling to Lannisport as a child).

    Or, if you want to get time-bendy, was the adult Catelyn anywhere in the same kingdom as the adult Cersei when she was recalling that memory? Does that mean Maggy was actually talking to the future Cersei remembering that childhood experience?

    We learn about valonqar in AFFC and this is when Cersei is recalling that memory. By this time, however, Catelyn is already dead (having died during the Red Wedding in ASOS).

    It’s possible one of the final books in ASOIAF will mention that Catelyn originally had one or more older siblings who died when she was young (perhaps they were still alive when Maggy made her prophecy), so “younger sibling” could actually refer to Catelyn in that context.

    I don’t know… if that were the case, I think Catelyn would remember and it would have been mentioned in one of her POV chapters by now (like how we know about Brienne’s deceased older brother).

    Lady Stoneheart as valonqar is a really cool idea! She’d certainly have motive to strangle the life out of Cersei (and I think that’d be a gentle method of killing for LSH) but I don’t know that she quite fits. I really like the idea though.

  82. Ten Bears,

    I am not a shrink either. To me it’s common sense that enduring physical or emotional trauma is not a good thing. Surviving it and moving past it is laudable. Better to not have it happen at all.

    I don’t know any women who’d say abuse was worth it, or that all in all it was a positive experience.

    I have never heard an abuse survivor say she is thankful that it happened or else she’d still be naive and innocent. Unfortunately, that’s how I perceived Sansa’s dialogue in that scene.

    Yes, I did feel uncomfortable with this notion.

  83. Jai,

    If you know…

    Who exactly is responsible for the content of “ASOIAF’s Wiki”? Is it a recognized authority for book canon? Does the information come directly from GRRM?

    I ask because I seem to recall a commenter here questioning the manner in which the editor (or head writer, or whatever his title is) unilaterally dictates what’s in the “Wiki” and decides who gets to contribute.

    Also – and I may be mistaken – I thought I had started watching some long-winded, vituperative videos on YouTube by a fellow who said he’s in charge of the Wiki. I say “started watching” because after several minutes of D&D bashing, I couldn’t keep watching. I don’t mind criticism, even negative criticism. Some of it is enlightening. After a while though, a non-stop barrage of insults becomes annoying.

    I could very well be thinking of the wrong “Wiki.” I apologize if I’ve inadvertently confused “ASOIAF Wiki” with something else.

  84. Adrianacandle,

    ”…Someone needs to check the books. Was a young Catelyn anywhere in the vicinity (either nearby or at least in the same kingdom) while Maggy was talking to the 10 year old Cersei?”

    I don’t know about Young Catelyn. But Young Sandor was right next door, on property abutting Casterly Rock where his dad worked as kennel master.

    So perhaps we should ask ourselves: What families with at least two brothers would 10 year old Cersei be familiar with?

    “I’ve been looking at Lannister gold all my life.”

    – Sandor Clegane to Brienne of F*cking Tarth, S4e10

  85. Ten Bears,

    I think I can answer this! 🙂

    The ASOIAF wiki is from westeros.org, one of the earliest sites for ASOIAF on the internet. It’s run by Elio Garcia and Linda Antonsson, two people who co-wrote The World of Ice and Fire with GRRM and GRRM has used them as fact checkers.

    Also – and I may be mistaken – I thought I had started watching some long-winded, vituperative videos on YouTube by a fellow who said he’s in charge of the Wiki. I say “started watching” because after several minutes of D&D bashing, I couldn’t keep watching. I don’t mind criticism, even negative criticism. Some of it is enlightening. After a while though, a non-stop barrage of insults becomes annoying.

    I think you’re thinking of the GoT wiki hosted by fandom.com? That’s a separate wiki run by some different people. That wiki is more for the show while the westeros.org wiki is almost entirely for the books.

  86. Ten Bears: I don’t know about Young Catelyn. But Young Sandor was right next door, on property abutting Casterly Rock where his dad worked as kennel master.

    So perhaps we should ask ourselves: What families with at least two brothers would 10 year old Cersei be familiar with?

    “I’ve been looking at Lannister gold all my life.”

    – Sandor Clegane to Brienne of F*cking Tarth, S4e10

    It’s true that it’s more likely Sandor would have been in the area but I’m not entirely sure of the likelihood that Sandor and Cersei would be in the same vicinity at the very same time when Cersei met Maggy the Frog — it’s possible though! I think it sucks that we don’t get a Sandor POV though :/

    That’s a good question to ponder 🙂

  87. Adrianacandle,

    I’m pretty sure Catelyn was in Riverrun at the time, she doesn’t mention being in or around Lannisport during her childhood at any point (as far as I can recall. I did a quick check but I can’t see any mentions of Catelyn traveling to Lannisport as a child).

    No mentions *yet*. GRRM may have avoided mentioning it in the books so far because it would give the game away too much. Same with any theoretical older siblings.

    Lady Stoneheart as valonqar is a really cool idea! She’d certainly have motive to strangle the life out of Cersei (and I think that’d be a gentle method of killing for LSH) but I don’t know that she quite fits. I really like the idea though.

    The Catelyn/Brienne quote is eventually going to turn out to be either a really blatant clue or sneaky misdirection from GRRM. But it’s fun to speculate about this stuff anyway.

    I think I can answer this!

    Thanks for answering Ten Bears’ question. I wasn’t entirely sure about the specific details.

  88. Adrianacandle,

    Long due reply -but not so overdue because I can’t catch up with this dialog over here! There’s so many things I’d like to comment and I can’t find enough time for it! This is turning out to be a very nice discussion and a meaningful one.

    I should perhaps clarify further what I mean by de-characterization, because in my opinion this is what gives the flavor of the show ending, not the ending per se. Of course the ending comes from Martin and a lot -perhaps most- fans are displeased with the straight-up-portrayed-as-hero of the story turning out to be an evil dictator that has to be assassinated by her ex-lover in order for the story to conclude.
    But for careful viewers like myself and many others who had seen it coming since season 2 it’s perhaps -I keep my reservation because not everybody thinks things as thorougly and deeply as I do- the characterization of the mains that does the trick. That said, of course that last “flavor” of the show -apart, that is, from the ending- can be different from individual to individual too. All estimates and evaluations of the viewers are accepted and appreciated so long as they don’t turn against the producers -because the producers in the process of adaptation have to take other things into cosideration: giving time to the actors (justifying their payments), showing things that exist in the book narrative (not in dialog), satisfy the fans (because there’s also the commercial factor) and, in this case, the minority of many of the mains which was very particular to GoT (and more things that I can’t even begin to think about).

    And so begins de-characterization, that in this case affected the “flavor” that the ending of the mains has given to the viewers (such as myself). I mean that in part de-characterization served to even out the difficulties of the adaptation; but in part it also served the take of the producers on the material, and with a view to the general audience, it also served making something hard on the audience somehow more easily digestible.

    I think that in this case the first is exemplified in the ending of Arya. You mentioned that Arya might be so traumatised that she won’t want to stay in Westeros when all this is done. This might very well be true, but she doesn’t only have negative thoughts about Westeros and home. The only reason she can’t return home is that the country is infested with her family’s enemies. WF is burnt and she trains herself to think that she has no more siblings in Braavos. This, however, is part of her no-one persona. This is a persona that she builds, one which has no attachments whatsoever. But I believe that Needle is not just “Jon Snow’s smile”. In that book abstract she condenses all her happy memories, and Needle, which she refuses to part with as instructed, becomes a symbol of home and family and happy time, before all the loss. She learns that death is part of life and learns to come to terms with that, to accept it. Yes, she has lost mother, father and a brother and forces herself to think that her entire family is dead. But the readers (and the viewers) know that this is not true. She still has two brothers and a sister. These are “her pack” -she calls them that more than once. How plausible will it be that she leaves them as soon as she returns? I’m not saying that she will never leave. At this point in the book she’s only 11 y.o. and will probably be 13 going on 14 by the end of ADoS. She’s far too young and has lost far too many things to leave just because she can. If Martin intends for her to leave, I suppose it makes better sense to have her leave after a few years. But for the producers, cutting that beautiful ending and showing what will be a few years after the events would be anticlimactic. So Arya leaves immediately after things are settled. There’s also other things one can point out regarding Arya’s de-characterization. She’s not becoming any type of Ninja in the books; she’s far older in the show; her love for Jon wasn’t that obvious throughout. And perhaps there’s more that escapes me. But all these things together affected Arya’s characterization in the show.

    I have more things to say. I’d like to speak about Sansa and Tyrion because it relates to the discussion above. But I have to leave now and perhaps I’ll do it later tonight.

  89. Adrianacandle: It’s true that it’s more likely Sandor would have been in the area but I’m not entirely sure of the likelihood that Sandor and Cersei would be in the same vicinity at the very same time when Cersei met Maggy the Frog — it’s possible though! I think it sucks that we don’t get a Sandor POV though :/

    That’s a good question to ponder 🙂

    I’m not sure what you mean by “the same vicinity.”
    Wasn’t Young Cersei in the woods on or near her father’s property (Casterly Rock)? Or did the books place her somewhere else? She’d be quite a rebellious 10 year old if she traveled far from home to seek out a fortune teller.

    I think I missed something in your discussion or theory: What would be the significance of Sandor being in ”the same vicinity at the very same time when Cersei met Maggy the Frog”?

    I was assuming that Magy was telling Young Cersei about a “little brother” she already knew, not a guy she wouldn’t meet until much later in life. The younger of the two Clegane boys fit the bill. He’d be close by, right next door, and likely on the Lannister property quite a bit. I was also assuming a pre-teen highborn girl like Cersei would lead a somewhat sheltered life, and wouldn’t be traveling all over the place meeting strangers.

  90. Efi,

    This is turning out to be a very nice discussion and a meaningful one.

    It is! 🙂

    I should perhaps clarify further what I mean by de-characterization, because in my opinion this is what gives the flavor of the show ending, not the ending per se. Of course the ending comes from Martin and a lot -perhaps most- fans are displeased with the straight-up-portrayed-as-hero of the story turning out to be an evil dictator that has to be assassinated by her ex-lover in order for the story to conclude.

    I think that’s one of the reasons but I don’t know if it’s the reason. From what I’ve seen, many people that I’ve seen are unhappy over how it was set-up and the limited time frame it had to occur in. However, there are fans of the character herself who hate that it happened — and among those, you get a variety: including stans (apologists who can’t accept any moral failings in Dany, deny the burning of KL even happened, cite it as purely D&D’s choice, and also deny any version of it will happen in the books — and I find stans of any character exhibiting similar tendencies) and fans who didn’t want to see this happen, feel this also sends a nihilistic message itself, but who can accept a version of this will happen in the books.

    I’d be interested in the responses of more neutral viewers and how they viewed it because significant bias for and against a character (particularly a stan and an anti) can really affect their reception of the storyline and what ideas/messages they take from it (and these are often the most vocal of viewers). Meanwhile, more neutral viewers may not be so affected by this bias and may view the story more evenly (for example, how would a new viewer without any pre-existing knowledge of the story/any loyalties to the characters prior to viewing receive watching Game of Thrones all at once from the beginning to the end? What would be their take on it?)

    But for careful viewers like myself and many others who had seen it coming since season 2 it’s perhaps -I keep my reservation because not everybody thinks things as thorougly and deeply as I do- the characterization of the mains that does the trick.

    I think other people can think as deeply about this story (I know I ponder it quite a bit) while not coming to these same conclusions. For example, Linda Antonsson — somebody who GRRM consults as a fact checker for his books — has come to some different conclusions which differ from other parts of the fandom who also spend quite a bit of time thinking about this story themselves. It’s the reason why fans debate so much 🙂

    I think this discussion we’re having about valonqar also demonstrates this: there’s a lot of careful assessment going on but people are coming to different conclusions.

    because the producers in the process of adaptation have to take other things into cosideration: giving time to the actors (justifying their payments), showing things that exist in the book narrative (not in dialog), satisfy the fans (because there’s also the commercial factor) and, in this case, the minority of many of the mains which was very particular to GoT (and more things that I can’t even begin to think about).

    I think some of these are definitely considerations (particularly how to transition from a book medium to a television medium) but I’d dispute the producers were doing things with the primary focus of satisfying the fans. D&D made some very unpopular decisions and knew these choices weren’t going to be popular but still stuck with them. Plus, I don’t know about the argument of giving time to actors to justify payments — Lena Headey was one of the top paid actresses and didn’t get a ton of screentime in season 8 😉

    I mean that in part de-characterization served to even out the difficulties of the adaptation; but in part it also served the take of the producers on the material, and with a view to the general audience, it also served making something hard on the audience somehow more easily digestible.

    I think I’d disagree that the choices the producers made softened the harsh aspects of the adaptation but I think there were definitely adaptational choices, yes! And that some content was streamlined, characters like Jeyne Poole and Sansa were melded together because D&D still wanted to incorporate Jeyne’s storyline while showcasing Sansa more — but I don’t think D&D made choices to make storylines easier on audiences. The Ramsay storyline was certainly rough, for example.

    I think that in this case the first is exemplified in the ending of Arya. You mentioned that Arya might be so traumatised that she won’t want to stay in Westeros when all this is done. This might very well be true, but she doesn’t only have negative thoughts about Westeros and home. The only reason she can’t return home is that the country is infested with her family’s enemies. WF is burnt and she trains herself to think that she has no more siblings in Braavos. This, however, is part of her no-one persona.

    Arya doesn’t have just negative memories of Westeros, that’s true. She misses her family and her home — but I don’t think this changes how impacted she’d be by her brutal experiences in Westeros and Braavos and I think the show’s ending can work well for Arya.

    In light of everything that’s happened since she was separated from her family and forced to go on the run in war-torn Westeros, I’d expect Arya to view Winterfell more favourably, and Sansa too. These experiences would put things in a special perspective. But that still doesn’t really change how she doesn’t feel she fits in within Westeros and Winterfell, how she can’t get comfortable with the gender roles these societies are trying to assign her. And it doesn’t really change the impact her experiences may have on her which could prompt her to seek a release from these painful places.

    I think these ideas can coexist: longing to return to a simpler time with her family all together and alive again while possibly needing a release from the painful reminders of her experiences and losses, as well as finding a place in which she feels comfortable, a role she can be satisfied with.

    There’s that saying, “You can never go home again,” and I think that’s true. One can go back to the physical place and the physical people but what it once was is no longer. So much as changed, the returning person has changed. It’s different. And Winterfell is also filled with the ghosts of lost loved ones, loved ones who never returned. Winterfell isn’t really the same place anymore.

    What home becomes may change.

    How plausible will it be that she leaves them as soon as she returns? I’m not saying that she will never leave.

    Maybe not as soon as — but I think after a time, yes.

    Even in the show, Arya didn’t leave home as soon as she returned. She was there for a while — at least half a year.

    At this point in the book she’s only 11 y.o. and will probably be 13 going on 14 by the end of ADoS. She’s far too young and has lost far too many things to leave just because she can.

    I don’t think that’s too young to leave home. For one, this is a universe in which adulthood starts at age 12-14 and secondly, Arya has already been on her own for quite some time. I don’t think she’d leave right away but I think it’s reasonable for Arya to set her sites elsewhere.

    But for the producers, cutting that beautiful ending and showing what will be a few years after the events would be anticlimactic.

    Between Arya’s return in 7×03 and her departure in 8×06, I’d say a minimum of half a year has gone by (for example, Jon’s imprisonment time alone spans weeks). Perhaps even as much as a year — but I think it’s hard to get that sense of time in the latter seasons because characters were traveling to places much faster as we weren’t spending time on those journeys as we did before.

    her love for Jon wasn’t that obvious throughout.

    I think there was trouble in adapting this relationship, yes. I think we definitely had moments of Arya showing her love for Jon, in particular, in the show (like that scene in which she struggles over throwing Needle away) but I do think the depiction of their relationship suffered in a visual medium because, in the books, so much of their relationship was revealed via each character’s inner monologue.

    I don’t know about Arya becoming a ninja but I think the skills she learns in Braavos will play a role somehow 🙂

  91. Ten Bears,

    I’m not sure what you mean by “the same vicinity.”
    Wasn’t Young Cersei in the woods on or near her father’s property (Casterly Rock)? Or did the books place her somewhere else? She’d be quite a rebellious 10 year old if she traveled far from home to seek out a fortune teller.

    Oh, I had meant the idea that Cersei and Sandor were both in the same woods and Sandor was in proximity when Cersei received her prophecy.

    I think I missed something in your discussion or theory: What would be the significance of Sandor being in ”the same vicinity at the very same time when Cersei met Maggy the Frog”?

    I’m sorry for not being clear/mistaken. I think this happened because I thought you were going off of something I said in response to Jai’s comment ([…]”was the adult Catelyn anywhere in the same kingdom as the adult Cersei when she was recalling that memory?[…]”) as part of the theory that Catelyn was physically around when Cersei received her prophecy, asking to check the books. In response, I said I didn’t think so because there’s no mention of Catelyn traveling to Lannisport as a child.

    I was assuming that Magy was telling Young Cersei about a “little brother” she already knew, not a guy she wouldn’t meet until much later in life. The younger of the two Clegane boys fit the bill. He’d be close by, right next door, and likely on the Lannister property quite a bit. I was also assuming a pre-teen highborn girl like Cersei would lead a somewhat sheltered life, and wouldn’t be traveling all over the place meeting strangers.

    I think I see more clearly what you mean! I’m sorry for the misunderstanding! I got my wires crossed 🙁

  92. Jai,

    The Catelyn/Brienne quote is eventually going to turn out to be either a really blatant clue or sneaky misdirection from GRRM. But it’s fun to speculate about this stuff anyway.

    Yes, I think that quote in and of itself is pretty suspicious because it is kind of easy to miss and forget about while, at the same time, it shares so much with the wording of Maggy’s prophecy. I have a feeling it does have something to do with valonqar but I don’t know how.

    Thanks for answering Ten Bears’ question. I wasn’t entirely sure about the specific details.

    No problem!! 🙂

  93. Efi:
    Ten Bears,

    “As grammarian King Stannis would point out, the prophecy as worded specifically refers to “his hands” (masculine). GRRM could have easily phrased it differently if he intended to embrace both genders, e.g., he could have avoided using the pronoun “his.””

    ……
    As the language geek that I am, I have to point out that for non-english natives who come from countries where nouns have three genders and accusative and pronouns all follow declination and gender, like mine, adjusting a neutral —the/a/one– to the possessive pronoun and vice-versa is a pain in the a**. As in:

    “One should choose math studies if it fits his intellect”
    See what I mean? Why “his” and not “her”? Why not “one’s”?
    You need to know this information in advance, which you don’t, because I did not give you that.
    One of my English Grammar books said that it’s wrong to follow with him/her/his/hers when it’s not indicated which gender is meant. The correct follow-up would be, technically, the same, meaning in this case, “one’s”.
    But the same author admitted that it usually doesn’t happen neither in written nor in spoken language. We tend to use him/her/his/hers without any justification, but admittedly it makes our lives easier.

    Which is why I don’t think that Stannis’ argument is correct. He’s a sophist in reality, set out to prove sth that’s not necessarily there.
    The correct in this case should be “the valonqar shall warp his/her hands around your throat”, since we don’t know what gender a valonqar is. 😁

    [of course Martin couldn’t write his/hers in the text!]

    Ooh, grammatical rabbit holes to burrow down into! 🕳 🐇

    • First example:

    “One should choose math studies if it fits his intellect”

    I don’t know why “his” was used. That’s kind of outdated. The correct pronoun ought to be “one’s” like you suggested or “his or her” but both of those sound awkward.

    It gets worse: Lately, more and more journalists and writers (here in the U.S.) are starting to use “their” as a substitute for “his or her” – e.g., when the gender isn’t known. So now a plural form is being used as a stand-in for a singular form. It makes sentences sound silly when read or spoken, and is f*cking confusing.

    🐇 Follow me down a little further if you’re so inclined … 🕳 🐇
    I am ultra progressive. I try to be sensitive to expressions of gender fluid self-identifications. Still, it’s a challenge because nowadays “their” is often the preferred pronoun for folks who transition, or who view the gender spectrum as encompassing multiple gradients rather than simple binary choice of male on one end and female on the other, with nothing in between. (I hope I’m making sense.)
    Adopting “their” as a universal pronoun and ditching “his or her” isn’t a bad idea in theory. I just wish some linguist would come up with a new pronoun so we don’t have to use the plural “their” when referring to a single person of any sex.
    (I remember when “Ms.” was introduced as an alternative to or in addition to “Miss” and “Mrs.” There’s got to be a new one-syllable gender-neutral singular pronoun we can all learn to use, instead of asking “their” to do all the work.)

    • By the way, isn’t “math studies” plural? If so, your sample sentence should start: “One should choose math studies if they fit…”

    Caveat: English is so f*cked up that some plural words are treated like singular words for grammatical purposes. I’m sure I’ve seen a list somewhere…
    A bigger problem is that a certain Twitter user who purports to know “the best words” consistently screws up his pronouns so that a bastardized form of English is infecting 40% of America.

    It’s a sh*tshow, I tell you, a sh*tshow!

    ——
    to be continued…

  94. Efi:
    Adrianacandle,
    Of course the ending comes from Martin and a lot -perhaps most- fans are displeased with the straight-up-portrayed-as-hero of the story turning out to be an evil dictator that has to be assassinated by her ex-lover in order for the story to conclude.

    I don’t understand why some people continue to push this false narrative when all evidence points to the exact opposite. And Danerys was never the hero of the story. She’s done heroic things, but she has also done terrible things.

  95. Ten Bears,

    “By the way, isn’t “math studies” plural? If so, your sample sentence should start: “One should choose math studies if they fit…””

    Yeees, but which does the pulling? 😂
    There is one phenomenon, in my language it is called “the pulling”. It’s about one word defining what follows in terms of plural/singular and declension, ignoring the context where this word is found.
    Although I have to admit that I didn’t think that much of it and the result above came out after lots of cut/pastes and corrections, lol.
    Meaning
    Mathematics is a word in plural (the -s- in the end) because it comes from Greek and there it is plural. However, is “mathematics are” correct in English? I think (🙄) I learned it in singular, because it’s one subject.
    I don’t know, I have to check. But for me it did the pulling. Is also “math studies” one subject, mathematics holding it together? (should it be “holding them”? –what a headache!)
    But I’m most probably wrong because “math studies are” also sounds good to me.

    As for other genders, I have absolutely no idea. I think linguists are picking up such things and there will be some new suggestion in the new books and there will dispute among them about such things.
    The spoken language tends to adapt many things to reality, but not all adaptations are correct and I tend to disagree with many of them. Language always followed nature but now there are those who seek to subject it to subjective perception. I don’t know if it’s right, but I do know that language will not heed the bidings of anyone (linguists included). It just evolves on its own.

  96. Young Dragon: I don’t understand why some people continue to push this false narrative when all evidence points to the exact opposite. And Danerys was never the hero of the story. She’s done heroic things, but she has also done terrible things.

    Dany was not the only character to threaten to burn cities to the ground though. Nor was she the only one to do both good and bad things. The only difference is that Dany was a Targaryen. I can’t speak for anyone other than myself, but I think this is one of the factors that frustrated some people. Cersei threatened to burn cities to the ground and actually did it in season 6 episode 10, yet everyone was still cool with her ruling afterwards and no one was comparing her to Hitler.

    In the season four finale, Cersei has a tense confrontation with her father Tywin. She doesn’t want to marry Loras Tyrell, and she is terrified of leaving Tommen behind in King’s Landing with Margaery. Cersei bursts out: “I will burn our house to the ground before I let that happen.”

    Early in season five, Cersei receives a threatening message from Dorne regarding Myrcella. While telling Jaime that he has to go rescue her, Cersei says “I will burn their cities to the ground if they touch her.” This sentiment was very similar to the threat she gave her father just a few episodes before.

    Later in season five, Cersei has an emotional conversation with Tommen. He is worried because Margaery has been imprisoned and he feels powerless. When Cersei promises to help him, she explains the lengths to which she would go for his happiness. “I would do anything for you,” she says. “Anything to keep you from harm. I would burn cities to the ground.”

    Jaime told Edmure that Cersei would “burn cities to ash” for her children.

    In the end, the difference turned out to be Danys Targaryen genes, which, IMO, isn’t very compelling.

  97. Efi,

    ”…The correct in this case should be “the valonqar shall warp his/her hands around your throat”, since we don’t know what gender a valonqar is.”

    ————
    🐇🐇 🕳

    • Arghhhh! The dreaded slash! (E.g., in “his/her” and “and/or.”) I got reamed out for using it once and have never done it again.
    An expert linguist called it “execrable.” You can’t tell if it’s conjunctive, disjunctive, or both. It can render a simple sentence hopelessly ambiguous.
    Does “his/her” mean “his or her” or “his and her”? Sometimes it’s hard to tell.

    • Like you observed, GRRM couldn’t (and wouldn’t) write “his/hers” in the text. No decent author would write dialogue as if he’s a dime-store ambulance chaser, no self-respecting fortune teller would talk like that, and no fiction reader would stand for that ambiguity.

    Again, if we go back to using “his or her” in your sample sentence, it sounds just as awkward, e.g., “the Valonqar shall wrap his or her hands around your throat.”

    • Young Cersei would get bent out of shape if she heard that:

    F*ck off Magy! Which is it! Girl or boy! One or the other. There’s no middle ground.
    “Can’t say. It’s not gender specific.”
    ”Pffft. Magy the Fraud…”
    “Don’t look at me. It’s not my fau…”
    (Young Cersei impales Magy with stiletto)
    ”When you play the game of pronouns, you win or you die. There’s no middle ground.”

    [Sorry… So so very sorry .😬]

    • If GRRM intended to obscure the gender or leave it ambiguous, he could have phrased the prophecy without using “his or her” or “his/her” as in your corrected version: “the valonqar shall warp [sic] his/her hands around your throat”, since we don’t know what gender.”

    He could’ve written something like this (well, better than this):

    “And after you have drowned in your tears, you will choke to death with the Valonqar’s hands wrapped around your pale white throat.”

    or “…. the Valonqar’s hands will wrap around your throat and choke the life out of you.”

    – Final Comments:

    • GRRM described the Valonqar using “his hands.” Masculine. Nothing ambiguous or deceptive. Plain and simple.
    • The only in-universe translation of the Valyrian word “Valonqar” is “little brother.” Not little sibling. Not little brother or sister. Not little brother and/or sister. Not little brother/sister.
    • That an entirely different Valyrian word for “prince” is gender neutral and can therefore also mean “princess” does not mean that every Valyrian word can “go both ways.” Nothing remotely suggests this is the case.
    • That dragons have no specific biological gender has nothing to do with human beings.
    • Arya to Tywin S2: “Visenya Targaryen was a great warrior. She had a Valyrian steel sword she called Dark Sister.”
    Visenya didn’t call her VS sword “Dark Brother or Sister” or “Dark Sibling.”
    Like virtually every language in every culture, there are distinct words denoting gender to describe a family’s male progeny and female progeny. There’s nothing to suggest that the Valyrians’ language or the Valyrians themselves were unisex.
    • From a pure storytelling standpoint, if this prophecy that on its face refers to one specific “brother” could be contorted, expanded and reinterpreted to encompass just about any male or female, how would that possibly be narratively satisfying?
    That’d make the Valonqar prophecy equivalent to a useless prognostication like: “You will be killed by someone who has or had an older sibling.”

  98. Young Dragon,

    Beats me! I have friends who don’t want to discuss any of it -actually none of them does.
    I say yes, but Daenerys has been threatening… –it doesn’t matter what she said! how could this happen! — but it showed… — nothing showed, not ever in 8 seasons! –end of “discussion”, lol.
    My friends are truly, genuinely hurt by the ending of GoT.

    It’s for laughs, actually. Everything was there, even the Nazi imagery (they didn’t even have to do that, but if they searched for imperial imagery, they’d do something very close to what we’ve seen). I suppose that most people don’t take well to the hero-turn-villain trope. To be fair, it’s a difficult trope designed to shock the reader/viewer. If it’s done well, it can be an excellent ride for a reader/viewer! It can be foreshadowed or not, but I think the bottom line is, people don’t generally like this trope (perhaps because it feels a bit like cheating).
    But if it’s satisfying, why not? It’s fiction after all.
    Also, lots of people tended to identify with Daenerys because they bought into the rhetoric of the victim (think of her speech to Jon in 7.3); Daenerys finally sitting in the Iron Throne would be the vindication of the victim, which is what we all want, right? Justice for the victims. That’s what we want.
    But in this many ignored the threats and the dragons and so many other sings (e.g. the dialog with Hizdar in season 5).
    Martin is telling a much more complicated story. It’s not just about the vindication of the victim, it’s about choice and method; his characters are shaped and forged through choice and method to end up where they will. Sometimes their methods define their choices and vice versa.
    This is why in the end I do not think that any of them will be innocent, I do not think that there will be black and white characters, everyone shall be grey. It works for me and I do like complicated narratives, but that’s just me.

  99. Ten Bears: The dreaded slash! (E.g., in “his/her” and “and/or.”) I got reamed out for using it once and have never done it again.
    An expert linguist called it “execrable.” You can’t tell if it’s conjunctive, disjunctive, or both. It can render a simple sentence hopelessly ambiguous.

    I will remember this (I am also a slasher…) — but would it be okay to use in our mini essays here??? D:

  100. Mr Derp,

    ”In the end, the difference turned out to be Dany’s Targaryen genes, which, IMO, isn’t very compelling.

    No, it wasn’t. Hereditary mental illness? Blah.

    Oh, and there was this supposed difference,
    [paraphrasing] S7e7 Tyrion to Cersei, about Dany:

    “The difference is that she has advisors who can rein in her worst impulses.”
    🤪🤣😂😁😄

    F*ckin’ Tyrion.

  101. Adrianacandle: I will remember this (I am also a slasher…) — but would it be okay to use in our mini essays here??? D:

    Hang on. Let me summon Stannis from the spirit world….

    A: Slashes are fine EXCEPT for “and/or.”

  102. Ten Bears,

    Respect!
    You’re a true sophist, TB!
    I don’t know. I just understand that the prophecies are meant to blur the waters.
    If there is such ambiguity left hanging in the text, it will become apparent in the next books. Someone in-universe will note what this Valyrian language is, and then we’ll know what was the catch! In fact, if Martin is vaguely aware of the debate his prophecies have triggered (I believe he is), he’ll probably make sure to dissolve such doubts by the end of the book (if he ever finishes the damn thing).
    Also, the highborn Westerosi are supposed to know a bit of high Valyrian. It’s like knowing Latin. Tyrion does, so does Arya. Does Cersei? I think she had to ask what “valonqar” was, but I might misremember things.

    However, I’d like the idea that a woman might fit the description -I suppose that’s because Cersei in the books loathes other women, and it’s very obvious in her own chapters. For her arc it would be very unexpected and a payoff to her own crimes against them -and I do mean Sansa and Arya.
    The Lannister brothers both are too obvious, not that I would mind.
    Euron might also fit the description. (just because he can, lol).

  103. Ten Bears: A: Slashes are fine EXCEPT for “and/or.”

    But that’s my favourite slash!!

    Would Stannis be open to hearing an appeal?

  104. Efi: However, I’d like the idea that a woman might fit the description -I suppose that’s because Cersei in the books loathes other women, and it’s very obvious in her own chapters.

    This is something I hadn’t considered and something I’d quite like about a female valonqar 🙂

    (Probably in the same way that I enjoy the idea of Brienne being the more beautiful “another” referring to inner beauty rather than physical beauty, as lame as that sounds, because it also uses Cersei’s own vanity against her).

  105. Ten Bears:
    Mr Derp,

    ”In the end, the difference turned out to be Dany’s Targaryen genes, which, IMO, isn’t very compelling.

    No, it wasn’t. Hereditary mental illness? Blah.

    Oh, and there was this supposed difference,
    [paraphrasing] S7e7 Tyrion to Cersei, about Dany:

    “The difference is that she has advisors who can rein in her worst impulses.”🤪🤣😂😁😄

    F*ckin’ Tyrion.

    🙂

    I think seasons 1-4 Tyrion would’ve pimp-slapped the heck out of seasons 5-8 Tyrion. They were like two completely different people.

    Of course, Tyrion killing his father would contribute to a major change in character development, but I didn’t think it would affect his intelligence and judgement as much as it seemed to me.

    Maybe Varys and Illyrio actually killed Tyrion between seasons 4-5 and we were left with an imposter Tyrion afterwards. Like the McCartney is dead rumors from back in the day.

  106. Mr Derp,

    My argument centers around how Danerys is not the hero of the story, and if you disagree with that, perhaps your best course of action isn’t to compare her to Cersei.

    You’re absolutely right. Danerys isn’t the only character that has done both good and bad things. That’s what makes the series so great! Other characters like this include Jaime, Theon, Stannis, and Arya. I don’t consider any of these characters heroes of the story either.

    Yes, like Danerys, Cersei threatened to burn cities to the ground, and ended blowing up a piece of King’s Landing, but I’m not sure what you’re point is. People most certainly were not cool with Cersei ruling, hence why most of the kingdoms turned against her.

    I’m not sure what you mean by “the only difference is that Danerys is a Targaryen.” Are you talking about why people are upset with her burning down King’s Landing, because that is definitely not the reason.

  107. Ten Bears,

    Re: Arya blaming Cersei for Ned,

    I just remembered a passage that kind of dissolves my argument. In the passage detailing the moments before Ned’s execution:

    A thousand voices were screaming, but Arya never heard them. Prince Joffrey … no, King Joffrey … stepped out from behind the shields of his Kingsguard. “My mother bids me let Lord Eddard take the black, and Lady Sansa has begged mercy for her father.” He looked straight at Sansa then, and smiled, and for a moment Arya thought that the gods had heard her prayer, until Joffrey turned back to the crowd and said, “But they have the soft hearts of women. So long as I am your king, treason shall never go unpunished. Ser Ilyn, bring me his head!”

    The crowd roared, and Arya felt the statue of Baelor rock as they surged against it. The High Septon clutched at the king’s cape, and Varys came rushing over waving his arms, and even the queen was saying something to him, but Joffrey shook his head. Lords and knights moved aside as he stepped through, tall and fleshless, a skeleton in iron mail, the King’s Justice. Dimly, as if from far off, Arya heard her sister scream. Sansa had fallen to her knees, sobbing hysterically. Ser Ilyn Payne climbed the steps of the pulpit.

    So while Arya would not have had access to the conversations going over what Cersei and Tywin wanted to do with Ned, that they didn’t want him killed, she heard this declaration from Joffrey. If she hadn’t heard this, I think it’d make her mistaken perception a bit more understandable — however, I suppose it’s possible that Arya didn’t take this statement in fully when Joffrey said it due to the heightened emotion.

    But I think your point stands (that Arya blaming Cersei for this, at least, isn’t quite fair but I think it has less to do with what’s fair and more to do with some of the irrationality surrounding hatred).

  108. Mr Derp,

    I think the difference turned out to be the dragons. (method)
    Cersei had wildfire (method) and burned the Sept with all the nobility of KL in it. She did it for vanquishing her political adversaries. (motive-answers to the “why”)
    The rest is the producers’ effort to bring out that she was a loving mother, although I do not understand why loving mothers need to burn the world for proving their love for their children. I also do not remember those threats of Cersei coming from the books and I can’t bear to look into her chapters.

    But I do admit that Daenerys’ motive didn’t come through in the show. The method though -oh, what a method! She ploughed the city of KL with dragonfire, street by street.
    By wanting to show that she suffered, that her rage came from what she had been through, they meant to whitewash her -imo only- and soften the blow for her fans; that she didn’t do it because of calculation -which would prove that she was a villain- she did it out of pain, which means that she was “crazy” either because of trauma or because of genes, as you say, which mitigates the circumstances of her crime (the first she can’t cope with, the second she has no control over). Imputation of liability is considerably reduced if the perpetrator is “crazy” (which is why many criminals go for it in their defense).
    The final dialog with Jon made this even worse. Having her remember that she once was “a little girl” after the massacre only baffled the viewers more. Talking about a new world after having wiped out an old world -whaaaat!?

    I think these were unfortunate choices on the part of the producers. They could bring it about better, and I don’t think time was an issue.
    But I disagree when people say that it was unexpected. The difference has always been that Daenerys had dragons and as the dragons grew so did the damage they could cause. Many cheered in the field of fire II (7.4). If you notice, that’s mostly from Jamie’s PoV. Many cheered when she burned the Yunkai’i in 6.9. They also cheered with the “burn the castles” speech in 6.8. (I didn’t cheer any of these, tbh I was seriously at awe)

    Which is why the producers had the “we cheered for her” speech of Tyrion to Jon in 8.6. They meant to point that out too. It was about handling a weapon of mass destruction, not just about genes. Were the genes problematic or was it that Targs had access to that weapon for centuries? That they inbred for maintaining the magic of their blood, which basically means that they refused to mix with the Westerosi society, thereby keeping themselves above all others -pretty much like gods?

    By making it about Daenerys’ pain the producers softened her agency, while it should have been about her choices -choice to march on KL, choice to dracarys the city. For that to happen they needed to have an adversary that doesn’t just sit on a balcony sipping red vintage from the Arbor.

    In the books, Daenerys is a dictator already; she’s cunning, smart, devious, and even cruel. Proof of that is how she took Astapor and how she dealt with Yunkai. People will say “yes, but masters are evil, and she’s freeing slaves”. That’s true, but her reasons don’t change the methods and the deception that betray a very calculating and devious person that makes certain decisions.
    All that didn’t translate well on screen, but that doesn’t mean that it was totally absent. When the time comes, in the books, for Daenerys to burn KL, it won’t be because she’s crazy, or in pain, it will be because she has chosen it; she will have chosen to use the nuclear deterrent.
    However, I believe that they tried to include even this in the show, in her speech to the army after the catastrophe; not very successfully (its impact was again diminished by the “I am in pain”/”I am a little girl” effect), but the logic is “bent the knee or die”, which was said to the Tarlys in 7.5.
    Now the entire world knows what dragons can do, so it boils down to what the North -Jon- will do about this.
    Jon ignored the dragon, he went for its master.

  109. Young Dragon,

    ”…Danerys isn’t the only character that has done both good and bad things. That’s what makes the series so great! Other characters like this include Jaime, Theon, Stannis, and Arya. I don’t consider any of these characters heroes of the story either.“

    What you talkin bout YD!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Le6qeMe7-vM

    When has Arya done “bad things?”

    How can the Hero of Winterfell not be considered a hero of the story?

    Respectfully,
    ASNAWP Anti-Defamation League

  110. Young Dragon: My argument centers around how Danerys is not the hero of the story, and if you disagree with that, perhaps your best course of action isn’t to compare her to Cersei.

    I didn’t say or imply that Dany is a hero. I thought I was pretty clear with what I was trying to get across and I think you’re going a bit out of your way to misunderstand me. This is usually why you and I have problems having conversations.

    Efi seemed to understand me just fine even if there is a disagreement and responded without trying to belittle what I said or repeatedly saying “you’re not sure what my point is”. It’s just rude and initiates acrimony for no reason.

  111. Efi,

    In the books, Daenerys is a dictator already; she’s cunning, smart, devious, and even cruel. Proof of that is how she took Astapor and how she dealt with Yunkai. People will say “yes, but masters are evil, and she’s freeing slaves”. That’s true, but her reasons don’t change the methods and the deception that betray a very calculating and devious person that makes certain decisions.

    Well, Dany is a conqueror but this isn’t all that she is and there’s another side to these traits. Dany also feels deep guilt over what happened with Astapor, that’s one of the reasons why she rejects violence for much of ADWD because she doesn’t want to create another Astapor and spends much of ADWD making compromises and sacrifices that she finds painful on personally moral level. She also goes against Barristan’s advice to sail for Westeros right away because she feels she needs to help Meereen heal and this is her duty. Even Adam Feldman, who predicted a darker Daenerys, acknowledges Dany’s compassion, a genuine desire for peace, and a drive to right the world’s wrongs.

    Quotes to support the above:

    “Your Grace, may I speak frankly?”

    “Always.”

    “There is a third choice.”

    “Westeros?”

    He nodded. “I am sworn to serve Your Grace, and to keep you safe from harm wherever you may go. My place is by your side, whether here or in King’s Landing… but your place is back in Westeros, upon the Iron Throne that was your father’s. The Seven Kingdoms will never accept Hizdahr zo Loraq as king.”

    “No more than Meereen will accept Daenerys Targaryen as queen. The Green Grace has the right of that. I need a king beside me, a king of old Ghiscari blood. Elsewise they will always see me as the uncouth barbarian who smashed through their gates, impaled their kin on spikes, and stole their wealth.”

    “In Westeros you will be the lost child who returns to gladden her father’s heart. Your people will cheer when you ride by, and all good men will love you.”

    “Westeros is far away.”

    “Lingering here will never bring it any closer. The sooner we take our leave of this place—”

    “I know. I do.” Dany did not know how to make him see. She wanted Westeros as much as he did, but first she must heal Meereen. “Ninety days is a long time. Hizdahr may fail. And if he does, the trying buys me time. Time to make alliances, to strengthen my defenses, to—”
    “And if he does not fail? What will Your Grace do then?”
    “Her duty.” The word felt cold upon her tongue.

    The Shavepate disagreed. “If you had taken the Unsullied south to Hazzat, the Sons of the Harpy—”

    “I know. I know. It is Eroeh all over again.”

    Brown Ben Plumm was puzzled. “Who is Eroeh?”

    “A girl I thought I’d saved from rape and torment. All I did was make it worse for her in the end. And all I did in Astapor was make ten thousand Eroehs.”

    “Your Grace could not have known—”

    “I am the queen. It was my place to know.”

    “We curse the rain when it falls upon our heads, yet without it we should starve. The world needs rain … and slaves. You make a face, but it is true. Consider Qarth. In art, music, magic, trade, all that makes us more than beasts, Qarth sits above the rest of mankind as you sit at the summit of this pyramid … but below, in place of bricks, the magnificence that is the Queen of Cities rests upon the backs of slaves. Ask yourself, if all men must grub in the dirt for food, how shall any man lift his eyes to contemplate the stars? If each of us must break his back to build a hovel, who shall raise the temples to glorify the gods? For some men to be great, others must be enslaved.”

    He was too eloquent for her. Dany had no answer for him, only the raw feeling in her belly. “Slavery is not the same as rain,” she insisted. “I have been rained on and I have been sold. It is not the same. No man wants to be owned.”

    D&D too acknowledges Daenerys’s empathy in the Inside the Episode for 4×05:

    Dan Weiss: This scene shows Dany learning a lesson that I think all revolutionaries learned at one point or another, which is that conquering in many ways is a whole lot easier than ruling.

    David Beniof: This is a pivotal moment for Daenerys because for so long, her sole goal was getting back to Westeros, conquering Westeros, sitting on the Iron Throne, and becoming the queen that she believes she has every right to be. And now she has the opportunity.

    Dan Weiss: She’s driven by a kind of a deep empathy — a much deeper empathy than probably anybody else on the show. It’s something that makes her as charismatic as she is to people because they can sense the sincerity of it. Her empathy allows her to look at the people of Westeros and say ‘Why the hell would they ever follow me if I haven’t proven myself through my actions to be somebody worth following? Why would they let me rule if I hadn’t proven myself to be someone who has ruled well somewhere else?’

    Not to say that Dany going dark and razing King’s Landing is impossible but she’s not just a cunning, devious, and cruel dictator who is driven by want for power. Her compassion for the oppressed is genuine, she has experienced it herself, and she’s also looking for a place in the world in which she feels she fits and can wield the power to right the wrongs of the world (as she seems them). However, the question may be who Dany views as the oppressed and deserving of help.

    When the time comes, in the books, for Daenerys to burn KL, it won’t be because she’s crazy, or in pain, it will be because she has chosen it; she will have chosen to use the nuclear deterrent.

    And I’m hoping in the books, it’s not just a matter of Dany choosing violence ala Cersei because she wants the throne. I think this would be making Dany a bit too one-dimensional and flattening her character. I’m hoping it’s far more nuanced and there’s some inner struggle and consideration if this is a decision.

    As Martin said,

    It is certainly a genuine, legitimate topic as the core of fantasy, but I think the battle between Good and Evil is waged within the individual human hearts. We all have good in us and we all have evil in us, and we may do a wonderful good act on Tuesday and a horrible, selfish, bad act on Wednesday, and to me, that’s the great human drama of fiction. I believe in gray characters, as I’ve said before. We all have good and evil in us and there are very few pure paragons and there are very few orcs. A villain is a hero of the other side, as someone said once, and I think there’s a great deal of truth to that, and that’s the interesting thing. In the case of war, that kind of situation, so I think some of that is definitely what I’m aiming at.

    Now the entire world knows what dragons can do, so it boils down to what the North -Jon- will do about this.
    Jon ignored the dragon, he went for its master.

    Well, even here, Jon didn’t want to kill Dany and wanted to give her that last chance, still not feeling killing her was right despite it all. Which I think is another example of a terrible inner struggle. Doing what is right for the rest of the world may not feel right on a personal level.

    However, I believe that they tried to include even this in the show, in her speech to the army after the catastrophe; not very successfully (its impact was again diminished by the “I am in pain”/”I am a little girl” effect), but the logic is “bent the knee or die”, which was said to the Tarlys in 7.5.

    I thought Dany’s speech and her words to Jon afterward were more a case of Extremist Idealism or Utopia Justifies the Means since Daenerys truly believes what she’s done is good, that she has liberated the people, that destruction is necessary to build a better world.

    I don’t think the two scenes necessarily contradict because Dany seems to believe what she’s doing is right, which makes her all the more dangerous since she doesn’t see what she’s done as wrong — which I think adds another layer to this.

    I don’t think this was done to whitewash Daenerys or soften the blow for her fans (I think that ship sailed when she demolished King’s Landing and justified it) but to explore the idea of idealism taken to its most extreme, which might be an idea GRRM could be planning to explore with Daenerys’s storyline. However, I think the execution was kind of jarring in the show.

  112. Ten Bears,

    I figured that would catch your attention. Arya’s “crimes” were more about the execution. Killing Meryn Trant was understandable, but the brutality of it was way over the top. The same with feeding Walder Frey his own sons. She also threatened her sister at Winterfell. But yes, killing the Night King was certainly heroic, but the good doesn’t wipe out the bad, nor the bad, the good.

  113. Mr Derp,

    Like I said, my argument centered around how Danerys wasn’t the hero, and you tried to refute it by comparing her to Cersei. If I misunderstood something, I apologize and would like to understand your point, but you must take some responsibility in not making your message clearer.

  114. Young Dragon,

    ”Arya’s “crimes” were more about the execution.”

    • Okay. So to start with, it’s undisputed the culprits were guilty of grievous offenses and deserved their punishment. You just have a problem with how she imposed their sentences.
    Bear in mind that in her world, “there is no justice in this world unless we make it.”

    ”Killing Meryn Trant was understandable, but the brutality of it was way over the top.”

    Not really. All she had was a little oyster knife. She had to incapacitate him and mute him. She also needed to identify herself and explain to him why his pervfest was turning into his execution.
    In any event, MFT was a sadistic pedophile who liked to beat and rape little girls. He punched Sansa in the face and stomach. Sorry. I have no sympathy for pedophile f*ckwits. He got just and fair punishment.

    ”The same with feeding Walder Frey his own sons.
    Violation of Guest Right is such a grievous crime that you gotta eat your sons. Cut her some slack. They weren’t easy to carve. Especially Black Walder. Rewatch the Red Wedding and take another look at what Walder’s damn moron sons did to Catelyn Stark and pregnant Talisa and her unborn child, and then tell me their punishment didn’t fit their crimes.

    ”She also threatened her sister at Winterfell.”
    That was not Arya. I don’t know who that was.
    Must have been a clone.

    ”But yes, killing the Night King was certainly heroic…”
    Sure was!

    ”but the good doesn’t wipe out the bad, nor the bad, the good.”
    Who says so? That’s a bullsh*t platitude.
    Arya had no “bad” to wipe out anyway.

    👸🏻

  115. Ten Bears,

    Though he should’ve bisected Cersei when she flitted down the stairs right by him. I’m still not sure why they filmed it that way…

    As you of all commenters needn’t any reminding, in the previous Sandor scene he had told Arya — in blunt terms even by the standards of their dialogs!– that Cersei was certainly going to die, very violently, and very soon. He then admonished Arya to waste none of her own precious escape time on pursuing the good-as-dead Cersei.

    Furthermore, Sandor had made it very clear he was going up to kill his brother, and when he finally did lay eyes on Gregor, there was no way he would let his gaze wander. Breaking concentration, to kill a woman he already considered to be dead*, might have cost him his entire reason for going.

    For the audience, Cersei’s light-footed trot past Sandor made for a brief chuckle, at least for our viewing party. By that point, we’d had — what, twenty continuous minutes? — of rape, pillage, and mass slaughter of innocents, with more Dragon strafings in the background. That’s the darkest sequence in a series infamous for them, and we were just about to witness the long-awaited Cleganebowl, another gore-fest horror show of grunting, beatings, and bloodshed. Everyone needed a small laugh at that moment.

    *Thinking about it just now, that’s another great parallel: Sandor tells Arya not to waste her time killing a woman who is as good as dead, and then Sandor throws his own life away trying to kill a man who is already dead! The writing of this story continues to amaze me, a year after it ended.

  116. Young Dragon,

    I think Mr. Derp is saying that the execution of the burning of KL by Daenerys was not satisfying as it portrayed her burning an entire city for absolutely no good reason which could then be attributed to… well, to Targ genes.
    I think it’s a simple way of putting things but you might find that this interpretation encapsulates even though compressed the feelings and interpretations of many fans outside this site (because I think that we’ve taken our interpretations to higher levels).
    I generally agree that this part lacked courage on the part of the producers. They chose the line of “when a Targaryen is born, the gods cast a coin” for building the story on, or at least that’s what many fans might have understood. I will refer you to my post about it for the rest.

    But I have to say that the structure of the story is such, that each character is a foil or a parallel to someone else. The books take the heroes and put them in dire circumstances for the reader to see how they will react and the producers very consciously tried to show that on screen. With the rulers it’s how they will react to holding absolute power. Cersei, Stannis, Joffrey, Daenerys, even Robert in the beginning and certainly Jon are foils and/or (sorry TB!) parallels to each other, so they are bound to be compared.
    Cersei and Daenerys in particular have what others don’t have, power of destructive forces, wildfire and dragons respectively. While Cersei has been threatening to burn the city (I repeat I don’t remember such threats in the book -perhaps someone can enlighten me- and the producers here were obliged to show the author’s intent, meaning that she was that violent), in the end she didn’t do anything -didn’t activate the wildfire- while Daenerys who wanted to “save” it actually bombed it. This, I suppose, is a call on Aerys’ “burn them all” madness. Foils.

    The difference is that Targaryens always had dragons and relied on them for ruling. The country wasn’t unified with friendly negotiations, it was unified with dragons. It’s the nuclear deterrent that Martin has spoken about in his interviews. So Daenerys in the end decided to use that deterrent and show the world what she could do, unlike Cersei, who stood on the balcony sipping wine.

  117. Tensor the Mage, Still Loving the Ending,

    ” As you of all commenters needn’t any reminding, in the previous Sandor scene he had told Arya — in blunt terms even by the standards of their dialogs!– that Cersei was certainly going to die, very violently, and very soon. He then admonished Arya to waste none of her own precious escape time on pursuing the good-as-dead Cersei.”

    Ah, Tensor the Contrarian!

    Okay, I will look at that sequence again.

    The way I saw it, Sandor could’ve swatted her like a fly without averting his gaze from his lunkhead ZombieBrother. Sandor had just cut down three Kingsguard like he was carving a cake. Or as if they were three Meryn Trants.

    Yes, Sandor had just told Arya Cersei was “certainly going to die, very violently, and very soon.” Perhaps the fire would get her; or one of the Dothraki; or maybe the dragon would eat her. (None of which happened, by the way. Had the cave-in not blocked the basement passageway, Cersei might well have escaped.)

    Sandor could’ve quickly administered death to Cersei “very violently, and very soon” as he’d assured Arya.

    Come on now: It would have taken one second for Sandor to bisect her, and maybe two seconds to get off a snarky parting shot. (“The Starks send their regards” was a popular fandom prediction. I’d have preferred a S1 callback, something like “Remember that ‘filthy little animal’ who went poof?”)

    Arya had vowed “I’m going to kill her!” Sandor persuaded Arya – first brusquely (“Look at me!”) and then gently, to abort her mission, telling her “if you come with me, you die here.”

    Fine. He then had a chance to fulfill Arya’s objective on her behalf – with the added bonus of crossing two names off Arya’s List, and one off his own list, as he’d suggested when he first heard her reciting her nightly prayer in S3.

    I was not thrilled with “Cleganebowl” to begin with. I just felt that Cersei scooting right by Sandor unmolested was a head-scratching moment. Why would she even risk it? Why would he not take a shot? Considering the rather cheesy way Cersei later perished, don’t you kind of wish she’d had a more dramatic final exit on that staircase?

    However, I’ll take another look at the scene…

    ___
    P.S. Tinfoil Missed Opportunity:

    Sandor: “Hello, big brother.”
    UnGregor: “Hello, Little Brother.”
    (Cersei freaks. As she tries to run by Sandor, he grabs her by the throat and starts squeezing …)

  118. Young Dragon: I don’t understand why some people continue to push this false narrative when all evidence points to the exact opposite. And Danerys was never the hero of the story. She’s done heroic things, but she has also done terrible things.

    I think when it comes down to mass audience, a significant percentage of people watch TV shows just for their favorites, more than often not even caring about the “grand story aspect”. I generally try to avoid fandoms but I still saw enough comments and such on web in the period from 2011 to 2019 to conclude that. I can give you an example of three of my online friends Ryan, Irene and Monica… all three of them being big Dany fans and they all actively watched GoT. Two of them, Ryan and Irene, loved the ending and they loved “The Bells” as an episode, despite being big Dany fans. I remember having conversation with them about it and they both said they (sadly) felt how Dany’s downfall was bound to happen. But in grand aspect of the story, they appreciated this twist. My other friend Monica on other hand, she pretty much cared for only Jon and Dany… she believed them to be THE story. And at same time, she believes that at the end of every story, no matter how twisted and dark it is overall, there has to be happily ever after because that’s what audience deserves… that all top-tier characters need to survive and achieve firm happines for the rest of their lives while all bad guys, even if they redeemed themselves through the story, need to die because “they dont’ deserve to live”. If one of the main protagonists dies, she would label that “they deserved better” So her only way of how the story should unfold is Dany and Jon marrying and having kids and she’s pissed at writers for “betraying the audience”. ANd I believe there are a lot of people like Monica out there… people who cared only about “what” happens to their favorites.

    Efi,

    You summarized it well here regarding that there’s more than often “what” and not “how” that’s the usual reason for mass audience’s displeasure. Something I wonder about is if people, who were displeased with ending, were asked to rewrite these final chapters of the story to their satisfaction but under condition that Dany’s downfall remains in the story. I’m very much sure a lot of people would struggle or they would just label this as “not a good story”.

  119. Tensor the Mage, Still Loving the Ending,

    ”Breaking concentration, to kill a woman he already considered to be dead*….
    ….

    “*Thinking about it just now, that’s another great parallel: Sandor tells Arya not to waste her time killing a woman who is as good as dead, and then Sandor throws his own life away trying to kill a man who is already dead! The writing of this story continues to amaze me, a year after it ended.”

    Yes, he did throw his own life away trying to kill a man who’d already dead.

    My fanfic ending for Sandor would have been more meaningful, with an element of self-sacrifice, e.g., going out in a literal and figurative blaze of glory defending his surrogate daughters, followed by a tear-jerker moment when the dying Sandor utters his last words to them: “Remember where the heart is”.

    While I’m not sure I’d call the writing of Sandor’s
    wasteful death “amazing,” or that chopping down Cersei would require “breaking concentration,” I don’t necessarily disagree with you about the narrative decision. For me, Sandor’s final talk with Arya impressed upon her that he was too far gone; revenge had fully consumed him. It was too late for him to turn back – but not for her.

    On one hand, it kind of sucked that after his “second chance” at life, he ultimately threw it away in a senseless death. After all, it seemed that he had bought into Ray’s sermon that it was never too late to stop killing people and start helping people; and then was persuaded by Beric’s recruitment pitch: “You can still help a lot more than you’ve harmed, Clegane; it’s not too late for you.”

    On the other hand, if I can steal a line from a movie: “You know, sometimes there ain’t no forgettin’…” As disappointing as it was that Sandor was irretrievably consumed by his desire for revenge, the show made it clear in the post-battle party in S8e4 that Sandor just couldn’t let it go. When he turned down a comely waitress’ no-strings attached invitation to join her for a frolic, that was a signal that he had lost the capacity to enjoy life. Sansa questioned why he rebuffed the waitress: “She could have made you happy.” Sandor’s reply that “only one thing” could make him happy, followed by his pronouncement to Arya as they rode away from WF that he wouldn’t be coming back, pretty much sealed the deal.

    “You don’t want to be like me” was the message imparted to Arya. Sure, he could’ve aborted his mission too and embraced life instead of certain death. He could have helped Arya run through the gauntlet of Dany’s Inferno, and accompanied her on her seafaring adventures. I suppose that kind of Disneyfied ending would have been even more “fan servicey” than Cleganebowl.

    The show chose not to transform the Hound into a neutered puppy dog. Some might say that his fatal obsession with getting even with Gregor (even after Gregor wasn’t really Gregor anymore) made Sandor a tragic figure. I can’t argue with that narrative decision. Just as with Sandor’s attempt to join the peace, love and Frisbee hippie commune (“how did that work out?” – Beric 🤔), a violent death in a brutal fight against his asshat brother had already fixed a long time ago. (I take it that’s what he was referring to when he got in ZombieGregor’s face in the S7e7 dragonpit encounter (“you’ve always known” who (or what) is coming for you.”)

    Oh, to steal another line from a different movie: “People can’t escape their nature.” Even if they know it thwarts a happy ending (or may lead to their doom).

    So yeah, I suppose you may be right that on some level there was a deliberate parallel – or contrast – between Sandor’s “save yourself, she’s as good as dead” advice to Arya, and the contradictory, self-destructive decision he made for himself.

    P.S. I always figured Sandor, having cheated death or having been given a reprieve by the god or gods, was living on borrowed time anyway. His death was a pre-ordained event in-universe, and in his own mind.

  120. Ten Bears,

    The gender issue is moot, isn’t it? Even if it means “little sibling” and not “little brother” (and there is zero evidence to this effect), Cersei does not have any younger sisters. Ergo, a prophecy about little siblings is a prophecy about little brothers for her. And Cersei has two of those.

    How did the idea that “valonqar” meant “sibling” instead of “brother” arise, anyway? It is not from the books or the show. (I hope that people are not confusing “prince” with sibling: Martin got that from Latin, where the word for “prince” [which meant something a bit different than the concept for which it was co-opted] was neutral; Latin obvious has very well-known words for “brother” and “sister”!)

  121. Wimsey,

    Actually, I was wrong about one thing: there is not a Latin word for “Sibling”: you had a “brother” or a “sister.” (I had remember “propinquus” as sibling for some reason, but it just means “relative.”) Latin probably is the inspiration for making prince gender neutral in Valyrian; however, there is no reason to think that Valyrian did not have equivalents of frater and soror: that would be highly unusual.

  122. Wimsey: How did the idea that “valonqar” meant “sibling” instead of “brother” arise, anyway? It is not from the books or the show. (I hope that people are not confusing “prince” with sibling: Martin got that from Latin, where the word for “prince” [which meant something a bit different than the concept for which it was co-opted] was neutral; Latin obvious has very well-known words for “brother” and “sister”!)

    From what I’ve seen, the idea that ‘valonqar’ may be gender-neutral has been around for a long time in the ASOIAF fandom. In this debate, it was me (and I believe Efi) who were arguing the case that it might be possible for there to be a female valonqar.

    Of course, the idea that ‘valonqar’ is female could be totally wrong because it’s true (as Ten Bears brought up) that Maggy says ‘his hands’. If you go to this link, you’ll see the basis for the female valonqar theory if that helps out any 🙂 (This is a link to the westeros.org wiki but they require cookies. If you’d rather not go to that site due to the cookies issue, I can screencap the page for you if you’re interested. This page lists the main theories for valonqar, male and female).

  123. Adrianacandle: From what I’ve seen, the idea that ‘valonqar’ may be gender-neutral has been around for a long time in the ASOIAF fandom.

    I don’t remember that one: but, then, I basically dropped out of the fandom after Crows and didn’t return until the show started. Still, I wonder why “Martin lied in the text with Valonqar” idea arose: nothing in the books hints that this might be the case. And given Cersei’s lack of sisters, it’s still pretty moot! (This is also not like Jamie seeing Robb’s book-wife as having thin hips when Catelyn saw her as having good birthing hips: that is very subjective and Jaime’s idea of “good hips” was a middle-aged woman who’d given birth to 3 kids without the benefit of a C-section.)

    So, making it a woman requires both that the word not only not mean brother, but that it not even mean sibling! The only “out” on it would be if GRRM had provided some group for which the title that Cersei would use is “Brother”. Now, there are brotherhoods such as the Nights Watch and Brotherhood of Banners in which the word is used informally: but Cersei and others would never refer to a member as “Brother Jon” or “Brother Beric” in the way that people (used to) refer to monks as, say, Brother Joseph.

    If nothing else, then it’s not a very parsimonious idea: and one thing that we saw in the show over and over for the “big questions” that the books have not yet answered is that the answers tended to be very parsimonious with regard to the information that we already had. (Put another way, the show/books hung Chekhovian guns, and the show fired them. 😀 )

  124. Wimsey: I don’t remember that one: but, then, I basically dropped out of the fandom after Crows and didn’t return until the show started. Still, I wonder why “Martin lied in the text with Valonqar” idea arose: nothing in the books hints that this might be the case. And given Cersei’s lack of sisters, it’s still pretty moot! (This is also not like Jamie seeing Robb’s book-wife as having thin hips when Catelyn saw her as having good birthing hips: that is very subjective and Jaime’s idea of “good hips” was a middle-aged woman who’d given birth to 3 kids without the benefit of a C-section.)

    Perhaps but it’s just a theory. The idea of a female valonquar might be totally wrong. People reference something Maester Aemon saying in AFFC as possibly pertaining to a female valonqar — which may be the reason you missed these theories since you dropped out of the fandom after AFFC. Would that make sense?

    Anyway, I pulled the text from the westeros.org wiki page for your perusal 🙂

    As supporting evidence, a translation error discussed in A Feast for Crows is often cited. According to Maester Aemon, the prophecy about the prince that was promised, which thus far had been interpreted to indicate a man, could have been incorrectly translated. Aemon, because of this, comes to believe that the prophecy could refer to a woman, stating “The error crept in from the translation. Dragons are neither male nor female, Barth saw the truth of that, but now one and now the other, as changeable as flame. The language misled us all for a thousand years.”.[33] Readers have taken this to indicate that the word used in the prophecy concerning the prince that was promised is gender-neutral, and thus, that there might be more gender-neutral words in the old Valyrian language, with “valonqar” being their candidate.

    David Peterson, who created the High Valyrian used on HBO’s Game of Thrones, has commented on the assumption, claiming that “[Aemon’s quote] says nothing whatever about the gender system of High Valyrian”. He stressed that Aemon, in A Feast for Crows, was speaking about biological gender (i.e., dragons being able to change their gender from male to female, or vice versa), not grammatical gender, and that grammatical and biological gender need not be tied to one another. To explain further, Peterson stated “English is a gender neutral language. We have gendered third person singular pronouns, but outside of that, English has no grammatical genders the way Spanish, French and Italian do. “Prince” is grammatically gender neutral. Semantically, though, it’s male, just as the words “man”, “bachelor”, “father” and “son” are. That these words exist says nothing about the grammatical gender system of English.” According to Peterson, the High Valyrian word originally used in the prophecy that was translated as “prince” in the Common Tongue (i.e. English) can refer to both men and women, with Aemon’s comment referring to the assumption, given the context, that the person prophesied must be male.[34]

    You can take it or leave it! But that’s the basis for this theory.

    For me, the idea of a female valonqar isn’t a hill I’m going to die on. It’s really just an idea I found intriguing but there are also good counterarguments to this idea as well.

    Other than issues with the wording of the prophecy itself, I would doubt that most of theorized female contenders possess the physical strength and hand size to carry out a manual strangulation with their hands (other than Brienne and perhaps the proposed Stoneheart, as theorized by Jai in the above discussion). While I’ve entertained the idea of a female valonqar, I’m more inclined to believe valonqar is likely male.

  125. Adrianacandle,

    Right, but that has nothing to do with the words for “brother” or “sister.” Extending the notion that one gender neutral word that is engendered in other languages means that a language has no engendered words is a classic logical fallacy: i.e., affirming the antecendent. (“If P, then q; q; therefore P!”) Moreover, this premise is easily falsified when applied to real languages: because Latin has “princeps,” either the words “frater” + “soror,” or “puer” + “puella” cannot both exist: there will be just one word for “sibling” or “offspring.” Either my Latin teacher lied to me, or the premise is false!

    At any rate, Cersei has no younger siblings. There is no class of people that she calls “brother.” Assuming that it’s not truly awful writing by Martin, then the statement has to apply to someone that Cersei will think of as “little brother” at the climax: her final thoughts shouldn’t be “I knew Tyrion would kill me!” or “That ‘Little’ brother??”, and not “Woo hoo! The prophecy was wrong. Oh, wait….. *gurgle*”

    That’s the other key: we can’t say “Wait, Cersei, don’t die just yet, and think about it: if we do a few contortions, add in that your translator was wrong about what Valonqar means AND that Maggie basically was wrong, then it makes total sense!” It has to make sense to Cersei and it has to make immediate sense to her. Preferably, it not only will make sense, but there will be an appreciation by Cersei that because she attributed it to the wrong brother, she actually created the circumstances that led to the other one killing her. (I do like my prophecies MacBethian!) Given the Faulknerian theory of writing to which Martin subscribes, that would be the most appropriate outcome.

  126. Wimsey,

    Right, but that has nothing to do with the words for “brother” or “sister.” Extending the notion that one gender neutral word that is engendered in other languages means that a language has no engendered words is a classic logical fallacy: i.e., affirming the antecendent. (“If P, then q; q; therefore P!”) Moreover, this premise is easily falsified when applied to real languages: because Latin has “princeps,” either the words “frater” + “soror,” or “puer” + “puella” cannot both exist: there will be just one word for “sibling” or “offspring.” Either my Latin teacher lied to me, or the premise is false!

    It’s only a speculation in that there has been a mistranslation of ‘valonqar’. There’s also that High Valyrian itself is a fiction language but I don’t know if it’s been as fully realized as other fictional languages have been (could be wrong there though). As a result, there isn’t really set system to rely on, reference, and parallel — High Valyrian isn’t Latin and I don’t know what Martin is basing the language on (unless somebody has information about this?)

    What you say could be true! But I don’t know enough about the language itself to give a strong debate either way.

    So I take it to mean you think valonqar is Jaime since Jaime would fulfill the requirements you are proposing (must make sense to Cersei and that Cersei only has younger brothers, not younger siblings).

  127. I’m not awaiting the next book impatiently anymore. I might wait to see what the critics say before I invest any money in it. Though critics might have a different opinion to me. There’s library loan but it’s not always easy to find the ASOIAF books there – which shows they are popular.

    I read a somewhat abridged version of Robert Jordan’s ‘The Eye of the World’ – first book of ‘The Wheel of Time’ series. I think I might be too old for that series. I didn’t loathe it but it didn’t grab me either. If there are any mega WOT fans I’m really, really not trying to be critical of other folks’ tastes in books (horses for courses and all that).

    Wimsey, English does have its idiosyncrasies indeed. Sometimes ‘they’ which is strictly speaking a third person plural pronoun is used as a singular pronoun in an informal setting where the gender is not known.

  128. Mr Derp: 🙂

    I think seasons 1-4 Tyrion would’ve pimp-slapped the heck out of seasons 5-8 Tyrion. They were like two completely different people.

    Of course, Tyrion killing his father would contribute to a major change in character development, but I didn’t think it would affect his intelligence and judgement as much as it seemed to me.

    Maybe Varys and Illyrio actually killed Tyrion between seasons 4-5 and we were left with an imposter Tyrion afterwards….

    • That’s the way it looked to me too. For whatever reason (maybe the lack of source material?), S1-S4 Tyrion and S5-S8 Tyrion “were like two completely different people. (For the sake of brevity, maybe I should adopt your descriptions and refer to them as Real Tyrion and Imposter Tyrion, respectively. Or Clever Tyrion vs. Faux Tyrion.)

    I’ve suggested in the past that writing witty, intelligent dialogue for a character; crafting jokes with punchlines that land; and constructing intricate plans and schemes for a character; must be among the most difficult and time-consuming challenges for a scriptwriter. GRRM had all the time he wanted to create Real Tyrion. The showrunners did not. Even so, the differences were glaring. It was as if “Varys and Illyrio actually killed” Tyrion, or arranged for a lobotomy.

    • I know some fans felt differently. Speaking only for myself, I almost felt embarrassed for Peter Dinklage, and I almost hurled, when I watched Tyrion drone on and on to Cersei about “Your baby, your baby, your baby.”
    I cringed while listening to that ridiculous “Bran the Broken has the best story” speech. Dinklage tried to make it sound dramatic. He couldn’t.

    I’m sorry. Those speeches were just awful. Real Tyrion would’ve fired crossbow bolts into Faux Tyrion’s bowels to shut him up.

    • Compare Faux Tyrion in those scenes with Real Tyrion in this S2 scene (possibly my all-time favorite Tyrion scene):

    Tyrion & Lancel, S2

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HijFieJNH5k

    Real Tyrion transforms pompous Lancel into a quaking lump of pliable jelly over the course of a few minutes, flipping Lancel into a double agent.
    Vintage Tyrion.

    • I remember the truly clever Real Tyrion who came up with the Wildfire Ghost Ship plan.
    As for Faux Tyrion? Two words:

    Wight Hunt.

    JFC. I cannot believe that the Tyrion who recognized that Cersei’s wildfire pot-flinging plan was a disaster waiting to happen, would ever come up with a harebrained scheme to send a dozen or so men on foot against 100,000 killer zombies just to try to bag one for a show and tell presentation that turned out to be a waste of time.

    For that matter, I still don’t understand why the Tyrion who knew full well his sister despised him and was untrustworthy, would decide to trust her – over and over – only to be deceived each time, like Lucy yanking the football away from Charlie Brown. (Even Sansa called him out for being such a twit for believing Cersei would actually send the Lannister army north.) How could he actually think his appeals to her to think about “your baby, your baby” had changed her into a decent, unselfish person?

    • What I really missed were the quips, jokes, sarcasm and snark of the Real Tyrion. After a while, it seemed Imposter Tyrion’s “jokes” consisted of just saying “c*ck,” “c*ckless,” “no c*ck” – as if just saying it would make us laugh. It didn’t. It got tedious. (The same was true for post-S4 Bronn. Top prize goes to his “not without a c*ck” banter with Jaime in the opening scene of S7e7. Truly awful.)

    • Worst of all was the lame recycling of prior “jokes” – especially the punchline-less “jackass and honeycomb” story that Tyrion spouted again for a third time in the final episode – still without a punch line. I didn’t laugh. I grimaced. That was the best they could come up with for Tyrion’s final lines on the show?
    Maybe I don’t have a sense of humor: Was retelling the opening line of the jackass and honeycomb story and then cutting away without a punchline supposed to be funny in and of itself?

    • Come to think of it, I don’t remember any of Imposter Tyrion’s attempted jokes that made me crack a smile. Do you?

    • I suppose it’s possible Tyrion was dumbed-down on purpose so that when his “clever plans” failed and Cersei duped him, it would all compound Dany’s problems, piss her off, and help drive her off the deep end. Although his tenure as Dany’s Hand started off promising enough (aced the job interview in S5e8), after that it went downhill.

    • In all fairness, I should add that Imposter Tyrion did have a few good moments, including:
    – Going through alcohol withdrawal as Ser Jorah’s captive, and sailing with Ser Jorah past Old Valyria (their poetry-recital duet);
    – Initial scenes meeting and conversing with Dany;
    – Talking her out of exterminating the Masters’ armies and destroying their cities, in favor of a more surgical approach (S6e9);
    – Persuading Dany to let Jon mine dragonglass “Give him something by giving him nothing”)
    – Trying, though not succeeding, to talk her out of barbecuing Tarly father and son.
    – Tyrion and Varys reunion scene in Mereen (“if only….”)

    I can’t think of anything else off the top of my head.

  129. Wimsey,

    I found this Wikipedia article on High Valyrian and it looks like much of the system was created for the TV show by David Peterson because GRRM wasn’t much interested in the language creation:

    The producers gave Peterson a largely free hand in developing the languages, as, according to Peterson, George R. R. Martin himself was not very interested in the linguistic aspect of his works.[4]

    So I don’t know how much of the development Peterson did for High Valyrian applies to the books.

    But if it does and if GRRM himself adopts it, there’s this:

    There are four grammatical numbers in High Valyrian—singular, plural, paucal and collective. For example, vala “man” (nom. sing.); vali “men” (nom. pl.); valun “some men” (nom. pau.); valar “all men” (nom. coll.).[13][14] The collective can itself be modified by number as a new noun declension, for example azantys “knight, soldier” (nom. sing.) → azantyr “army” (nom. coll.); azantyr “army” (nom. sing.) → azantyri “armies” (nom. pl.).[15]

    I think this would indicate ‘valonqar’ is male due to ‘valo’.

    ‘Valar morghulis’ exists in the books and it appears to mean ‘all men must die’ in the books as well. The phrase ‘all men must die’ is spoken in Daenerys’s, Jon’s, Arya’s, Tyrion’s, and Jon Con’s chapters with Daenerys’s, Tyrion’s, and Arya’s chapters saying ‘valar morghulis’ means ‘all men must die’:

    ASOS, Daenerys III:

    “Valar morghulis,” said Missandei, in High Valyrian.

    “All men must die,” Dany agreed, “but not for a long while, we may pray.”

    ASOS, Tyrion IX:

    “Let them. Is it treason to say a man is mortal? Valar morghulis was how they said it in Valyria of old. All men must die. And the Doom came and proved it true.” The Dornishman went to the window to gaze out into the night. “It is being said that you have no witnesses for us.”

    AFFC, Arya I:

    All men must die. That was what the words meant, the words that Jaqen H’ghar had taught her when he gave her the worn iron coin. She had learned more Braavosi words since they left Saltpans, the words for please and thank you and sea and star and fire wine, but she came to them knowing that all men must die.

    However, ‘all men must die’ may not be intended to specify all males must die (since females are mortal too) and can be meant as a term for ‘human’.

    But I don’t know enough about High Valyrian itself to make any certain statements :/

  130. Wimsey,

    ”Extending the notion that one gender neutral word that is engendered in other languages means that a language has no engendered words is a classic logical fallacy: i.e., affirming the antecendent. (“If P, then q; q; therefore P!”)”

    • If I’m not mistaken, Hot Pie provided an example of a “classical logical fallacy” when he was talking about “knights” and “battles” in early S2. I suppose his false logic went something like this [paraphrasing]:

    All knights wear armor. Anyone wearing armor must therefore be a knight.

    (Even after Gendry explained to him that “any idiot can buy armor,” Hot Pie still resisted abandoning his false assumption – which provided moments of levity in later seasons, e.g., assuming that Brienne was a knight because she had armor on.)

    • And yes, about gendered vs. gender-neutral words, in my previous comments I too have been exasperated that theories about a female Valonqar seem to be predicated on the assumption that because a different Valyrian word (for “prince”) is genderless, therefore all Valyrian words can refer to either gender.

    I shouldn’t repeat myself ….

  131. Adrianacandle: So I take it to mean you think valonqar is Jaime since Jaime would fulfill the requirements you are proposing (must make sense to Cersei and that Cersei only has younger brothers, not younger siblings).

    From the perspective of literary theory alone (both general and the one to which Martin subscribes), that would make the most sense. At the very least, it is classic irony: it meant what it said, not what it implied. It also could be very MacBethian if Jaime kills her in part because of things she has done to stop Tyrion from doing so.

    The usual argument against this is sort of reasoning is “But it’s too obvious!” That’s why Jon couldn’t be Lyanna’s son, Melisandre couldn’t be the one to revive Jon, the Pink Letter couldn’t actually be from Ramsay, etc. So, the “it cannot be obvious” idea has an excellent track record!

    (The big problem with that premise is that it assumes that authors set these things up thinking that their works will be group-analyzed for extended periods of time, or that authors even know of a way to write multistory plotlines that do not basically assume that the audience is not reading/watching the whole thing in one sitting!)

    That said, it could turn out to be Tyrion: but that would work only if goes the MacBeth route of the act coming solely from Cersei trying to avoid that fate. It seems that the plot has gone in a different direction from that, however.

    Ten Bears: I shouldn’t repeat myself ….

    I wouldn’t worry until you get to 300 pages of:
    “One gender neutral word does not mean all words are gender neutral.”
    “One gender neutral word does not mean all words are gender neutral.”
    “One gender neutral word does not mean all words are gender neutral.”
    ……

    If you do get there, then stay away from axes and snowbanks. Oh, and wave to any black swans that fly by! 😀

  132. Wimsey,

    From the perspective of literary theory alone (both general and the one to which Martin subscribes), that would make the most sense. At the very least, it is classic irony: it meant what it said, not what it implied. It also could be very MacBethian if Jaime kills her in part because of things she has done to stop Tyrion from doing so.

    The usual argument against this is sort of reasoning is “But it’s too obvious!” That’s why Jon couldn’t be Lyanna’s son, Melisandre couldn’t be the one to revive Jon, the Pink Letter couldn’t actually be from Ramsay, etc. So, the “it cannot be obvious” idea has an excellent track record!

    (The big problem with that premise is that it assumes that authors set these things up thinking that their works will be group-analyzed for extended periods of time, or that authors even know of a way to write multistory plotlines that do not basically assume that the audience is not reading/watching the whole thing in one sitting!)

    I think these are all good points and I agree 🙂 No argument here!

  133. Ten Bears: • That’s the way it looked to me too. For whatever reason (maybe the lack of source material?), S1-S4 Tyrion and S5-S8 Tyrion “were like two completely different people. (For the sake of brevity, maybe I should adopt your descriptions and refer to them as Real Tyrion and Imposter Tyrion, respectively. Or Clever Tyrion vs. Faux Tyrion.)

    I’ve suggested in the past that writing witty, intelligent dialogue for a character; crafting jokes with punchlines that land; and constructing intricate plans and schemes for a character; must be among the most difficult and time-consuming challenges for a scriptwriter. GRRM had all the time he wanted to create Real Tyrion.The showrunners did not. Even so, the differences were glaring. It was as if “Varys and Illyrio actually killed” Tyrion, or arranged for a lobotomy.

    • I know some fans felt differently. Speaking only for myself, I almost felt embarrassed for Peter Dinklage, and I almost hurled, when I watched Tyrion drone on and on to Cersei about “Your baby, your baby, your baby.”
    I cringed while listening to that ridiculous “Bran the Broken has the best story” speech. Dinklage tried to make it sound dramatic. He couldn’t.

    I’m sorry. Those speeches were just awful. Real Tyrion would’ve fired crossbow bolts into Faux Tyrion’s bowels to shut him up.

    • Compare Faux Tyrion in those scenes with Real Tyrion in this S2 scene (possibly my all-time favorite Tyrion scene):

    Tyrion & Lancel, S2

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HijFieJNH5k

    Real Tyrion transforms pompous Lancel into a quaking lump of pliable jelly over the course of a few minutes, flipping Lancel into a double agent.
    Vintage Tyrion.

    • I remember the truly clever Real Tyrion who came up with the Wildfire Ghost Ship plan. As for Faux Tyrion? Two words:

    Wight Hunt.

    JFC. I cannot believe that the Tyrion who recognized that Cersei’s wildfire pot-flinging plan was a disaster waiting to happen, would ever come up with a harebrained scheme to send a dozen or so men on foot against 100,000 killer zombies just to try to bag one for a show and tell presentation that turned out to be a waste of time.

    For that matter, I still don’t understand why the Tyrion who knew full well his sister despised him and was untrustworthy, would decide to trust her – over and over – only to be deceived each time, like Lucy yanking the football away from Charlie Brown. (Even Sansa called him out for being such a twit for believing Cersei would actually send the Lannister army north.) How could he actually think his appeals to her to think about “your baby, your baby” had changed her into a decent, unselfish person?

    • What I really missed were the quips, jokes, sarcasm and snark of the Real Tyrion. After a while, it seemed Imposter Tyrion’s “jokes” consisted of just saying “c*ck,” “c*ckless,” “no c*ck” – as if just saying it would make us laugh. It didn’t. It got tedious. (The same was true for post-S4 Bronn. Top prize goes to his “not without a c*ck” banter with Jaime in the opening scene of S7e7. Truly awful.)

    • Worst of all was the lame recycling of prior “jokes” – especially the punchline-less “jackass and honeycomb” story that Tyrion spouted again for a third time in the final episode – still without a punch line. I didn’t laugh. I grimaced. That was the best they could come up with for Tyrion’s final lines on the show?Maybe I don’t have a sense of humor: Was retelling the opening line of the jackass and honeycomb story and then cutting away without a punchline supposed to be funny in and of itself?

    • Come to think of it, I don’t remember any of Imposter Tyrion’s attempted jokes that made me crack a smile. Do you?

    • I suppose it’s possible Tyrion was dumbed-down on purpose so that when his “clever plans” failed and Cersei duped him, it would all compound Dany’s problems, piss her off, and help drive her off the deep end. Although his tenure as Dany’s Hand started off promising enough (aced the job interview in S5e8), after that it went downhill.

    • In all fairness, I should add that Imposter Tyrion did have a few good moments, including:– Going through alcohol withdrawal as Ser Jorah’s captive, and sailing with Ser Jorah past Old Valyria (their poetry-recital duet); – Initial scenes meeting and conversing with Dany;– Talking her out of exterminating the Masters’ armies and destroying their cities, in favor of a more surgical approach (S6e9);– Persuading Dany to let Jon mine dragonglass “Give him something by giving him nothing”) – Trying, though not succeeding, to talk her out of barbecuing Tarly father and son. – Tyrion and Varys reunion scene in Mereen (“if only….”)

    I can’t think of anything else off the top of my head.

    I can immediately remember two Tyrion scenes I really liked in seasons 5 and 6. One was in 5×03, when he goes to the brothel, just before being captured by Jorah. I liked the conversation he had with that girl, assuming he couldn’t have sex with her. It was a rare moment of genuine honesty in a TV show where characters spend much of their time trying to outplay each other or being careful about what they say in order to survive. I think his behaviour was believable, since he was clearly troubled at that time.

    The other one was the deal with the slavers in 6×04. The scene was played in line with Tyrion’s views on politics and diplomacy. It would be a fine idea to deal with some Westerosi nobles. The deal didn’t work because he had never lived in Slaver’s Bay. He didn’t really know how things were in that corner of the world. Missandei and Grey Worm were concerned because they knew better. The cultural differences among the characters were well exposed.

    I wouldn’t differentiate Tyrion in two different characters. I would differentiate him in three, according to the acts of this story: there’s one Tyrion in seasons 1-4 (the first act), a different Tyrion in the second act (seasons 5-6) and the final version of him (seasons 7-8).

    Almost everyone enjoys Tyrion in the first four seasons. At the end of season 4, he kills his father and the woman he loved. He’s understandably shaken by those events. His arc in season 5 is about finding Daenerys. He isn’t in a context where he needs to be constantly witty to solve problems. In season 6, he returns to a place of ruling a city. I think he does rather well. But not so well as in King’s Landing, because he lacks knowledge about the society he’s in. There’s one or two boring scenes of him in that season, but I think he’s still the Tyrion we know.

    My main gripes with the character reside in seasons 7 and 8. His worst decision happens when Daenerys wants to go after Euron ships to burn them in season 7×03. Tyrion and Varys look at her like “you’re crazy”. Tyrion says the attack is too risky, which is not. She would burn the Iron Fleet like a hot knife through butter and gain completely control of the seas. That decision made no sense strategically. It made sense thematically maybe, based on the ending we’ve had.

  134. As for TWOW, I think we still have to wait some time before it comes to life. The book requires careful work in putting the characters ready to the endgame, sychronizing all the plot points and presenting a good narrative to the reader. And there’s the rewriting. He has characters and material to write more than 1.500 pages. I believe he’ll have to trim that to satisfy the publishers’ needs.

  135. Ten Bears: • That’s the way it looked to me too. For whatever reason (maybe the lack of source material?), S1-S4 Tyrion and S5-S8 Tyrion “were like two completely different people. (For the sake of brevity, maybe I should adopt your descriptions and refer to them as Real Tyrion and Imposter Tyrion, respectively. Or Clever Tyrion vs. Faux Tyrion.)

    I’ve suggested in the past that writing witty, intelligent dialogue for a character; crafting jokes with punchlines that land; and constructing intricate plans and schemes for a character; must be among the most difficult and time-consuming challenges for a scriptwriter. GRRM had all the time he wanted to create Real Tyrion.The showrunners did not. Even so, the differences were glaring. It was as if “Varys and Illyrio actually killed” Tyrion, or arranged for a lobotomy.

    • I know some fans felt differently. Speaking only for myself, I almost felt embarrassed for Peter Dinklage, and I almost hurled, when I watched Tyrion drone on and on to Cersei about “Your baby, your baby, your baby.”
    I cringed while listening to that ridiculous “Bran the Broken has the best story” speech. Dinklage tried to make it sound dramatic. He couldn’t.

    I’m sorry. Those speeches were just awful. Real Tyrion would’ve fired crossbow bolts into Faux Tyrion’s bowels to shut him up.

    • Compare Faux Tyrion in those scenes with Real Tyrion in this S2 scene (possibly my all-time favorite Tyrion scene):

    Tyrion & Lancel, S2

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HijFieJNH5k

    Real Tyrion transforms pompous Lancel into a quaking lump of pliable jelly over the course of a few minutes, flipping Lancel into a double agent.
    Vintage Tyrion.

    • I remember the truly clever Real Tyrion who came up with the Wildfire Ghost Ship plan. As for Faux Tyrion? Two words:

    Wight Hunt.

    JFC. I cannot believe that the Tyrion who recognized that Cersei’s wildfire pot-flinging plan was a disaster waiting to happen, would ever come up with a harebrained scheme to send a dozen or so men on foot against 100,000 killer zombies just to try to bag one for a show and tell presentation that turned out to be a waste of time.

    For that matter, I still don’t understand why the Tyrion who knew full well his sister despised him and was untrustworthy, would decide to trust her – over and over – only to be deceived each time, like Lucy yanking the football away from Charlie Brown. (Even Sansa called him out for being such a twit for believing Cersei would actually send the Lannister army north.) How could he actually think his appeals to her to think about “your baby, your baby” had changed her into a decent, unselfish person?

    • What I really missed were the quips, jokes, sarcasm and snark of the Real Tyrion. After a while, it seemed Imposter Tyrion’s “jokes” consisted of just saying “c*ck,” “c*ckless,” “no c*ck” – as if just saying it would make us laugh. It didn’t. It got tedious. (The same was true for post-S4 Bronn. Top prize goes to his “not without a c*ck” banter with Jaime in the opening scene of S7e7. Truly awful.)

    • Worst of all was the lame recycling of prior “jokes” – especially the punchline-less “jackass and honeycomb” story that Tyrion spouted again for a third time in the final episode – still without a punch line. I didn’t laugh. I grimaced. That was the best they could come up with for Tyrion’s final lines on the show?Maybe I don’t have a sense of humor: Was retelling the opening line of the jackass and honeycomb story and then cutting away without a punchline supposed to be funny in and of itself?

    • Come to think of it, I don’t remember any of Imposter Tyrion’s attempted jokes that made me crack a smile. Do you?

    • I suppose it’s possible Tyrion was dumbed-down on purpose so that when his “clever plans” failed and Cersei duped him, it would all compound Dany’s problems, piss her off, and help drive her off the deep end. Although his tenure as Dany’s Hand started off promising enough (aced the job interview in S5e8), after that it went downhill.

    • In all fairness, I should add that Imposter Tyrion did have a few good moments, including:– Going through alcohol withdrawal as Ser Jorah’s captive, and sailing with Ser Jorah past Old Valyria (their poetry-recital duet); – Initial scenes meeting and conversing with Dany;– Talking her out of exterminating the Masters’ armies and destroying their cities, in favor of a more surgical approach (S6e9);– Persuading Dany to let Jon mine dragonglass “Give him something by giving him nothing”) – Trying, though not succeeding, to talk her out of barbecuing Tarly father and son. – Tyrion and Varys reunion scene in Mereen (“if only….”)

    I can’t think of anything else off the top of my head.

    You know, when I told my girlfriend (who is watching GoT for first time and is currently 6 seasons in) that people started disliking Tyrion after S4 and labeling him as “stupid”, she was actually very surprised to hear that and honestly even “pissed off” in some way as she loves Tyrion in these seasons (and I very much like him myself too). After our discussion, it turned out her interpretation of his character in these seasons is almost identical to mine… that after killing Tywin and Shae and especially after meeting Dany, Tyrion wanted to be a better person… he didn’t want to be the scheming cunning person he was before because meeting Dany (and eventually developing feelings for her as revealed in S8 finale) gave him new hope. She represented him something that he probably didn’t believe could exist in such world. But with his new perspective on everything, with his new pacifist attitude, he pretty much became “too good for this world”, resulting in his emotions starting to cloud his mind and thus in his plans not succeeding. I personally really don’t see him as dumbed down, I see him as someone who didn’t want to be who he was before… someone who really wanted to be good. At the end of the story, I feel he’s one of the most “good” people, along with Jon… the least corrupted in terms of politics and such. Yes, he may have not been the cunning witty person we knew from S1-S4 anymore, but I personally saw his attitude change as inner growth – finding belief in goodness in such corrupt world as GoT-universe is which is rare in my eyes, especially considering how deconstructed almost all protagonists were in final stages of the story. At least that’s how I interpreted it and my girlfriend seems on very much same route. I still live remember I had tears in my eyes during Tyrion’s conversation with Jon before Dany got killed… because I could feel his pain in that moment, I could feel how his belief in this “goodness” was shattered inside him during that moment and knowing my girlfriend and the way she gets emotionally affected during scenes (she said she cried during Dany/Tyrion scene when he gets appointed as hand), I feel she’ll feel similar.

    Also on side note, my girlfriend said she laughed so hard during the “telling the joke” scene in 6×8 and I laugh every time myself too when rewatching.

  136. Tiago: I can immediately remember two Tyrion scenes I really liked in seasons 5 and 6. One was in 5×03, when he goes to the brothel, just before being captured by Jorah. I liked the conversation he had with that girl, assuming he couldn’t have sex with her. It was a rare moment of genuine honesty in a TV show where characters spend much of their time trying to outplay each other or being careful about what they say in order to survive. I think his behaviour was believable, since he was clearly troubled at that time.

    The other one was the deal with the slavers in 6×04. The scene was played in line with Tyrion’s views on politics and diplomacy. It would be a fine idea to deal with some Westerosi nobles. The deal didn’t work because he had never lived in Slaver’s Bay. He didn’t really know how things were in that corner of the world. Missandei and Grey Worm were concerned because they knew better. The cultural differences among the characters were well exposed.

    I wouldn’t differentiate Tyrion in two different characters. I would differentiate him in three, according to the acts of this story: there’s one Tyrion in seasons 1-4 (the first act), a different Tyrion in the second act (seasons 5-6) and the final version of him (seasons 7-8).

    Almost everyone enjoys Tyrion in the first four seasons. At the end of season 4, he kills his father and the woman he loved. He’s understandably shaken by those events. His arc in season 5 is about finding Daenerys. He isn’t in a context where he needs to be constantly witty to solve problems. In season 6, he returns to a place of ruling a city. I think he does rather well. But not so well as in King’s Landing, because he lacks knowledge about the society he’s in. There’s one or two boring scenes of him in that season, but I think he’s still the Tyrion we know.

    My main gripes with the character reside in seasons 7 and 8. His worst decision happens when Daenerys wants to go after Euron ships to burn them in season 7×03. Tyrion and Varys look at her like “you’re crazy”. Tyrion says the attack is too risky, which is not. She would burn the Iron Fleet like a hot knife through butter and gain completely control of the seas. That decision made no sense strategically. It made sense thematically maybe, based on the ending we’ve had.

    I’m jumping into the discussion here. Since the article talks about GRRM’s books, I have to compare book Tyrion. I think there was plenty of source material for D&D, but they decided not to use it. They went their own route in Meereen. I’m not totally unsympathetic to D&D, because GRRM did seem to get bogged down in Meereen. D&D didn’t want to take the same path. (However after reading the Feldman essays recommended by Adrianacandle, I have changed my opinion about GRRM really being bogged down. ) Verging from book Tyrion starting in Meereen is where I see D&D took a wrong turn with Tyrion’s character. Yes, the show goes further than the books with Tyrion, but the shift in Tyrion’s cleverness shifts when D&D veer from book Tyrion.

    Tyrion hasn’t really met Daenerys yet in the books. His journey in Meereen is quite different. He doesn’t get kidnapped by Jorah and he ends up with a totally different cast of characters in Meereen, including Penny and others. He has yet to really meet Daenerys other than seeing her while performing in the pits with Penny. Dany gets very upset that they want to let loose the lions to eat the unsuspecting dwarfs. Luckily Tyrion and Penny live to talk about it. I find Tyrion still very clever in the books and I enjoyed where Tyrion was headed as the battle of Meereen was going into full force at the end of the books.

    You often hear about actors in daily soap operas here in the USA who get upset if the writers write lines that are “out of character”. I have heard actors rebelling with their writers and refusing to say lines that would destroy their character. I wouldn’t be surprised if Peter Dinklage was upset with D&D’s writing of Tyrion when D&D decided to make him “dumb and dumber”. D&D took Tyrion down an unfortunate path of being a horrible advisor. I really don’t see this happening in the books.

  137. Adrianacandle,

    – I don’t go to that site because it requires “cookies” and who knows what else you’re agreeing to when you click “Accept.”

    – I don’t think I’d want to see a fan page explaining the female Valonqar theory, but thank you for offering to screenshot it.

    As you probably know, if there were some basis for this theory I’d be fully on board with it.*

    From what I gather there is no textual evidence that “little brother” in Valyrian can mean “little sister” too. I’m guessing that the fansite theorists made the assumption that since the Valyrian word for “prince” is genderless and can also mean “princess,” the same should apply to the Valyrian word for “little brother.” (As Wimsey described it, that assumption is a logical fallacy.)

    * Aren’t there a whole bunch of books’ passages in which Jon reminisces about mussing Arya’s hair and calling her “little sister”?

    The handful of books’ passages I’m familiar with include Arya’s internal monologue on the Braavos dock (aka “Needle was Jon Snow’s Smile”).
    As I recall, in that internal monologue, Arya herself reminisces about the same thing: Jon mussing her hair and calling her “little sister,” and that’s when her eyes start tearing up.

    So, if there were even the flimsiest basis for it, I’d be the first to make the semantic leap and argue that Valonqar could mean “little sister,” and figure out some way to explain away the use of the masculine pronoun in “his hands.”

    I would gladly elevate Arya to the top of the field as my odds-on favorite to win the Valonqar Sweepstakes.

    Wishful thinking aside, I just don’t see this as a possibility.

    – The overall problem? Too many years (9+ and counting) + too many millions of fans = too much time for too many people to come up with every imaginable tinfoil theory.
    I suspect every possible future storyline and scenario has been extrapolated in one form or another. (Speaking of covering all conceivable permutations and combinations, where’s Kevin1989 been?)

    – Excuse the sarcasm: With all the theories out there about female Valonqars, four-legged Valonqars, one-handed Valonqars, someone’s “sibling” Valonqars, dead Valonqars, reanimated Valonqars, undead Valonqars, fValonqars, avian Valonqars, direwolf Valonqars, Craster Valonqars, half-dead Benjen Valonqars, White Walker Valonqars, headless Valonqars, paraplegic Valonqars, catatonic Valonqars, equine Valonqars, Unsullied Valonqars, shadow baby Valonqars, HotK chain-wearing Valonqars, prosthetic-handed Valonqars, hallucinated Valonqars, Lannister Valonqars, Greyjoy Valonqars, and faceless, face-masked, face-peeling, and face-changing Valonqars…

    …. We’d be better off speculating who cannot be the Valonqar. 🤯

  138. Adrianacandle:
    Wimsey,

    I think these are all good points and I agree 🙂 No argument here!

    Me too.

    What GRRM may have embedded* in thousands of pages of text as subtle clues and fragmentary factoids, have now been picked over and picked apart by so many book readers (and show fans) throughout the years that the obscure has become the obvious. Like Wimsey said, when GRRM wrote the books with clues that Lyanna Stark was Jon’s mom, he didn’t anticipate that millions of fans over so many years would parse every word. Though GRRM may have intended Jon’s parentage to be a surprise reveal, it became canon even before the show confirmed it in S6.

    * I read a GRRM interview a while back. He described how he deliberately “hid” important clues as mundane details within otherwise exciting passages. Or something like that. (I may still have that interview somewhere. I can look.)

    By now, I’m sure every one of those buried clues have been unearthed. In this regard, he’s the victim of his own success.

  139. Adrianacandle,

    ”However, ‘all men must die’ may not be intended to specify all males must die (since females are mortal too) and can be meant as a term for ‘human’.”

    • Interesting excerpt about the creator of the Valyrian language, and your analysis that the root “val-“ is used for masculine words, like Valor Morghulis (sp?) = All men must die.

    • However – and here’s where I may get in trouble conflating show dialogue with stiff from the books….

    On the show, Dany and Missandei had an exchange that went something like this:

    Missandei: “All men must die.”
    Dany: “But we are not men.”

    Was this a throwaway line? Am I making something out of nothing? Could be. 🤫

  140. Ten Bears,

    – I don’t go to that site because it requires “cookies” and who knows what else you’re agreeing to when you click “Accept.”
    – I don’t think I’d want to see a fan page explaining the female Valonqar theory, but thank you for offering to screenshot it.

    No problem 🙂

    This page from the ASOIAF wiki is not arguing for or against any particular theory, pushing the idea of a female valonqar, making assumptions to that end. Rather, it’s more a neutral documentation of the main (fan) theories for valonqar and listing the arguments fans use for and against each theory and referencing its sources. However, the wiki itself isn’t agreeing or disagreeing with any theory

    I find it a good resource for quick summaries of well-known theories because it provides links to sources I can cross-reference.

    – The overall problem? Too many years (9+ and counting) + too many millions of fans = too much time for too many people to come up with every imaginable tinfoil theory.

    Yep, I agree.

    I suspect every possible future storyline and scenario has been extrapolated in one form or another. (Speaking of covering all conceivable permutations and combinations, where’s Kevin1989 been?)

    I did connect with Kevin on Steam but real life has been pretty hectic. However, he has plans to come back when things settle down! I know he has ideas about valonqar 🙂

    What GRRM may have embedded* in thousands of pages of text as subtle clues and fragmentary factoids, have now been picked over and picked apart by so many book readers (and show fans) throughout the years that the obscure has become the obvious. Like Wimsey said, when GRRM wrote the books with clues that Lyanna Stark was Jon’s mom, he didn’t anticipate that millions of fans over so many years would parse every word. Though GRRM may have intended Jon’s parentage to be a surprise reveal, it became canon even before the show confirmed it in S6.

    Yes. And what seems obvious now didn’t seem obvious back then when fans were first receiving these books. But with the popularization of the internet and it becoming mainstream (starting around the mid-late 90s when the first books were being published), the growing numbers of fans connecting and sharing theories in shared virtual spaces, and the explosion of the show bringing more fans in yet, R+L=J had been figured out before it became show canon.

    I remember reading the books for the first time and it certainly didn’t occur to me. It wasn’t until a couple years later when another friend I had recommended the series to asked me, “Hey, have you heard this theory?” that I only became aware of it and thought it was really cool. But it certainly didn’t jump out to me as obvious then — it was only when I connected with other fans and really considered it that I did see stuff lining up for it.

    I think we’ve hit a point in the fandom where some theories themselves are even relying on other theories becoming canon (and treating them as canon) rather than sourcing from the books themselves. I think of those theories as sort of second-level theories in that their basis might be even shakier because they have that much more divide between its speculation and the source material.

    But no, I don’t think GRRM anticipated that every syllable of his text would be parsed over to this degree. Jaime as valonqar might seem obvious to a fandom that has spent 20 years going over every single possible outcome since AFFC (and I think it does make the most sense) — but perhaps not to a fandom which has only lived with the books for a few years and isn’t obsessively combing over every detail.

    It reminds me of GRRM’s response to a question about the outline’s Jon and Arya and how it relates to the published books:

    [question about Jon/Arya]

    GRRM: “Alright, you’ve thought about this more than I have. I mean it’s simple, Jon is very fond of Arya. They were the two odd birds in the Stark family nest, here. They didn’t quite fit in with the others, they look like each other, they both had the brown hair, you know, as opposed to the auburn hair of Sansa and Bran and Rickon and Robb. So there was always that closeness between them. And, you know, Arya didn’t mind that Jon was a bastard, and Jon didn’t mind that Arya was a tomboy, so there is that closeness there.”

    And I think some (myself included) might be overthinking some stuff.

  141. Ten Bears: However – and here’s where I may get in trouble conflating show dialogue with stiff from the books….

    On the show, Dany and Missandei had an exchange that went something like this:

    Missandei: “All men must die.”
    Dany: “But we are not men.”

    Was this a throwaway line? Am I making something out of nothing? Could be. 🤫

    I did search for that line (“But we are not men”) but couldn’t find it in the books. I think this is a show-only line.

    I believe that scene was sourcing the following from the books which happens (as in the show) when Dany frees Missandei:

    “Do you have a name, or must you draw a new one every day from some barrel?”

    “That is only for Unsullied,” the girl said. Then she realized the question had been asked in High Valyrian. Her eyes went wide. “Oh.”

    “Your name is Oh?”  

    “No. Your Grace, forgive this one her outburst. Your slave’s name is Missandei, but…”

    “Missandei is no longer a slave. I free you, from this instant. Come ride with me in the litter, I wish to talk.” Rakharo helped them in, and Dany drew the curtains shut against the dust and heat. “If you stay with me you will serve as one of my handmaids,” she said as they set off. “I shall keep you by my side to speak for me as you spoke for Kraznys. But you may leave my service whenever you choose, if you have father or mother you would sooner return to.”

    “This one will stay,” the girl said. “This one… I… there is no place for me to go. This… I will serve you, gladly.”

    “I can give you freedom, but not safety,” Dany warned. “I have a world to cross and wars to fight. You may go hungry. You may grow sick. You may be killed.”

    “Valar morghuhs,” said Missandei, in High Valyrian.

    “All men must die,” Dany agreed, “but not for a long while, we may pray.” She leaned back on the pillows and took the girl’s hand. “Are these Unsullied truly fearless?”

    Unrelated but Ygritte says ‘all men must die’ to Jon too 🙂

    Wildlings fought like heroes or demons, depending on who you talked to, but it came down to the same thing in the end. They fight with reckless courage, every man out for glory. “I don’t doubt that you’re all very brave, but when it comes to battle, discipline beats valor every time. In the end Mance will fail as all the Kings-beyond-the-Wall have failed before him. And when he does, you’ll die. All of you.”

    Ygritte had looked so angry he thought she was about to strike him. “All of us,” she said. “You too. You’re no crow now, Jon Snow. I swore you weren’t, so you better not be.” She pushed him back against the trunk of a tree and kissed him, full on the lips right there in the midst of the ragged column. Jon heard Grigg the Goat urging her on. Someone else laughed. He kissed her back despite all that. When they finally broke apart, Ygritte was flushed. “You’re mine,” she whispered. “Mine, as I’m yours. And if we die, we die. All men must die, Jon Snow. But first we’ll live.”

    (And so does Mance, who says it twice in ASOS — one time in a song, “The Dornishman’s Wife” but in these contexts, ‘valar morghulis’ is not mentioned.)

  142. Adrianacandle: but perhaps not to a fandom which has only lived with the books for a few years and isn’t obsessively combing over every detail.

    I should change this phrasing to, “but perhaps not to a fandom which has only lived with the books for a few years and *hasn’t had time to obsessively comb over every detail to the degree this one has.”

    (Other fandoms do this as well, and I’ve done it quite a bit too, but I think the waiting time in the ASOIAF fandom has kind of pushed it to the nth degree, resulting in some overthinking and some pretty convoluted theories. But even some of those, I think can be really interesting and cool! And would make great stories in and of themselves.)

  143. Adrianacandle:

    … (Probably in the same way that I enjoy the idea of Brienne being the more beautiful “another” referring to inner beauty rather than physical beauty, as lame as that sounds, because it also uses Cersei’s own vanity against her).

    Since we’ve drilled down pretty thoroughly into the Valonqar prophecy, maybe we ought to go off on a YMBQ tangent?
    Or is it well-settled among book readers that Dany is the one who’ll cast down Cersei and take all she holds dear*?

    * I’ve always wondered if Magy was referring to what Young Cersei held dear at the time, or what Future Cersei would hold dear at the time YMBQ casts her down. I assumed it was the latter…

  144. Ten Bears,

    Edit/addendum to above:

    … Just like I wondered if the “little brother” referred to someone Young Cersei already knew (which narrows the field to Jaime, Tyrion and Sandor), or someone Future Cersei would know (which expands the pool of candidates to include Jon aka Aegon 2.0 and others).

  145. Ten Bears,

    Since we’ve drilled down pretty thoroughly into the Valonqar prophecy, maybe we ought to go off on a YMBQ tangent?
    Or is it well-settled among book readers that Dany is the one who’ll cast down Cersei and take all she holds dear*?

    I think book-readers have many an idea and speculation on who the younger, more beautiful another can be! 🙂 Dany is certainly a popular candidate but there are others!

    For instance, I like the idea of Brienne being this person but that’s just me 🙂 I also think this theory comes with some interesting possibilities!

    * I’ve always wondered if Magy was referring to what Young Cersei held dear at the time, or what Future Cersei would hold dear at the time YMBQ casts her down. I assumed it was the latter…

    Would Jaime count for both Young Cersei and Future Cersei?

    (Yes, I’ve always interpreted this as meaning what Future Cersei would hold dear too as it’s a prophecy of things to come and the younger, more beautiful another would make taking those things from Future Cersei)

  146. Adrianacandle,

    Re: GRRM comments about Jon & Arya –

    • My speculation: The showrunners’ decision to expand Sansa’s role from second tier to first tier, and the significant changes to her storyline and chronology (e.g., “prematurely” heading north instead of hanging out at the Vale + merging Sansa into Jeyne Poole at WF + reuniting with Jon at CB and recruiting an army to retake WF) caused a significant “butterfly effect” or “avalanche” that, among other things, suppressed or cut into Arya’s show! storyline.

    • Just curious: Many book readers now say they visualize Maisie Williams when they read about Arya. Do you think GRRM can’t help but envision “his” Arya the same way?
    I know he was super excited – and relieved – when they found “our Arya” when casting Maisie Williams; and he was gushing over her performance in the S1 Episode Commentary he narrated. (There was at least one Commentary he narrated – with one of Arya & Syrio’s water dance lessons. I’m not sure if there were others.)

    It might be interesting to know if his conceptions and portrayals of his characters are influenced by the performances of the actresses and actors who play them.

  147. Wimsey,

    ”…At any rate, Cersei has no younger siblings. There is no class of people that she calls “brother.” Assuming that it’s not truly awful writing by Martin, then the statement has to apply to someone that Cersei will think of as “little brother” at the climax: her final thoughts shouldn’t be “I knew Tyrion would kill me!” or “That ‘Little’ brother??”, and not “Woo hoo! The prophecy was wrong. Oh, wait….. *gurgle*”

    That’s the other key: we can’t say “Wait, Cersei, don’t die just yet, and think about it: if we do a few contortions, add in that your translator was wrong about what Valonqar means AND that Maggie basically was wrong, then it makes total sense!” It has to make sense to Cersei and it has to make immediate sense to her. Preferably, it not only will make sense, but there will be an appreciation by Cersei that because she attributed it to the wrong brother, she actually created the circumstances that led to the other one killing her. (I do like my prophecies MacBethian!) Given the Faulknerian theory of writing to which Martin subscribes, that would be the most appropriate outcome.”

    • I’m confused. What did you mean that “Cersei has no younger siblings. There is no class of people that she calls “brother.””

    Aren’t Tyrion and Jaime her younger siblings? Doesn’t she call Jaime (proudly) and Tyrion (begrudgingly) her brothers?

    • Yeah, fan theories predicated on contortions that the translator was wrong AND that Magy was wrong, seem way too far-fetched. Cersei wouldn’t be able to go through those mental gymnastics, and besides, I figure that GRRM established that Magy’s got a perfect track record. She won’t be “wrong.” Whether Cersei will pull a MacBeth and misinterpret Magy’s predictions, or unwittingly make them come true by trying to thwart them, is another story.
    (Also, though I’m not a book reader, wouldn’t it be kind of late in the game to introduce the possibility that the translator f*cked up?)

  148. Ten Bears,

    Arya stabbed Meryn Trant half a dozen times, gouged out his eyes, and continued to stab him after he’d been neutralized, before cutting his throat. She certainly made her justice, but she took it to far.

    It was a story, not a rule that those who break Guest Rights must eat their children. Again, Walder Frey deserved to die, but typically heroes in stories don’t stoop to the villains’ level. They deliver justice the right way. A quick knife to the heart as payment would have gotten the same result. The look of pleasure on Arya’s face after slitting Walker’s throat was terrifying. She certainly was going down a dark path. Luckily, the Hound was able to steer her from it.

    Unfortunately, that was Arya. That was how Arya always talked to her enemies, who she believed Sansa had become.

    It was Stannis who said it, actually, and I agree. Good deeds don’t balance out the bad and make them magically disappear.

    Arya is my favorite character as well, and it’s understandable that you want to defend her, but you can’t deny she enjoyed mercilessly killing her enemies. That’s not a good sign, and her story could very well have played out much differently. Danerys fans also ignored the dark aspects of their favorite character, and look how that turned out.

  149. Ten Bears,

    My speculation: The showrunners’ decision to expand Sansa’s role from second tier to first tier, and the significant changes to her storyline and chronology (e.g., “prematurely” heading north instead of hanging out at the Vale + merging Sansa into Jeyne Poole at WF + reuniting with Jon at CB and recruiting an army to retake WF) caused a significant “butterfly effect” or “avalanche” that, among other things, suppressed or cut into Arya’s show! storyline.

    Oh, definitely — but I don’t think this suppressed or cut into Arya’s storyline but rather, expanded Sansa’s storyline and changed it quite a bit to give Sansa more of a role in season 5 and beyond (in giving her Jeyne Poole’s storyline, causing an avalanche — like you said). Had Arya been the one who was actually at Winterfell being forced to marry Ramsay, I’d agree but as of ADWD, she’s still in Braavos like she is in season 6 of the show.

    Just curious: Many book readers now say they visualize Maisie Williams when they read about Arya. Do you think GRRM can’t help but envision “his” Arya the same way?
    I know he was super excited – and relieved – when they found “our Arya” when casting Maisie Williams; and he was gushing over her performance in the S1 Episode Commentary he narrated. (There was at least one Commentary he narrated – with one of Arya & Syrio’s water dance lessons. I’m not sure if there were others.)

    It might be interesting to know if his conceptions and portrayals of his characters are influenced by the performances of the actresses and actors who play them.

    This is a great question! I’m curious to see how other people respond as well!

    This might be deviating from the topic you introduced but for me, some of the book characters in my head don’t resemble the actors and actresses on the show. They’re great and I love them, I wouldn’t have preferred any other cast but there are some differences between some show!characters’ appearances and the book!characters’ appearances in my mind’s eye.

    For example:

    Dany: In my mind, book!Dany is a bit more ethereal looking, shorter hair for the most part (due to it being burned off when her dragons hatched in book 1), and has more of an adolescent appearance.

    Sansa: Darker hair (a browner tone enriched with some tones of red to as per her book auburn hair, looking a bit more like Robb and Catelyn’s hair colour in the show), still a child/very young teen, darker blue eyes. I picture her more like this illustration (by Arantza Sestayo). In my head, I can see the resemblance between her, Robb, Catelyn, Bran, and Rickon whereas in the show, I thought Jon, Robb, (pre-season 4) Bran, and Arya all looked related.

    Jon: Dark hair, dark eyes like in the show but with a longer face, more adolescent, often beardless (quite a few of the ASOIAF illustrations of Jon depict him beardless).

    Robb: In my head, he looks a lot like Richard Madden but a bit more adolescent 🙂

    Arya: I can’t include a second link in this post without it going into moderation but there’s this illustration of her and Jon hugging good-bye (by artist Magali Villeneuve) and this is how Arya appears in my mind.

    However, the Lannisters look pretty much like their show counterparts in my head, and so do the Stark parents — although I know Catelyn, Ned, and Tyrion in particular are quite a bit younger in the books (Catelyn is only in her early 30s, Ned is in his mid-30s and Tyrion is about 25 in the first book).

  150. Young Dragon,

    ”Arya stabbed Meryn Trant half a dozen times, gouged out his eyes, and continued to stab him after he’d been neutralized, before cutting his throat. She certainly made her justice, but she took it to far.“

    Oh, alright. She got a teenie bit carried away. He did hit her with a stick and knocked the wind out of her though.

    Another thing: The show went out of its way to make the audience want MFT to face “extreme justice,” with his rejection of a procession of beautiful young sex workers as “too old.” You could say they “took it too far”, in order to make his enucleation and exsanguination palatable.

    (Pardon the e-words: my go-to euphemisms for Arya gouging out eyes + poking people full of holes so the blood leaks out … and they die.)

    👸🏻🔪 🩸💉

  151. Ten Bears,

    It’s true that Tyrion’s dialogue was less sharp in the later seasons, which was most likely due to their running out of source material. Then again, it was less sharp in Book 5, as well, so maybe Martin ran into the same problem. Tyrion’s cleverness, however, has not changed. With that, I mean people tend to exaggerate his intelligence. You mentioned Tyrion turning Lancelot into a pile of jelly as an example of his intelligence. I mean, it was a great scene, but we’re talking about Lancel Lannister. It couldn’t have been that difficult. Don’t get me wrong, he possesses above average intelligence, but he’s hardly infallible.

    In the earlier seasons, the only times he displayed intelligence was during season 2, as Hand. He made some good political moves, and he managed King’s Landings defenses very well. In seasons 1, 3, and 4, however, he was more witty than intelligent.

  152. Ten Bears,

    I figured him wanting younger girls was a way for the show to set up Arya’s kill, but I see what you’re saying. It’s strange, but Arya’s butchery of the man made me scared for her, not happy that Trant was gone.

  153. Adrianacandle,

    I pulled up Magali Villeneuve’s illustration of Jon and Arya (link below)…

    https://66.media.tumblr.com/dd06324c45b237842864c2ee311ec631/tumblr_ofbjzhGtZC1u2n5cyo1_400.jpg


    I also noticed the same artist’s rendition of
    Cersei with dying Joffrey (link below). Although the backdrop is different from the show setting, the artist’s image of Cersei looks just like Lena Headey. I have to assume it was based on the actress, though none of the other GoT character illustrations looked like their show counterparts.

    https://external-preview.redd.it/L_hvowSN1YBVp3WQAmKhV9TRrtIaB1wnwtfMnVlANaE.jpg?auto=webp&s=981a1bc118321facf9f3bc45c43398aecc13f9ab

    About book! Sansa’s appearance, you wrote:

    ”Sansa: Darker hair (a browner tone enriched with some tones of red to as per her book auburn hair, looking a bit more like Robb and Catelyn’s hair colour in the show), still a child/very young teen, darker blue eyes. I picture her more like this illustration (by Arantza Sestayo). In my head, I can see the resemblance between her, Robb, Catelyn, Bran, and Rickon whereas in the show, I thought Jon, Robb, (pre-season 4) Bran, and Arya all looked related.”

    Nice illustration of Sansa & Sandor. The artist’s rendition of Sandor resembles Rory McCann.
    Sansa in the picture looks different from show! Sansa.

    And on that note, I’m going to segue into my Musical Interlude/Sansa Stark Tribute in a few minutes.

    🕊(Little Bird)

  154. Ten Bears,

    I pulled up Magali Villeneuve’s illustration of Jon and Arya (link below)…

    Yes! That’s the one! (This artist’s rendition of Jon also looks close to the one in my head as well, I also like this one a lot by Tim Teiiku)

    Cersei with dying Joffrey (link below). Although the backdrop is different from the show setting, the artist’s image of Cersei looks just like Lena Headey. I have to assume it was based on the actress, though none of the other GoT character illustrations looked like their show counterparts.

    Thanks for linking that image! Yes, this artist’s rendition of Cersei does have a resemblance to Lena Headey.

    Nice illustration of Sansa & Sandor. The artist’s rendition of Sandor resembles Rory McCann.
    Sansa in the picture looks different from show! Sansa.

    Sandor in this illustration looks identical to Rory McCann. And yes, for me, Sophie Turner’s Sansa never really resembled the one in my head. However, despite the age difference between show!Sandor and book!Sandor (in AGOT, Sandor is 26-27 years old), I didn’t experience such a disparity between my mental image of the Hound vs. the show’s. It’s kind of funny how that works and varies between each reader/viewer (what they imagine vs. how close a show’s/movie’s casting matches this mental image, which can change pretty dramatically from person to person).

    For example, Alan Rickman’s Snape was older than book!Snape as well (in the books, Snape is aged 31-38 throughout the series while Rickman was in his 50s-60s) but Rickman still became Snape to me in many ways. It was an odd case in which Rickman’s image sort of took over the original one in my head.

    And on that note, I’m going to segue into my Musical Interlude/Sansa Stark Tribute in a few minutes.

    🕊(Little Bird)

    Yay!

  155. Ten Bears,

    I don’t know if you’ve seen this or not but I got a kick out of it! 🙂

    Game of Thrones characters reimagined as Disney characters featuring:

    – The Night King channeling Frozen’s Elsa
    – Jon and Ghost (don’t know what Jon is planning on doing with that squirrel…)
    – Dany and Drogon
    – Bran, Hodor, and motivational chicken
    – Cruella deCersei
    – The Adventures of Arya and the Hound
    – Beauty and the Beast with Jaime and Brienne
    – Varys and his Little Birds
    – Oberyn and the Mountain
    – Melisandre and her shadow assassin
    – Tyrion and wine

  156. Adrianacandle,

    The Sansa Musical Interlude is in progress, along with the disclaimer arising out of the “dilemma” I described in my June 26, 2020 comments at 6:41 am and 8:28 am, arising out of my perceptions of Sansa’s scene with Sandor in S8e4. I’m also looking for the best audio track and live version of the song.

    In the meantime, I may post a follow-up musical dedication to GRRM & TWOW, to supplement “Someday Never Comes” (posted a day or two ago).

  157. Tiago:
    As for TWOW, I think we still have to wait some time before it comes to life. The book requires careful work in putting the characters ready to the endgame, sychronizing all the plot points and presenting a good narrative to the reader. And there’s the rewriting. He has characters and material to write more than 1.500 pages. I believe he’ll have to trim that to satisfy the publishers’ needs.

    Musical Dedication to GRRM + TWOW
    (Part 2)

    “Tired of Waiting for You” (1965)
    The Kinks (2:32 long)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ESZ335KtBIQ

    📆

  158. Ten Bears: Musical Dedication to GRRM + TWOW(Part 2)

    “Tired of Waiting for You” (1965)
    The Kinks (2:32 long)

    [link]

    📆

    Just in time before my melatonin kicks in for a few hours! 🙂 🌃🌙

  159. Ten Bears,

    (continued from above)
    Musical Dedication to GRRM + TWOW

    “Tired of Waiting” (1965) The Kinks
    Lyrics Excerpts

    🎼”So tired, tired of waiting,
    Tired of waiting for you.
    So tired, tired of waiting,
    Tired of waiting for you.

    I was a lonely soul,
    I had nobody ‘til I met you.
    But you keep me waiting,
    all of the time,
    What can I do?

    It’s your life,
    and you can do what you want.
    Do what you like,
    but please don’t keep-a me waiting,
    Please don’t keep-a me waiting,

    ‘Cause I’m so tired,
    Tired of waiting,
    Tired of waiting for you…”
    🎶

  160. Ten Bears: Melatonin gives you vivid dreams, right? Or does it help you go to sleep?

    Yes, it does a good job of helping me sleep (and the drowsiness is starting to kick in now!)

    I can’t remember if my dreams are more vivid but I’ll make a mental note to check 🙂

  161. Adrianacandle,

    “Would Jaime count for both Young Cersei and Future Cersei?”

    Cersei killed her friend Melara because her question to the witch was “will I ever marry Jamie Lannister”?
    The nerve! 😂

  162. Ten Bears,

    I definitely see an effort to have the actors resemble Martin’s imaginary characters. Arya in the books will probably become tall and slender. ST’s casting was definitely decided because of her high cheekbones which book Sansa has.
    But the showrunners have taken distance from hair coloring. All the Stark children are red-headed apart from Jon and Arya, which frustrates Catelyn; she’d like her children (in particular Robb, who is heir) to look like Ned. Not because they’re Starks, but she is deeply bothered by the fact that Ned’s illegitimate son looks like him, while she gave him three sons.

  163. Tron79,

    Tyrion did get abducted by Jorah, but he ended up in a different place by the end of ADWD. Did you get that

    he murdered that Yunkai’i master he was sold to? I suppose, apart from treating Tyrion horribly, his reasoning was that he arranged for the lions. I liked that part a lot because at first I didn’t understand what I was reading; it was implied that he used the poisoned mushrooms he keeps in his shoes although the master was dying from the pale mare anyway. This might be the second person he has murdered in the books. The other one was the singer, Shae’s friend. (I’m not counting Tywin’s murder; in total, three, that is. He’s out for revenge!)
  164. Efi,

    Cersei killed her friend Melara because her question to the witch was “will I ever marry Jamie Lannister”?
    The nerve! 😂

    Well, if Melara did indeed ask that… 😉

    But I was more counting Jaime as being important to both Young Cersei and Future Cersei — I think it’d be more a matter about not having him taken away from her in some form. However, I doubt she’d react positively to him being married off to somebody else D:

    But the showrunners have taken distance from hair coloring. All the Stark children are red-headed apart from Jon and Arya, which frustrates Catelyn; she’d like her children (in particular Robb, who is heir) to look like Ned.

    For some of the kids, yeah, the hair colour doesn’t quite align — I think show!Robb’s hair colour is the most accurate since it’s auburn (and looks the same shade as show!Catelyn’s) but show!Sanas’s hair is red-red instead of auburn while Bran is brunette and Rickon looked to be a dirty blonde to light brunette.

    I think Arya’s shade of brown is about right though.

  165. Erik, formerly Lord Parramandas,

    “You summarized it well here regarding that there’s more than often “what” and not “how” that’s the usual reason for mass audience’s displeasure. Something I wonder about is if people, who were displeased with ending, were asked to rewrite these final chapters of the story to their satisfaction but under condition that Dany’s downfall remains in the story. I’m very much sure a lot of people would struggle or they would just label this as “not a good story”.”

    Thanks! I think though this would be an unfair question to put to the fans, for the reason that most of them are in it for their favorites. Not many have the interest or the skills to dissect a story into its components for reaching an ending that would closely resemble the ending of the author/producers (why would the even bother to do that? It’s not their job!). Many are displeased without even knowing what they are displeased about. It doesn’t make their protests any less valid; not being able to finger-point at the thing that makes you uneasy doesn’t cancel your sentiment altogether.
    Also people have a right to not like what they see even if the reason is as shallow as Jon-Daenerys not living happily everafter (or dying heroically saving the world for that matter); after all, why would anyone like an entire show with such a bitter ending? How does one’s life improve if real people’s deepest fears are confirmed in the end? Yes, there’s no happy endings, we already knew that, we don’t need a show to remind us of that. A good ending, on the other hand, either in the direction of the author/producers or the direction the fans wanted it, would make one at least smile, thinking of it fondly. This is why people who didn’t like the ending tend to be angry; they’re frustrated and after a year and more the distance hasn’t really helped them.
    As for me, I was in it for the story itself –with regard to the show, for the particular political story that is very well fleshed out at least in seasons 1-4; the rest somehow fell short. The books have a magic of their own, as they are very carefully structured; the author uses many literary motives and tropes, adapts them, reverses them, baits the readers only to pull the rug from beneath their feet, the language is amazing, there’s symbolism, foreshadowing, and deeper meaning hidden in dialogs that often seem superficial, there’s reason and consequence. It’s fun decoding the books.

  166. I hesitated to address this because I want to avoid the endless debate over whether Dany’s actions in King’s Landing were built up or not but I’d like to respond to proposed reasons of why some are unhappy with her ending.

    Efi: Not many have the interest or the skills to dissect a story into its components for reaching an ending that would closely resemble the ending of the author/producers (why would the even bother to do that? It’s not their job!). Many are displeased without even knowing what they are displeased about. It doesn’t make their protests any less valid; not being able to finger-point at the thing that makes you uneasy doesn’t cancel your sentiment altogether.

    Erik, formerly Lord Parramandas: My other friend Monica on other hand, she pretty much cared for only Jon and Dany… she believed them to be THE story. And at same time, she believes that at the end of every story, no matter how twisted and dark it is overall, there has to be happily ever after because that’s what audience deserves… that all top-tier characters need to survive and achieve firm happines for the rest of their lives while all bad guys, even if they redeemed themselves through the story, need to die because “they dont’ deserve to live”.

    I don’t think viewer displeasure with Dany’s ending only has to do with these reasons and I think some do know why are they are displeased.

    It’s true that some would not accept Dany’s villainy under any circumstances, wanted Dany to die heroically if she had to die at all, wanted Jon and Dany to live happily ever after, wanted their faves to be happy.

    But this doesn’t apply to all viewers displeased with Dany’s ending. Some who are unhappy with how the culmination of her arc was done aren’t Dany fans, don’t believe the mains had to end up happy, don’t think Jon and Dany had to live happily ever after. Some think that the show’s choices for the final episodes of Dany’s arc just didn’t work.

    Some of their reasons share similarities with the reasons Efi cited for why she was displeased with the conclusions of the Starks’ storylines (Efi: “the show left the audience with the feeling that saving the world is futile since you’ll be condemned by the establishment and damned by the gods, if you’re a savage criminal you’ll pay community service while actually getting to rule and Big Brother surveillance solely secures stability, if you’re a woman you can’t have both family and power, if you’re a misfit there’s no place for you so you must roam the world as an explorer.”).

    Which is fair. I came away from the show with a few unhappy messages myself, I also felt the ending was more bitter than sweet. I don’t think this is what the show was going for but it doesn’t change the feeling all the same.

    But others had similar feelings over Dany’s end too. For example, Petra, in her examination of Daenery’s arc. Petra explains how Daenerys isn’t a favourite of hers and thought that potential for a villain arc was established early on (when Daenerys killed MMD because she felt this recontextualized Dany as the villain in MMD’s story). Petra also points out the rigidity of Dany’s worldview, moral superiority, and resulting entitlement, and the issues with imposing a personal worldview on another culture and the problems which come with it (adding that the show and the books were able to justify by making Dany’s opposers evil).

    However, Petra also felt there were problems with Dany’s decision to burn KL in the way she did (an inconsistency with the motives behind her decision to burn KL). And with Dany becoming the villain, questions the messages a villain conclusion to her arc might send:

    What meaning is there in turning Daenerys into a monster? That ambition is wrong? That wanting to help people is bad? That trying to break the wheel of injustice or indeed the cycle of abuse is futile?

    Moreover, Daenerys was a trauma survivor who took control of her own life, who rose from the ashes to carve a place for herself in a world that didn’t want her, and that meant a lot to a lot of people. Ending her story this way feels deeply deeply cynical.

    And I think this is valid too.

    She also had an alternative way for this storyline to go down which would have worked for her:

    Slavery and rape are technically illegal in Westeros, after all… except on the Iron Islands.

    Okay — what if, instead of relegating the Iron Islands to the background after Yara’s rescue, we found out that the reforms Daenerys demanded Yarra institute didn’t actually go over that well amongst the Ironborn. Iron Island history is full of failed reforms after all. What if, after Daenerys took the throne peacefully in King’s Landing, she found out that the people of this archipelago were still practicing a lot of the awful things she put a stop to in Essos, not only defying her authority but also her “correct” worldview.

    From there, events can unfold more or less the same way they did in episode 5. But on the Iron Islands, with Daenerys raining fire and blood down on the Ironborn because, well, they had their chance to change and they squandered it: maybe salt wives refused to leave when Daenerys gives them the chance because their children have grown into respected Ironborn whom Daenerys intends to burn — an indication that the values and practices Daenerys wants to eradicate are so deeply embedded in Ironborn culture, she can’t separate out the good victims from the bad oppressors like she used to. So she burns them all and we get a scene similar to ones we’ve had before in which Daenerys purges a land of bad people but this time, we’re seeing it from the perspective of those who don’t actually want it to happen.

    You can take or leave this however you like, I’m not saying this is the only right way to do this, and if the way the show executed Dany’s decision to burn KL worked for anyone, that’s awesome! 🙂

    But I’d say reasons for view dissatisfaction are varied and some do have valid points.

    For instance, I do believe the show endings of the mains will more or less happen in the books as well. And I think there are some solid concepts behind many of them — even Dany’s and the burning of KL, however much I may not personally like it because Efi is right, it doesn’t feel good. Yet that doesn’t mean there isn’t a viable idea being explored by Dany’s descent into villainy.

  167. Efi:
    Tron79,

    Tyrion did get abducted by Jorah, but he ended up in a different place by the end of ADWD. Did you get that

    Efi:
    Tron79,

    Tyrion did get abducted by Jorah, but he ended up in a different place by the end of ADWD. Did you get that

    Thanks Efi for reminding me just how much I need to do a re-read. I think doing a re-read of ADWD POV style is something I should do this summer. I’ll follow Tyrion’s chapters in order as well as Arya’s, Jon’s, etc….

    Yes, Jorah does eventually show up, but…

    Griff is the one that jumps in the water and gets greyscale in the books.
    You’re right that Jorah does eventually kidnap Tyrion, but Tyrion’s journey is far different. I guess I was thinking more that some of Jorah’s show role was really
    Jon Connington in the books. Tyrion’s path was more about deducing that he’s traveling with Prince Aegon (Young Griff) while playing cyvasse. Although Cyvasse is not the same game as chess, it reminded me that Tyrion was always strategic with his moves and was still very clever. I just thought D&D traded in some of Tyrion’s cleverness for plot points they thought might be better for TV. I quite enjoyed the way Tyrion ends with making a deal to fight with the Second Sons. I remember thinking it was quite clever.

    I believe it is “Nurse” that Tyrion kills with the mushrooms as payback for the lions, and also to aid in his escape. I think some have said that Nurse may have lasted longer than Yezzan. I hope I have the names right, but I think I do! If I messed up my memory, I really do think I will do a POV re-read this summer starting with Arya! But then going through each POV one at a time, and I might take my own notes this time as I do the re-read. I’ll have to treat it like being back in school which has been many many years, but I care a bunch about paying more attention to GRRM’s clues this time and seeing what I missed. I read both AFFC and ADWD as one big book, and with 2000 pages I think you don’t always take the time to let it all sink in and figure out the hints along the way.

  168. Efi,

    Adrianacandle,

    I mean, I remember there was this debate here and probably somewhere else how it’s “How” and not “What” that’s the issue with why people dislike the ending. But when it comes to mass audience, I’m very much sure Dany’s turn to antagonist would have always been polarizing to audience and that’s what I want to point out with that rethoric question. I personally haven’t been a big Dany fan and I had doubts about her character as early as when she burned Mirri Maz Duur – to the point that I started wondering whether I’m watching something wrong as everyone cheered for her but I kept questioning her actions over and over. Even more in sack of Astapor where entire non-slave population was put to the sword under her orders (honestly not that different situation than KL when I look at it now, only we were spared the ugly picture there). So maybe I was more “fond” of the ending than majority of fandom exactly because I was glad my doubts proved right. Also, I’m a big fan of dark stories in general… all my other favorite TV shows (LOST, TWD, Sopranos, Breaking Bad) deal with twisted stories and various descents and their endings are almost never “happy-happy” in full sense… so when I watched “The Iron Throne”, I saw the ending as this most peaceful as it could be in such twisted and traumatising story that GoT was. To be honest, the ending was more peaceful and more “light” than I thought it could be after “The Bells”. When I look overall, GoT was never a happy story and majority of seasons were quite traumatising for main protagonists, S6 maybe being an exception. Maybe I deep down felt that the tables can’t just fully turn at the end… it just wouldn’t be GOT-like in my head.

    I don’t know… maybe I already can’t and probably will never understand how it is to be actively disappointed by conclusion because out of everything I watched, the very only TV show I didn’t really enjoy was “Leftovers” (and ironically, I started watching it because my fellow LOST fans kept praising it to immense heights). Everything else I watcehed, rewatched or am still watching, I’m fully emotionally invested and can’t even see me getting “disappointed” with any of them. Yes, there are usually bits I’m less fond of (although GoT is pretty much devoid of them in my case as I’m fully invested in every episode here) but these bits usually barely affect my overall journey. So, I don’t know.

  169. Adrianacandle,

    I see that we basically agree here, rather than disagree. I’m also with Eric, thinking that the burning of KL in particular was a very polarizing ending.
    [and I see that. I was displeased with how the Starks were treated as protagonists, but most were in it for Daenerys, not the Starks, who seemed rather boring especially after season 6]
    I was just saying that people’s reasons needn’t be as complicated as ours, or even Petras’ who’d like it to be more explicit.
    Petra seems to be confounding books and show; in the show it is not said that the Ironborn engaged in slavery, so such a story at the end would have made little sense to the audience. But in general Daenerys’ attempt to harness the aspects of the civilization of Essos which she didn’t like was not included in the show, with the sole exeption of the fighting pits (there’s more, the floppy ears, dog eating, the tokar garment…). Slavery is sth like a “banner” for Daenerys’ fans, but they haven’t taken much time to think that the people freed by Daenerys in Essos had no choice but to follow her, just like -in the books- Victarion and perhaps even Asha think about their captives following them as “not being exactly slavery” because slavery is not accepted in Westeros. In other words, why is it that incorporating the Ironborn’s captives into the Iron Islands culture “slavery” and Daenerys’ freedmen are free?
    All in all, the questions posed during this discussion of decodifying show and books are very difficult to answer and the replies may vary according to individual perceptions.

    As for me, I think that what most people missed when they dislike the ending -Daenerys’ burning of KL and her subsequent death- was the vindication of the victim, as in my post above. Petra wrote this:

    “Moreover, Daenerys was a trauma survivor who took control of her own life, who rose from the ashes to carve a place for herself in a world that didn’t want her, and that meant a lot to a lot of people. Ending her story this way feels deeply deeply cynical.”

    We all sympathise with the victims and Daenerys was a victim herself. But in this most people missed that she came as a conqueror with the purpose to sit on a throne that didn’t belong to her in the first place, that she tended to confuse with “home”, swaying power over a nuclear deterrent, although she had chances to create another home for herself (in the Dothraki Sea, in Meereen, even in Pentos). But she decided to chase the chimaira that was Westeros and the throne/home.

    And also this (Petra’s again):

    “So she burns them all and we get a scene similar to ones we’ve had before in which Daenerys purges a land of bad people but this time, we’re seeing it from the perspective of those who don’t actually want it to happen.”

    With all due respect, but we’ve seen this already in the Field of Fire II. We saw this battle from the PoVs of Jamie and Tyrion, who didn’t want the country to burn; we saw Bronn struggling to reach through fire and Dothraki to the scorpion. How different was that from what Petra is proposing? Just because we hate the Lannisters? Don’t we hate the Ironborn the same, or are they suddenly sympathetic just because Yara offered alliance to Daenerys? Moreover, the effect of FoF II is discussed again in the presence of Bronn, although the unfortunate set up with all the nudity might have distracted people from the discussion about burns and burned eyelids. I don’t think a repetition of the FoF II in season 8 was needed.
    [and FoF II was carefully directed; at some point we don’t see Daenerys, the bomber, we only see the victims, which is the same technique applied to 8.5].

    Of course people felt cheated by this ending. But it was an ending Daenerys’ own choises brought her to. This is why careful watchers were not surprised. It was all there. Could it have been better? Sure. Would it make any difference if it was better? That’s a tough one, but imo rather not, because nothing would have softened the blow for those who expected the victim’s vindication.

    [I have to say that 8.5. was one of the best eps I ever saw on TV, ever. I don’t remember what I voted, but I left it out because it was so emotionally charged, but that doesn’t change my appreciation].

  170. Erik, formerly Lord Parramandas,

    I mean, I remember there was this debate here and probably somewhere else how it’s “How” and not “What” that’s the issue with why people dislike the ending. But when it comes to mass audience, I’m very much sure Dany’s turn to antagonist would have always been polarizing to audience and that’s what I want to point out with that rethoric question. I personally haven’t been a big Dany fan and I had doubts about her character as early as when she burned Mirri Maz Duur – to the point that I started wondering whether I’m watching something wrong as everyone cheered for her but I kept questioning her actions over and over. Even more in sack of Astapor where entire non-slave population was put to the sword under her orders (honestly not that different situation than KL when I look at it now, only we were spared the ugly picture there). So maybe I was more “fond” of the ending than majority of fandom exactly because I was glad my doubts proved right. Also, I’m a big fan of dark stories in general… all my other favorite TV shows (LOST, TWD, Sopranos, Breaking Bad) deal with twisted stories and various descents and their endings are almost never “happy-happy” in full sense… so when I watched “The Iron Throne”, I saw the ending as this most peaceful as it could be in such twisted and traumatising story that GoT was. To be honest, the ending was more peaceful and more “light” than I thought it could be after “The Bells”. When I look overall, GoT was never a happy story and majority of seasons were quite traumatising for main protagonists, S6 maybe being an exception. Maybe I deep down felt that the tables can’t just fully turn at the end… it just wouldn’t be GOT-like in my head.

    I don’t know… maybe I already can’t and probably will never understand how it is to be actively disappointed by conclusion because out of everything I watched, the very only TV show I didn’t really enjoy was “Leftovers” (and ironically, I started watching it because my fellow LOST fans kept praising it to immense heights). Everything else I watcehed, rewatched or am still watching, I’m fully emotionally invested and can’t even see me getting “disappointed” with any of them. Yes, there are usually bits I’m less fond of (although GoT is pretty much devoid of them in my case as I’m fully invested in every episode here) but these bits usually barely affect my overall journey. So, I don’t know.

    I would agree that Dany’s turn would always be polarizing to the audience, no matter what, and for various reasons. For many, emotion does figure into it (and for me too). We’ve been living with these characters for years, we’ve developed feelings (good, bad, and everything in between about them), and with some characters, we’ve related to them on personal levels (maybe this would have a different impact for a view with no prior knowledge or experience of the series binge-watching all eight seasons in one go?) Other reasons involve more character-based or plot-related aspects not lining up for these viewers personally while for some viewers, like yourself, this did work.

    I think people are going to feel how they feel about some things and for different reasons. I don’t think it’s just a matter of people wanting a happy story. For some, like your friend, that very well may be the case. For others, there are different issues.

    Myself, I do love me some twisted stories (I couldn’t not watch The Human Centipede for instance and one of my favourite shows is Breaking Bad!). I definitely didn’t expect a happy ending for many characters in GoT/ASOIAF because I don’t think that’s what this story is. I think this is a story exploring fantasy types in more realistic settings and that may mean less-than-happy endings. I had the expectation that while the main characters would suffer to get to the conclusion, the ‘sweet’ part would be a hopeful turn for the world they’re living in (ie. hope for the world and its survivors, misery for characters on a personal level in order to get to that point).

    The show’s ending worked for you and I think you have reasons which make your feelings as to why just as valid as the reasons of one who didn’t like the ending. I think there are a myriad of reasons for this, probably too many to explain in this post, but it comes down to the individual.

  171. Efi:
    Adrianacandle,

    Of course people felt cheated by this ending. But it was an ending Daenerys’ own choises brought her to. This is why careful watchers were not surprised. It was all there. Could it have been better? Sure. Would it make any difference if it was better? That’s a tough one, but imo rather not, because nothing would have softened the blow for those who expected the victim’s vindication.

    [I have to say that 8.5. was one of the best eps I ever saw on TV, ever. I don’t remember what I voted, but I left it out because it was so emotionally charged, but that doesn’t change my appreciation].

    (The bold part) – This is exactly my point. In the midst of all reasons and arguments that people may have for liking or not liking the scene, I just don’t see how this story chapter would unfold without being polarizing. I can honestly say that I was 50/50 on Dany snapping or not snapping all the way to the Bells but I can say really alarming signs started to happen for me in “Knight of the Seven Kingdoms”, after me kind of accepting after S6 that she’s likely to end up “good”. I remember complaints from book readers in previous seasons that the producers are toning down Dany’s flaws too much… I’m not sure about that because I personally still saw scenes where her actions were questioned in my head.

    I still need to rewatch the show one day (I’m intentionally waiting in order for it to feel fresh again) and I wonder how will I see Dany’s story now, knowing where her story is headed. I definitely feel S6 will now seem more dark to me, regarding Dany’s decision to depart. Because that’s the moment when she was at her “peak” regarding her achievements… of course ignoring that she needed to be there for battle against White Walkers. That’s the beauty of rewatches for me – how scenes feel more meaningful, knowing the full story.

  172. Efi,

    (Part 1 — long due to quotes 🙁 )

    [and I see that. I was displeased with how the Starks were treated as protagonists, but most were in it for Daenerys, not the Starks, who seemed rather boring especially after season 6]

    I don’t know if that’s true — that most were in it for Daenerys. To me, this feels like a bit of an assumption simply because we don’t know that or have the data to back an assertion like this up. Yes, there are people who are in it for Daenerys and she’s among the most popular characters but I don’t think I’d boil it down to that alone or that this encompasses why viewers felt dissatisfaction over her ending. I don’t think it’s entirely fair to generalize, even with the more general viewership.

    Plus, Dany, too, was a protagonist as well. She was a lead character in this, somebody whose journey we followed along on day 1. People were drawn to her for varied reasons like people are drawn to Jon or Arya or Tyrion or Sansa. But I don’t think that Dany being a villain in the end discounts what messages they felt in ending her arc as a villain.

    I was just saying that people’s reasons needn’t be as complicated as ours, or even Petras’ who’d like it to be more explicit.

    I don’t think that’s at the heart of Petra’s argument, I think it’s a matter of motive and what Dany’s fatal flaw is:

    We could have had 10 whole episodes between Missandei’s death and those ill-fated bells and it still wouldn’t have worked because there’s no coherent narrative throughline connecting the Daenerys Targaryen of the first seven and a half seasons to the villain we got in the last two episodes.

    Episodes four and five lean heavily into the notion that it’s madness that Daenerys is succumbing to hereditary insanity but the final episode reframes the destruction of King’s Landing as merely an escalation from her practices in Essos. Some have argued that she didn’t actually go mad when she destroyed King’s Landing but rather acted out of grief anger and rejection, which might have worked except that in episode six, Daenerys reprises rhetoric from earlier seasons in such a way that makes her seem delusional. If the show had only settled on one fatal flaw for Daenerys and followed through on that to the end, things might have panned out differently.

    The other fatal flaw the show optioned for Daenerys — her sense of moral superiority and her consequential sense of entitlement had a lot more potential and not coincidentally, was the reason I could never join the Danny bandwagon, much as I wanted to.

    And I think there might be something to be said for Dany trying to impose her worldview onto others, trying to make the world into how she wants it to be based on what she views as moral and right, going to extremes to achieve her ideals in a Utopia Justifies the Means fashion (and I think this is what they were going for in 8×06). She’ll punish those who don’t ascribe to her worldview

    Petra seems to be confounding books and show; in the show it is not said that the Ironborn engaged in slavery, so such a story at the end would have made little sense to the audience.

    There is thralldom though. It’s not the same as slavery, thralls have more rights than slaves do, but they do represent a class of oppressed people, which Dany might very well be opposed to because they are captives. This also depends on who she views as the oppressed and what cultural practices she finds morally reprehensible like she did in Meereen (ie. the fighting pits).

    Slavery is sth like a “banner” for Daenerys’ fans, but they haven’t taken much time to think that the people freed by Daenerys in Essos had no choice but to follow her, just like -in the books- Victarion and perhaps even Asha think about their captives following them as “not being exactly slavery” because slavery is not accepted in Westeros.

    I’m not sure how these slaves weren’t given a choice. Not all the slaves entered her service, Dany did give them a choice. Some chose to follow her (like Missandei and the Unsullied) but not all the slaves have. These people weren’t Dany’s captives.

    In contrast, the thralls in the Iron Islands are bound to their captors and are required to perform tasks, some of which are not suitable for “free men”:

    From The World of Ice and Fire:

    The reavers brought more than gold and grain back to the Iron Islands; they brought captives as well, who would henceforth serve their captors as thralls. Amongst the ironborn, only reaving and fishing were considered worthy work for free men. The endless stoop labor of farm and field was suitable only for thralls. The same was true for mining. Yet those thralls who were set to field work counted themselves fortunate, Haereg writes, for many and more of them lived to grow old and were even allowed to marry and have children. Such could not be said of those condemned to work the mines—those dark, dangerous pits beneath the hills where the masters were brutal, the air was dank and foul, and life was short.

    Most of the male captives brought back to the Iron Islands spent the remainder of their lives at hard labor in the fields or mines. Some few, the sons of lords and knights and rich merchants, were ransomed for gold. Thralls who could read, write, and do sums served their masters as stewards, tutors, and scribes. Stonemasons, cordwainers, coopers, chandlers, carpenters, and other skilled craftsmen were even more valuable.

    Some, like Missandei and the Unsullied chose to follow Dany. However faulty her methods, Daenerys does have a genuine desire to free the oppressed and, in the books, it goes back to how she was once oppressed. This is also something Adam Feldman’s essays go over. Plus, Dany having to go back on her reforms for the sake of peace is a a contributing element which escalates Dany’s frustration and anger.

  173. Efi,

    In other words, why is it that incorporating the Ironborn’s captives into the Iron Islands culture “slavery” and Daenerys’ freedmen are free?

    Unless they’ve sworn themselves into Dany’s service, they are free. They aren’t be forced into Dany’s service unlike the Ironborn’s captives.

    We all sympathise with the victims and Daenerys was a victim herself. But in this most people missed that she came as a conqueror with the purpose to sit on a throne that didn’t belong to her in the first place, that she tended to confuse with “home”, swaying power over a nuclear deterrent, although she had chances to create another home for herself (in the Dothraki Sea, in Meereen, even in Pentos). But she decided to chase the chimaira that was Westeros and the throne/home.

    I don’t think people are missing this. For better or worse, I think some are sympathizing with this and her efforts to take back a throne that was taken from her family and relating to that struggle because we are seeing her journey from her perspective.

    With all due respect, but we’ve seen this already in the Field of Fire II. We saw this battle from the PoVs of Jamie and Tyrion, who didn’t want the country to burn; we saw Bronn struggling to reach through fire and Dothraki to the scorpion. How different was that from what Petra is proposing? Just because we hate the Lannisters? Don’t we hate the Ironborn the same, or are they suddenly sympathetic just because Yara offered alliance to Daenerys?

    No, it’s not about hating the Lannisters or feeling more sympathy for the Ironborn because Yara and Daenerys allied.

    The Field of Fire was a battle with soldiers vs soldiers. Dany hadn’t won the throne, she was battling for the throne as Cersei was, as Stannis was, as Renly was, and using all her might to do it.

    What Petra is proposing is different. She and Yara came to an agreement for the Ironborn’s independence (no raping, reaving, or raiding). In Petra’s scenario, the Ironborn don’t take this well and return to their ways regardless of these terms. This is what ignites Dany, the violation of this agreement (her authority) and the Ironborn resuming practices she told Yara that were not permitted because they conflict with (Dany’s) worldview — so Dany punishes everyone: the oppressors violating this policy and victims alike.

    Moreover, the effect of FoF II is discussed again in the presence of Bronn, although the unfortunate set up with all the nudity might have distracted people from the discussion about burns and burned eyelids. I don’t think a repetition of the FoF II in season 8 was needed.

    There are severe injuries incurred on the battlefield, yes. That’s always been true. People are maimed by all sorts of weapons, left to agonizing deaths on battlefields. But Petra’s proposal wouldn’t be a repeat. It’s not a battle on the battlefield. It’s the Ironborn rejecting Daenerys’s worldview by returning to the practices she does not approve of in spite of the terms she and Yara made and violating the terms of this agreement (Dany would allow them to remain independent and lend support in the war against Euron while Yara and her forcs would help Dany and abide by the terms of their alliance). It would be a failed reformation on Yara’s part, a rebellion on the Ironborn’s part, and an attempt to eradicate practices she doesn’t approve of on Dany’s part.

    Of course people felt cheated by this ending. But it was an ending Daenerys’ own choises brought her to. This is why careful watchers were not surprised. It was all there. Could it have been better? Sure. Would it make any difference if it was better? That’s a tough one, but imo rather not, because nothing would have softened the blow for those who expected the victim’s vindication.

    For some, no, absolutely nothing could have softened the blow — but for others, yes. It would have. A love for Daenerys and her character, wanting her to be a hero, isn’t only the reason why those who felt dissatisfaction with Daenerys’s ending were unhappy.

  174. Adrianacandle,

    Something a bit off-note: There’s been this random observation regarding storytelling that I made some time ago but I forgot on which thread… just like I feel S1 deconstructed fantasy genre and grounded the story in bleak cruel world where characters aren’t safe and such, I kind of feel S7/S8 did another deconstruction – deconstruction of protagonists. As much as the story initially seemed to be so not-fantasy-like, I kind of feel that at the end of S6, the story was very much at stage where it could unfold (or technically conclude) as this straightforward fantasy story. “Good guys vs bad guys”. Because at that stage we have Dany and the North as “good guys” and Cersei and White Walkers as bad guys. The story could have easily unfolded as Dany teaming up with Jon, possibly marrying and then causing Cersei’s downfall (I remember people were labeling Cersei as Mad Queen there and expected how she’ll be toast in matter of episodes) and then uniting the world against White Walkers. Yes, there would obviously be casualities in GoT spirit but this was shaping up as very “typical” conclusion. But what S7/S8 did was very much shake things up, mainly deconstructing protagonists and giving them a lot of tension towards each other despite being on same side and shifting several storylines around (compared to predictions). So it’s interesting when I look at it and I don’t really see it as that different than for example Ned’s beheading and Red Wedding – two occasions when I feel audience were forced to let go of fantasy-genre expectations and experience the harsh nature of GoT story. I really need to rewatch the show and observe characters’ behavior with their endpoints in mind… I think it will be additionally enlightening for me in order to understand their messed nature more.

  175. Erik, formerly Lord Parramandas,

    Something a bit off-note: There’s been this random observation regarding storytelling that I made some time ago but I forgot on which thread… just like I feel S1 deconstructed fantasy genre and grounded the story in bleak cruel world where characters aren’t safe and such, I kind of feel S7/S8 did another deconstruction – deconstruction of protagonists. As much as the story initially seemed to be so not-fantasy-like, I kind of feel that at the end of S6, the story was very much at stage where it could unfold (or technically conclude) as this straightforward fantasy story. “Good guys vs bad guys”. Because at that stage we have Dany and the North as “good guys” and Cersei and White Walkers as bad guys. The story could have easily unfolded as Dany teaming up with Jon, possibly marrying and then causing Cersei’s downfall (I remember people were labeling Cersei as Mad Queen there and expected how she’ll be toast in matter of episodes) and then uniting the world against White Walkers. Yes, there would obviously be casualities in GoT spirit but this was shaping up as very “typical” conclusion. But what S7/S8 did was very much shake things up, mainly deconstructing protagonists and giving them a lot of tension towards each other despite being on same side and shifting several storylines around (compared to predictions). So it’s interesting when I look at it and I don’t really see it as that different than for example Ned’s beheading and Red Wedding – two occasions when I feel audience were forced to let go of fantasy-genre expectations and experience the harsh nature of GoT story. I really need to rewatch the show and observe characters’ behavior with their endpoints in mind… I think it will be additionally enlightening for me in order to understand their messed nature more

    Without going into my own issues with the plotting of season 8 since I think that discussion has been done to death (and I don’t think we’d get anywhere), yes, I never believed this story was one that was straight-up good vs. evil, no. I even think the war against the dead might not be so clear-cut either in the books. I think much of this story involves the struggle to do the right thing, to identify what the right thing even is in situations with more than one compelling side, to realize that it’s actually not quite-the-right thing, struggling with the “conflict of the human heart” and its impact on choices, the impact of trauma on choices and motivations, what power is and how to utilize it, the various ways its utilized and the consequences of that, and exploring actions (even heroic actions) and their various consequences both in-universe and to the story/character. And I think the story is meant to explore fantasy under more real-life circumstances.

    I don’t know if it’s really about deconstruction or subversion for deconstruction or subversion’s sake but about exploration of these traditional fantasy ideas. Like how GRRM talks about Jon getting shanked in book 5:

    When [James Hibberd] asked Martin what was Jon’s biggest “mistake,” the author thoughtfully replied, “Were they mistakes? I guess they were mistakes in some ways since they led to him losing control of part of his group. But it might have been wise and necessary decisions in terms of protecting the realm and dealing with the threat of the White Walkers. I’m a huge student of history, and all through history there’s always this question of what’s the right decision. You look back with benefit of hindsight at a battle that was lost and say, ‘The losing general was such an idiot.’ Was Napoleon a genius for all the battles he won? Or an idiot for losing at Waterloo? Partly I’m reacting to a lot of the fantasy that has come before this. Ruling is difficult whether you’re a Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch or the King of England. These are hard decisions and each have consequences. We’re looking at Jon trying to take control of Night’s Watch and deal with The Wildlings and the threat beyond The Wall, and we’re looking at Cersei and Dany in their kingdoms and their choices.”

  176. Adrianacandle:
    I hesitated to address this because I want to avoid the endless debate over whether Dany’s actions in King’s Landing were built up or not but I’d like to respond to proposed reasons of why some are unhappy with her ending.

    I don’t think viewer displeasure with Dany’s ending only has to do with these reasons and I think some do know why are they are displeased.

    It’s true that some would not accept Dany’s villainy under any circumstances, wanted Dany to die heroically if she had to die at all, wanted Jon and Dany to live happily ever after, wanted their faves to be happy.

    But this doesn’t apply to all viewers displeased with Dany’s ending. Some who are unhappy with how the culmination of her arc was done aren’t Dany fans, don’t believe the mains had to end up happy, don’t think Jon and Dany had to live happily ever after. Some think that the show’s choices for the final episodes of Dany’s arc just didn’t work.

    Some of their reasons share similarities with the reasons Efi cited for why she was displeased with the conclusions of the Starks’ storylines (Efi: “the show left the audience with the feeling that saving the world is futile since you’ll be condemned by the establishment and damned by the gods, if you’re a savage criminal you’ll pay community service while actually getting to rule and Big Brother surveillance solely secures stability, if you’re a woman you can’t have both family and power, if you’re a misfit there’s no place for you so you must roam the world as an explorer.”).

    Which is fair. I came away from the show with a few unhappy messages myself, I also felt the ending was more bitter than sweet. I don’t think this is what the show was going for but it doesn’t change the feeling all the same.

    But others had similar feelings over Dany’s end too. For example, Petra, in her examination of Daenery’s arc. Petra explains how Daenerys isn’t a favourite of hers and thought that potential for a villain arc was established early on (when Daenerys killed MMD because she felt this recontextualized Dany as the villain in MMD’s story). Petra also points out the rigidity of Dany’s worldview, moral superiority, and resulting entitlement, and the issues with imposing a personal worldview on another culture and the problems which come with it (adding that the show and the books were able to justify by making Dany’s opposers evil).

    However, Petra also felt there were problems with Dany’s decision to burn KL in the way she did (an inconsistency with the motives behind her decision to burn KL). And with Dany becoming the villain, questions the messages a villain conclusion to her arc might send:

    And I think this is valid too.

    She also had an alternative way for this storyline to go down which would have worked for her:

    You can take or leave this however you like, I’m not saying this is the only right way to do this, and if the way the show executed Dany’s decision to burn KL worked for anyone, that’s awesome! 🙂

    But I’d say reasons for view dissatisfaction are varied and some do have valid points.

    For instance, I do believe the show endings of the mains will more or less happen in the books as well. And I think there are some solid concepts behind many of them — even Dany’s and the burning of KL, however much I may not personally like it because Efi is right, it doesn’t feel good. Yet that doesn’t mean there isn’t a viable idea being explored by Dany’s descent into villainy.

    It’s remarkable how a year and a month after the end of Game of Thrones, fans continue to debate the fate of Daenerys. It seems all the comment sections in this site always end there one way or another.

    I gave my opinion in this site right after the end of the show. It hasn’t really changed since then. I was one of the fans who liked the character. In fact, I like all the main characters of this story and try to understand them the best I can. I was always puzzled by fans who skip scenes in the middle of episodes, just because they don’t like one character. The one exception might be Bran after season 4, as his humanity fades. One of the reasons I like GoT and ASOIAF are the very human struggles and dilemmas the characters fade.

    As for Daenerys, I don’t like her ending, because I think extermining an entire population, street by street, after the battle is won and the throne is ensured doesn’t fit her previous course of action. The most sensible explanation to what happened resides on her complete loss of self-awareness and declining mental health. For a character who was at the heart of the political dimension of this story, her being brought down like that isn’t very compelling, in my opinion. There’s a world apart between comitting genocide and flying straight to the Red Keep to kill Cersei, which would be the most understandable decision. Furthermore, Daenerys isn’t one of the most intelligent characters on GoT, but it was always one of those more resourceful in finding solutions to the problems she had to face.

    We see none of that in season 8. In my opinion, season 8 Daenerys looks like an entirely different character in comparison to the previous seven seasons. Her demeanor is remarkably different from 7×07 to 8×01. One of the most clear examples of that difference is, in my point of view, the first scene in the Winterfell hall: when the northern lords almost insult Jon for giving up the crown, what did Daenerys do? Nothing. She’s simply there, with straight face. In previous seasons, Daenerys had her speeches as a resort to win the hearts and minds of the people she wanted to convince. At Winterfell, that attitude is simply non-existent. I found it very strange.

    I understand Daenerys’ turn thematically and all the talk of having nuclear weapons that sooner or later would be triggered. That means she was doomed since the dragons were born. But her ending felt like something that the plot dictated, rather than an organic conclusion to her story. For example, it’s very convenient that everything goes wrong for her in season 8. It makes me feel like the writers are trying too hard to justify what will happen in “The bells”. They even put foreshadow in the preview just right before the episode begins, a thing I’ve never seen before.

    The other problem with her ending is how the other characters are bent to fit in Daenerys ending. It’s almost like they don’t have a life of their own. Jon, Sansa, Tyrion, Cersei are only there to make Daenerys goes wrong. We’re talking about characters we’ve followed for eight years, whose role is reduced to influence another character’ ending.

    It was created an idea that Daenerys’ fans don’t like the ending, because it didn’t feel good. That idea is true for some fans, but not all of them. On the same way, there are fans who are happy with the ending because they just hate the character. This emotional behaviour lie on the both sets of fans. It applies to all main characters, in fact. I’ve seen season 8 twice. I’ve tried to analyze how the characters endings fit in the stories told until that point, remembering all the scenes they were in. I liked Daenerys, but her ending wasn’t the only one I cared about. I didn’t like the ending of Sam and Gilly. I was bothered to see him dressed as a maester in the small council.

  177. Tron79: I’m jumping into the discussion here.Since the article talks about GRRM’s books, I have to compare book Tyrion.I think there was plenty of source material for D&D, but they decided not to use it. They went their own route in Meereen. I’m not totally unsympathetic to D&D, because GRRM did seem to get bogged down in Meereen.D&D didn’t want to take the same path.(However after reading the Feldman essays recommended by Adrianacandle, I have changed my opinion about GRRM really being bogged down. ) Verging from book Tyrion starting in Meereen is where I see D&D took a wrong turn with Tyrion’s character. Yes, the show goes further than the books with Tyrion, but the shift in Tyrion’s cleverness shifts when D&D veer from book Tyrion.

    You often hear about actors in daily soap operas here in the USA who get upset if the writers write lines that are “out of character”.I have heard actors rebelling with their writers and refusing to say lines that would destroy their character. I wouldn’t be surprised if Peter Dinklage was upset with D&D’s writing of Tyrion when D&D decided to make him “dumb and dumber”. D&D took Tyrion down an unfortunate path of being a horrible advisor. I really don’t see this happening in the books.

    I’m aware that Tyrion’s path in the book is different. I’ve read them long ago. I need to reread them to acknowledge many of the details usually discussed here that escape me at the moment. It remains to be seen what GRRM has in store for us on Tyrion.

  178. Tiago: I understand Daenerys’ turn thematically and all the talk of having nuclear weapons that sooner or later would be triggered. That means she was doomed since the dragons were born. But her ending felt like something that the plot dictated, rather than an organic conclusion to her story. For example, it’s very convenient that everything goes wrong for her in season 8. It makes me feel like the writers are trying too hard to justify what will happen in “The bells”. They even put foreshadow in the preview just right before the episode begins, a thing I’ve never seen before.

    The other problem with her ending is how the other characters are bent to fit in Daenerys ending. It’s almost like they don’t have a life of their own. Jon, Sansa, Tyrion, Cersei are only there to make Daenerys goes wrong. We’re talking about characters we’ve followed for eight years, whose role is reduced to influence another character’ ending.

    It was created an idea that Daenerys’ fans don’t like the ending, because it didn’t feel good. That idea is true for some fans, but not all of them. On the same way, there are fans who are happy with the ending because they just hate the character. This emotional behaviour lie on the both sets of fans. It applies to all main characters, in fact. I’ve seen season 8 twice. I’ve tried to analyze how the characters endings fit in the stories told until that point, remembering all the scenes they were in. I liked Daenerys, but her ending wasn’t the only one I cared about. I didn’t like the ending of Sam and Gilly. I was bothered to see him dressed as a maester in the small council.

    Yes, you’ve articulated some of my issues too. For those who felt this plot and these developments worked well, I think that’s great and I enjoy reading your reasons why. However, I had some issues.

    Tiago, I especially agree with your last paragraph. I think, for some, it’s a matter of emotion and preference on both sides (disclaimer to all: that’s not to say that all who felt satisfied with Dany’s end did so because they hate her or always saw her as this kind of monster, they can have other, non-emotional reasons for feeling the culmination of Dany’s arc made sense. But I think Tiago is right that this argument goes both ways for some fans).

  179. Ten Bears: Musical Dedication to GRRM + TWOW(Part 2)

    “Tired of Waiting for You” (1965)
    The Kinks (2:32 long)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ESZ335KtBIQ

    📆

    Great band.

    Since we’re discussing again season 8 ending, I answer to you with the following song (dedicated to all the critics and whiners of season 8, where I’m, in part, included, recognizing however that there were some good things in it).

    “You can’t always get what you want”, The Rolling Stones (1969)

  180. Tiago,

    Ah, very good! A Rolling Stones musical reference for S8.

    Then there’s also this for our Mad Queen and Episode 5…

    🎶 Ooh, see the fire is sweeping
    Our very street today
    Burns like a red coal carpet
    Mad bull lost your way.”
    🎵

    from The Rolling Stones, “Gimme Shelter.”

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RbmS3tQJ7Os
    🔥

  181. Ten Bears,

    Considering the rather cheesy way Cersei later perished, don’t you kind of wish she’d had a more dramatic final exit on that staircase?

    I thought Cersei’s final exit was grand, romantic, and sadly inevitable, given that Jaime essentially chose to die with her. Finding her last exit blocked was the physical analog to her dead-end path of killing everyone to sit the Iron Throne, and thus having no way out when Dany & Dragons came a-callin’. Her death was thematically appropriate in multiple ways: with her twin brother (their incestuous relationship was the first step to them having “no way out”), in the city she’d refused to leave, with her title an empty farce.

    If any character had a ‘cheesy’ death on those stairs, it was Qyburn, dying of a very sudden onset of Creator-Monster Cliche Syndrome. (At what prior point in FrankenGregor’s miserable existence had he shown *any* hint of disobedience?) Having Qyburn escape, disguised as a simple laborer, would have been more fitting — even in the better Westeros, under King Bran and Hand Tyrion, corruption remains, hidden and lurking, awaiting an opportunity…

  182. Adrianacandle: Yes, you’ve articulated some of my issues too. For those who felt this plot and these developments worked well, I think that’s great and I enjoy reading your reasons why. However, I had some issues.

    Tiago, I especially agree with your last paragraph. I think, for some, it’s a matter of emotion and preference on both sides (disclaimer to all: that’s not to say that all who felt satisfied with Dany’s end did so because they hate her or always saw her as this kind of monster, they can have other, non-emotional reasons for feeling the culmination of Dany’s arc made sense. But I think Tiago is right that this argument goes both ways for some fans).

    Exactly. I think it’s perfectly fair that some fans have expected Daenerys to be a political leader who goes too far in trying to do something good. It’s a reasonable guess. Others predicted she would be a Mad Queen, based on her inheritance. I’m not a big fan of telling or showing her story from that perspective. Your family doesn’t determine your whole self, although it can be a part of it. If that was the case, the development that characters experience from their struggles wouldn’t be so relevant. They would be reduced to a mirror of their family values, traits or even stereotypes. All in all, I respect and enjoy reading any opinion favourable to season 8, if it is well reasoned.

  183. Ten Bears:
    Tiago,

    Ah, very good! A Rolling Stones musical reference for S8.

    Then there’s also this for our Mad Queen and Episode 5…

    🎶 Ooh, see the fire is sweeping
    Our very street today
    Burns like a red coal carpet
    Mad bull lost your way.”
    🎵

    from The Rolling Stones, “Gimme Shelter.”

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RbmS3tQJ7Os
    🔥

    Oh yes! I love that song. Merry Clayton’s backing vocals are dope. Daenerys surely listened this song out of her vinyl collection in Dragonstone, before attacking KL. She thought angrily: “I will burn you all”.

  184. Tiago: Exactly. I think it’s perfectly fair that some fans have expected Daenerys to be a political leader who goes too far in trying to do something good. It’s a reasonable guess. Others predicted she would be a Mad Queen, based on her inheritance. I’m not a big fan of telling or showing her story from that perspective. Your family doesn’t determine your whole self, although it can be a part of it. If that was the case, the development that characters experience from their struggles wouldn’t be so relevant. They would be reduced to a mirror of their family values, traits or even stereotypes. All in all, I respect and enjoy reading any opinion favourable to season 8, if it is well reasoned.

    Yes, I agree (particularly about the inheritance bit — not to say it’s impossible. However, I have personal issues with the idea that blood /family defines who you are although, yes, it certainly can be part of one’s self). And one of my favourite ASOIAF bloggers predicted a dark turn for Daenerys in the books 7 years ago — this was something I wasn’t thrilled about, something I was hoping wouldn’t happen, but something that he made a good, strong case for all the same and he appeared to come at it from a pretty neutral, unbiased stance.

    And yes — I also enjoy reading a well-reasoned pro-season 8 opinion/argument too. I’ve read some good ones on Reddit/YouTube and I’ve guilded (gave a Reddit gold/silver/platinum to) a few posts. Like you, I respect those who enjoyed season 8 and I enjoy hearing their opinions as to why, I’m truly, truly glad it worked for some of us! I also think those who found problems with season 8 can make some good arguments and points as well.

  185. Adrianacandle: Yes, I agree (particularly about the inheritance bit — not to say it’s impossible. However, I have personal issues with the idea that blood /family defines who you are although, yes, it certainly can be part of one’s self). And one of my favourite ASOIAF bloggers predicted a dark turn for Daenerys in the books 7 years ago — this was something I wasn’t thrilled about, something I was hoping wouldn’t happen, but something that he made a good, strong case for all the same and he appeared to come at it from a pretty neutral, unbiased stance.

    Are you referring to Adam Feldman’s essay? He writes good stuff about ASOIAF. The dark path he envisions for Daenerys is understandable.

  186. Tiago: Are you referring to Adam Feldman’s essay? He writes good stuff about ASOIAF. The dark path he envisions for Daenerys is understandable.

    Yes! And I agree. I think he also wrote good stuff on Jon, Tyrion, Dorne, and made a good case for King Bran being set up from his first chapter.

    I don’t love the idea of King Bran but maybe it’ll be better set up and feel more organic in the books (should they ever come out).

  187. Just a note about the “valonqar” business. While I’ve enjoyed the dialogs here, we should mayhaps consider a wee thing or three:

    + The memory comes to Cersei in a dream, decades after she heard it from Maggy. Given that Cersei may well be an unreliable narrator in the first place, we have multiple reasons to doubt we’ve even read anything close to a true account of what — if anything — Maggy said.

    + Jaime could be her “little brother” in the sense he may have been born shortly after she was.

    + If he was born first, girls grow faster than boys, so Cersei could have been physically larger than Jaime at the time Maggy spoke; he would be her “little brother” in the physical sense.

    + Jaime mercy-killing Cersei as they are both about to die would satisfy the prophecy, and align with what we saw in the television version.

    + The dream of Maggy appears late in A Feast for Crows, the epilogue of which has Maester Marwyn schooling newly-arrived Sam on how prophecy is completely unreliable, warning Sam that even speaking of prophecy in The Citadel might get Sam some “poison in your porridge.”

    + “Prophecies coming true” in fantasy literature would make a BIG target for an author who delights in subverting tropes and confounding expectations of the genre.

  188. Off-note: my girlfriend started watching S7/S8 today after a few weeks of break since wrapping up S6 for first time (I told her to treat these two seasons as one 13-episode long season). She’s two episodes in (7.1 and 7.2) and according to her statements, she’s completely in love with the story and she loved these two episodes.

  189. Tensor the Mage, Still Loving the Ending,

    + The memory comes to Cersei in a dream, decades after she heard it from Maggy. Given that Cersei may well be an unreliable narrator in the first place, we have multiple reasons to doubt we’ve even read anything close to a true account of what — if anything — Maggy said.

    Was it during a dream? I think we first hear about Maggy in AFFC, Cersei III during Tommen and Magaery’s wedding:

    Whenever Cersei looked at the old crone [Olenna], the face of Maggy the Frog seemed to float before her eyes, wrinkled and terrible and wise. All old women look alike, she tried to tell herself, that’s all it is. In truth, the bent-back sorceress had looked nothing like the Queen of Thorns, yet somehow the sight of Lady Olenna’s nasty little smile was enough to put her back in Maggy’s tent again. She could still remember the smell of it, redolent with queer eastern spices, and the softness of Maggy’s gums as she sucked the blood from Cersei’s finger. Queen you shall be, the old woman had promised, with her lips still wet and red and glistening, until there comes another, younger and more beautiful, to cast you down and take all that you hold dear.

    Or are you thinking of something else? (I think there is something to be said for unreliable narrator though)

    + Jaime could be her “little brother” in the sense he may have been born shortly after she was.

    Yes — I think Jaime is slightly younger than Cersei:

    She and Jaime were twins, but Cersei had come first into the world, and that was all it took.

    ____

    + If he was born first, girls grow faster than boys, so Cersei could have been physically larger than Jaime at the time Maggy spoke; he would be her “little brother” in the physical sense.

    This reminds me of that Arrested Development scene in which they suddenly put in “evidence” Lindsay is adopted and not Michael’s twin as everyone — except for the parents (who orchestrated the whole thing) — believed XD (And also unbeknownst to Lindsay or Michael, Lindsay is secretly three years older than him… so she’s about a foot taller and far more developed 😉 ):

    Young Lindsay: I’m a giant, fat pig.

    Young Michael: I don’t know why you say stuff like that. Girls just grow faster than boys.

    Lucille: Dinner’s ready. We’re having Lindsay chops. What? I want her to be prepared in case some bully at school is as clever as I am.

    Narrator: No bully ever would be.

  190. Adrianacandle,

    That’s probably not intention but Petra’s comments does sound entitled. Why is wrong for the story to be cynical? To say tha ambition is wrong and that trying to break the wheel of injustice or the cycle of abuse is futile?

    Because it makes her feel bad? I don’t get that. GoT and Benioff and Weiss have every right to believe that every revolution is wrong and that every person who wants to change the world with violence will inevitably become monster.

    We live in age when ideas and themes are wrong because they are offensive. But good art should be offensive and aks hard questions.

  191. Adrianacandle,

    Petra’s alternative version is not really good. Even if we ignore that climax of the story is on Iron Islands and no one cares about that place, just like with Stannis, every rewrite of Dany’s crime involes putting her in a situation where mass killing is almost justified.

    So it’s all about putting her in a position where people can continue to make excuses for her brutality like they did in the first 7 seasons. But the story refused to give any excuse. She doesn’t need to burn KL. Her violence is pointless and that’s the whole point of it.

  192. Erik, formerly Lord Parramandas,

    I agree that it was always meant to be polarizing and to punch you in the face. But I don’t think that’s wrong.

    I find that creative choice to be very brave, powerful and meaningful. Especially now in the age of populism. The message is – notice the red flags around politicians you support because real life will smack you in the face.

  193. I think people waste too much time on the fact that KL surrendered. I don’t see why would Daenerys care about that, why would she even trust in their surrender after everything?

    And her war was much bigger than just taking KL. It was about ruling the entire world so destroying city to establish her dictatorship and supremacy is something conqueres do. And it’s also punishment. She was humiliated too many times by Cersei. Her enemies need to see what happens when you cross Daenerys Stormborn.

    Also I think her care for civilians is overrated. She wanted to burn cities and castles a lot of times in the past. I don’t see how you can do that without mass murder?

    If I have to compare her with someone from history it would probably be communists and Stalin. Very noble goals to help poor and oppressed working class but also using very brutal ways.

  194. Tiago,

    The other problem with her ending is how the other characters are bent to fit in Daenerys ending. It’s almost like they don’t have a life of their own. Jon, Sansa, Tyrion, Cersei are only there to make Daenerys goes wrong. We’re talking about characters we’ve followed for eight years, whose role is reduced to influence another character’ ending.

    I really like your way of putting that, and I agree, to a certain extent, with the “bent” feeling. Some of that comes from the structure Martin created, with the obvious existential threat of the Others/WW/Army of the Dead dispatched before the hidden and larger existential threat, Dany, even emerges from the false trappings of a hero in which he’d presented her. Once the undead are buried, the story simply must conclude relatively quickly, else the audience will wonder why they are still watching/reading.

    Martin also failed to provide Benioff and Weiss any actual story after the death of Jon Snow. They finally had to travel to his home and wrest from him an outline of the remaining story, and then figure out for themselves how to finish their version. If he’d produced another actual *book* (or two) after they’d produced Winter is Coming, they might have had enough material for the additional seasons HBO offered (or begged, more likely) them to have. The larger amount of story they had before dispatch of the undead could have allowed them to tell more story after it as well, by having more character’s stories, and longer arcs to conclude for existing characters, before reaching Dany’s Downfall.

    As for the rest of that “bent” feeling, well, take Jon Snow as an example. He joined the Night’s Watch to prove he was as good as a true-born Stark, and he succeeded in spades (ha!). He became the greatest Lord Commander the Night’s Watch ever had! He orchestrated the end of the threat the Night’s Watch existed merely to contain. Once he’d performed that godlike task, what else was there for him to do? Well, in the story, to end the other great threat to humanity. His arc actually was complete with Dany’s death, and as Tyrion pointed out, his killing her fit perfectly with his mission to guard the Realms of Men; thematically, his arc was complete. He feels “bent” only if you declare his arc was finished when the undead were buried, and that was not the case. Remember, Martin set the audience up all along to believe that ending the undead was Jon Snow’s main purpose in the story, so this “bent” feeling was to some degree intentional on Martin’s part.

  195. Tiago,

    ”It’s remarkable how a year and a month after the end of Game of Thrones, fans continue to debate the fate of Daenerys. It seems all the comment sections in this site always end there one way or another.”

    Has no one heard of the ancient Roman adage, “All Roads Lead to Arya”?

  196. mau,

    Why is wrong for the story to be cynical? To say tha ambition is wrong and that trying to break the wheel of injustice or the cycle of abuse is futile?

    I don’t think she’s saying it’s wrong, she’s questioning what meaning there is in ending Dany’s arc as a villain, how it feels deeply cynical, and explains why. I don’t think that’s entitled, I think that’s a fair question worthy of exploration.

    Maybe there is meaning in it… but it does feel cynical.

    You said, “GoT and Benioff and Weiss have every right to believe that every revolution is wrong and that every person who wants to change the world with violence will inevitably become monster.”

    Alright, it’s true Benioff and Weiss can believe what they want about revolutions and how to change the world, that it can’t be done with violence and this violence changing somebody into a monster. And in turn, I think people have a right to question these ideas, messages, and how they executed this with Daenerys.

    She also had this to say about Sandor and the Hound’s endings:

    I’m not saying every character has to end up as the best version of themselves. I see value in Jamie and Sander’s endings because they both demonstrate that redemption is ultimately a choice. The things that happen to you, the people you meet, they don’t redeem you. You redeem you. Sandor had the chance to turn away from his path of violence and revenge and live but instead, he chose to let his hatred of his brother destroy him.

    Jamie had the opportunity to stay with the person who brought out his best self but chose to return to his toxic sister.

    I don’t like their endings but they do have meaning. What meaning is there in turning Daenerys into a monster? That ambition is wrong? That wanting to help people is bad? That trying to break the wheel of injustice or indeed the cycle of abuse is futile? Moreover, Daenerys was a trauma survivor who took control of her own life, who rose from the ashes to carve a place for herself in a world that didn’t want her, and that meant a lot to a lot of people. Ending her story this way feels deeply deeply cynical.

    And I think that’s valid. You may not. (And I realize I also forgot to link the source of this essay here is the original post and thread).

    We live in age when ideas and themes are wrong because they are offensive. But good art should be offensive and aks hard questions.

    Okay, and people will still respond to these ideas: positively, negatively, critically, the whole gamut. When art is released into the public, it creates dialogue and it should. This is how ideas are discussed and explored. Often time, that involves criticism over the message a viewer/reader feels the work is sending and what problematic ideas they feel are arising from it. I think this deserves consideration as well.

    Petra’s alternative version is not really good. Even if we ignore that climax of the story is on Iron Islands and no one cares about that place, just like with Stannis, every rewrite of Dany’s crime involes putting her in a situation where mass killing is almost justified.

    So it’s all about putting her in a position where people can continue to make excuses for her brutality like they did in the first 7 seasons. But the story refused to give any excuse. She doesn’t need to burn KL. Her violence is pointless and that’s the whole point of it.

    Okay and that’s your view on Dany’s decision to burn KL, that her violence is pointless, and I’m glad this conclusion worked for you. You can take or leave Petra’s suggestion, that’s fine. Erik asked above, Something I wonder about is if people, who were displeased with ending, were asked to rewrite these final chapters of the story to their satisfaction but under condition that Dany’s downfall remains in the story. I’m very much sure a lot of people would struggle or they would just label this as “not a good story,” and I posted Petra’s suggestion in response.

    But from the video itself, I don’t think Petra is putting Dany into a position in which people can make excuses for her brutality — that’s not what Petra is about with Dany. She has found problems with Dany’s behavior and world views ever since Dany burned MMD in season 1:

    I stopped rooting for Daenerys back in season 1 when she killed Mirri Maz Duur because I was on Mirri’s side. I found Daenerys’s and, by extension, the fandom’s nonchalance at Drogo’s promise to rape Westerosi women disturbing and Dany’s horror at the rape of the Lazzarini women naive and her assumption that Mirri owed her loyalty for saving her from rape, absolutely infuriating.

    I thought Mirri’s speech in the season 1 finale did a great job at recontextualizing Daenerys as the villain of Mirri Maz Duur’s story and that recontextualizing Mirri Maz Duur as the heroine who killed her world’s baby. I actually planned to do a video essay before season 8 premiered about how Daenerys’s relationship with Mirri Maz Duur could have set up Daenerys as an eventual villain, which I didn’t think was ever actually going to happen because it demonstrated the rigidity of Daenerys’s worldview. She is right: if she wants to sack your village if she wants her son to take over the world — well, that’s her prerogative. If you oppose her if you resent her for killing your friends or you prevent her son from achieving world domination, then you’re wrong and subject to whatever punishment she sees fit. We see this rigid worldview put into effect throughout Daenerys’s campaign in Essos in which she imposes her worldview on other people by dismantling their bad cultures in order to fix them and considering the lives of those who oppose her forfeit. The show in the books both justify this by making the culture she dismantles and the men she kills cartoonishly evil (credit to the show for humanizing his doors of lorac) but it would not have been difficult to reframe this as a bad practice when Daenerys arrived in Westeros and thus reveal how problematic Daenerys’s moral justification for conquering has always been. But the show didn’t.

    So I don’t think it’s about putting Dany into a position where she can be excused again (even as it Dany’s destruction of KL was portrayed, it didn’t stop some stans from still excusing Dany by saying the people of King’s Landing deserved it or it was a blip). Rather, it seems to me that Petra is putting forth a proposed scenario that would make sense in continuing some of the behaviors she saw Daenerys exhibiting in the past (imposing a worldview on another culture from a rigid sense of moral superiority, punishing those who don’t/refuse to comply but this time, it would be oppressors and victims alike: “she can’t separate out the good victims from the bad oppressors like she used to”) .

    It seems to mean Petra doesn’t have an issue with Dany becoming the villain but with Daenerys’s motives in burning King’s Landing and how they lacked a consistency:

    We could have had 10 whole episodes between Missandei’s death and those ill-fated bells and it still wouldn’t have worked because there’s no coherent narrative through line connecting the Daenerys Targaryen of the first seven and a half seasons to the villain we got in the last two episodes.

    Let’s put this in terms of harmatia, a word I think I’m pronouncing correctly which, in dramatic literature, has come to refer to the protagonist’s fatal flaw, which leads to their downfall. Othello’s harmatia is jealousy, for instance. Hamlet’s is in action. Ned Stark’s is honor. So what is Daenerys’s harmatia?

    Episodes four and five lean heavily into the notion that it’s madness that Daenerys is succumbing to hereditary insanity but the final episode reframes the destruction of King’s Landing as merely an escalation from her practices in Essos. Some have argued that she didn’t actually go mad when she destroyed King’s Landing but rather acted out of grief anger and rejection, which might have worked except that in episode six, Daenerys reprises rhetoric from earlier seasons in such a way that makes her seem delusional. If the show had only settled on one fatal flaw for Daenerys and followed through on that to the end, things might have panned out differently.

    I can’t really imagine a scenario in which I would be okay with Daenerys becoming a villain by succumbing to madness as I am sick of stories using mental illness as a shorthand for evil. However, I thought Targaryen madness was dealt with in a really interesting way in season one, where it’s established that King Aerys was mentally ill.

    [Topic about the portrayal of mental illness and madness in GOT/ASOIAF]

    The other fatal flaw the show optioned for Daenerys — her sense of moral superiority and her consequential sense of entitlement had a lot more potential and not coincidentally, was the reason I could never join the Dany bandwagon, much as I wanted to.

    You can take this or leave this, you can disagree. I think these are valid points.

  197. Ten Bears,

    —-
    Part 2 of 2 [Cont. from 10:28 pm]
    Musical Interlude

    Arya Stark Tribute

    👸🏻🎼”Sunny came home with a list of names.
    She didn’t believe in transcendence.
    It’s time for a few small repairs she said. 🔪
    Sunny came home, with a vengeance.
    🎶

    Shawn Colvin, “Sunny Came Home” (1997)
    music video at 1:25 – 1:47

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

    ————————
    Shawn Colvin (live on The Late Show, 1997)
    at 1:44 – 2:04

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qsWCjCX2vdA

    👸🏻🏰

  198. Ten Bears: Part 2 of 2 [Cont. from 10:28 pm]
    Musical Interlude
    Arya Stark Tribute

    👸🏻🎼”Sunny came home with a list of names.
    She didn’t believe in transcendence.
    It’s time for a few small repairs she said. 🔪
    Sunny came home, with a vengeance.🎶

    Shawn Colvin, “Sunny Came Home” (1997)
    music video at 1:25 – 1:47

    Wow! Nice job with this one and with making this connection to Arya! I remember this song from eons ago, it takes me back to my childhood, but I never made the linked this song to Arya until now!

  199. Adrianacandle,

    Corrections to errors in my transcriptions above (there may be other errors too but these are errors on my part in transcribing Petra’s comments):

    *“[…]I thought Mirri’s speech in the season 1 finale did a great job at recontextualizing Daenerys as the villain of Mirri Maz Duur’s story and that recontextualizing Mirri Maz Duur as the heroine who killed her world’s baby *Hitler[…]”

    *“Yarra” to “Yara”

    *“Danny” to “Dany”

    *“harmatia” to “hamartia”

    *“[…]Episodes four and five lean heavily into the notion that it’s madness, that Daenerys is succumbing to hereditary insanity, but the final episode reframes the destruction of King’s Landing as merely an escalation from her practices in Essos.[…]”

  200. Adrianacandle: Wow! Nice job with this one and with making this connection to Arya! I remember this song from eons ago, it takes me back to my childhood, but I never linked this song to Arya until now!

    Thanks! I was in the process of finishing up the “Sansa Dedication” and looking for the best audio and live versions of the song for that one, when the YouTube recommendations included Shawn Colvin’s song.

    As soon as that jogged my memory and I remembered the verse “Sunny came home with a list of names,” I couldn’t resist. 😋

    There are not many revenge ballads that win Grammy Awards for Song of the Year and Record of the Year.

    P.S. Upcoming Musical Interludes:
    – Sansa Dedication with Disclaimer
    – Sansa & LF S4e8 scene “soundtrack”
    (Sansa: “I know what you want”)
    – Sandor Clegane Tribute

  201. Ten Bears: As soon as that jogged my memory and I remembered the verse “Sunny came home with a list of names,” I couldn’t resist. 😋

    There are not many revenge ballads that win Grammy Awards for Song of the Year and Record of the Year.

    Definitely! And I liked this line in application to Arya: “It’s time for a few small repairs she said.” I think that works with the various motives for Arya’s list 🙂

  202. Erik, formerly Lord Parramandas,

    I don’t think that they toned Daenerys down that much. What they did was that they gave the solutions to the men in her environment, while in the books it’s Dany that gives the solutions. And then -show wise- she has the bursts of “burn them all” to which the men around her must remind her that using dragons is generally not a very good idea. This choise was dictated by the fact that they needed to give more lines to the other actors. If the dialogs from the books are tampered, stripped down to their own essentials, her followers would have to have some of them for their screen time. In the books it’s different, as Dany listens to them and then decides, but the plans are all hers. How to move forward, what to do, how to take a city. She’s a clear-cut leader, not a little girl to be schooled.
    That said, a few more things from the books could be included in the show, i.e. the crucifiction of the masters, or the handling of the Astapori refugees. But I’m still not sure that it would have helped, because it was meant to be that trap for the viewers/readers. It was designed to deceive people from the point of the conception of the idea. Deceiving the readers/audience was part of the plan, and it was a successs in that respect.
    I suppose though that for the producers it took a life of its own; the fans were mesmerized by Daenerys, they cried “justice” with every enemy she removed and ignored all the rest. They expected to see the dragons triumph as if they were the RAF in WW II. Well, what about those below where the RAF is bombing? Enemies, right? What if they’re Lannisters though? What if it’s Jamie? What if it’s Bronn? What if it was that singer in 7.2? It was really disturbing to listen to Daenerys’ fans boasting about her accomplishment at the Blackwater Rush battle. It was seriously disturbing to applaude as she demanded the subjection of the kingdom whose leader and heir her own father cooked alive, believing that a brief “romance” would change everything.
    At this point I don’t think that showing anything else would have changed the attitude of the viewers after the show ending. But I do think that what was lacking in season 8 was, in the end, a serious opposition to Daenerys’ plans -because, let’s face it, Varys wasn’t enough and Cersei was drinking wine. Give her a real motive to bomb a surrendered city, because otherwise it seemed like it was her genes that made a difference.

  203. Adrianacandle:
    Adrianacandle,

    (Another correction to my transcriptions above):

    * “his doors of Iorac” should be “Hizdahr zo loraq” XD;;;

    I’ll have you know his doors of Iorac was the name of my Toad the Wet Sprocket cover band.

  204. Efi,

    That said, a few more things from the books could be included in the show, i.e. the crucifiction of the masters, or the handling of the Astapori refugees. But I’m still not sure that it would have helped, because it was meant to be that trap for the viewers/readers. It was designed to deceive people from the point of the conception of the idea. Deceiving the readers/audience was part of the plan, and it was a successs in that respect.

    The crucifixion of the masters was included in the show and it was something I did not wholly agree with since it was deciding the deaths based on class and title rather than executing people for crimes Dany was sure they committed. The show did question Dany’s actions here when Hizdahr came to Dany and said that his father, one of the men she crucified, spoke against the masters crucifying the slave children. This isn’t enough to make Dany question her crucifixion of the masters, but she is moved enough by Hizdahr’s pleas to bury his father properly despite her earlier refusal based on the masters letting the slave children rot in the sun.

    However, in the books, Dany does have an uneasy reflection over crucifying the masters in the books the morning after, whereupon the site makes her sick and she doesn’t feel like an avenging dragon anymore and she must convince herself it was right but she doesn’t sound very certain.

    She had them nailed to wooden posts around the plaza, each man pointing at the next. The anger was fierce and hot inside her when she gave the command; it made her feel like an avenging dragon. But later, when she passed the men dying on the posts, when she heard their moans and smelled their bowels and blood…

    Dany put the glass aside, frowning. It was just. It was. I did it for the children.

    As for the handling of the Astapori refugees in the books, what do you mean? Dany wasn’t being cruel there. She was helping the refugees, she wanted to let them into the city but she was advised against it because they carried the bloody flux, which would infect Meereen as well. However, she refused to stop helping or feeding them and when Yunkai was marching toward Meereen, it was greatly upsetting for her to have to close the gates to protect Meereen. She still couldn’t let the Astapori in because if she did, the Meereenese would become infected.

    I suppose though that for the producers it took a life of its own; the fans were mesmerized by Daenerys, they cried “justice” with every enemy she removed and ignored all the rest. They expected to see the dragons triumph as if they were the RAF in WW II. Well, what about those below where the RAF is bombing? Enemies, right? What if they’re Lannisters though? What if it’s Jamie? What if it’s Bronn? What if it was that singer in 7.2? It was really disturbing to listen to Daenerys’ fans boasting about her accomplishment at the Blackwater Rush battle. It was seriously disturbing to applaude as she demanded the subjection of the kingdom whose leader and heir her own father cooked alive, believing that a brief “romance” would change everything.

    I, for one, didn’t expect Dany to be triumphant. And to be honest, I didn’t love the dragons or feel much affection for them. But is the difference here that Dany was using dragonfire in battle (as she did against the Lannisters in 7×05) rather than limiting her arsenal to swords and other weapons? The Lannister soldiers who were defeated by Robb’s forces and the Bolton soldiers Jon was impaling on the battlefield didn’t seem to die gently or kindly either.

    The show made an effort to humanize the Lannister forces in Dany’s case by providing scenes of Arya coming across a group of gathered Lannister soldiers, in which Ed Sheeren talks about his character’s daughter and that he may not be able to return home to see her, as well as the scenes with Jaime, Bronn, Randyll and Dickon. Yet, are the Bolton forces who opposed Jon and Sansa, the Lannister forces who opposed Robb, are they less human? Don’t they have families too who they’d like to return to? The Bolton forces were fighting for Ramsay, a sadistic figure — but I wouldn’t say Cersei is much better either.

    Yes, Dany came to conquer the 7K. Stannis likewise wanted all 7K. It’s true that nobody needs a throne, Dany certainly felt the throne belonged to her, and I did find her to be lacking some self-awareness in that 7×03 scene — but she’s not who burned Rickard and Brandon alive so I’m not sure why she should make concessions for the North for that reason (but, by that turn, it shouldn’t be her expectation that Jon hold true to an oath made by his ancestor over which faith was broken by Aerys). Would it make a difference if Aerys was not Dany’s father? If she belonged to a different family but still wanted to conquer the 7K for her own?

    In regard to the idea that conquerors (or contenders for the throne) take their relatives’ crimes into account (ie. exempting the North from being one of the kingdoms she intends to rule from the Iron Throne because of her father’s crimes) when planning to take a crown or even keep a crown, I think there are two sides to this idea: unnecessarily brutal crimes were also committed against Dany’s family as well when her family was overthrown by the Lannisters/Baratheons/Starks. While we know Ned did not approve of this violence against Rhaegar’s family whatsoever and that Aerys was justifiably killed/overthrown, the crimes against Rhaegar’s family (Elia being brutally raped and murdered by her children were slaughtered) were committed under the orders of Tywin Lannister and were approved of by Ned’s best friend Robert Baratheon who Ned supported (but not in this). Robert also went on to hunt Dany and Viserys for Dany’s entire life (until mid-season 1). Would the Lannisters (under Cersei) and Gendry be expected to make concessions for Dany on this basis? Is it fair to blame Ned for Robert’s approval and attempts to eradicate all Targaryens, even the children?

    Admittedly, I did find it kind of odd that Dany was willing to accept the Iron Islands’ independence when it was requested by Yara (though under conditions) but she didn’t seem willing to consider Sansa’s own want for independence after the wars were finished. I wouldn’t say this was an impossible transition but it would have been nice to see what changed Dany’s mind between 6×09 and 8×02.

  205. Ten Bears: I’ll have you know his doors of Iorac was the name of my Toad the Wet Sprocket cover band.

    His doors of Iorac is a real thing? It wasn’t the transcription feature in Google docs making stuff up? (I was certain Google was just hearing the audio phonetically).

  206. Ten Bears: I’ll have you know his doors of Iorac was the name of my Toad the Wet Sprocket cover band.

    Oh god, I just reread your post — I’m a dumbass 🤣(Ignore my first response to this!) Also: LOL!

    Between this and my horrible typo above, I’m really doing well with reading and writing today 😉 Going to be a good day T___T

  207. Adrianacandle,

    I’m not saying she doesn’t have right to complain. I’m saying it almost feels like she is denying autonomy to the writers. If they want cynical story that’s what the story is. Show belongs to Benioff and Weiss and they can do whatever they want.

    And when it comes to execution it all comes to this false idea that Daenerys really cares about other people. She is like Stalin. She cares about oppressed. In an abstract way. But what she really cares about is absolute power. She wanted to burn cities and castles too many times for us to really believe that she cares what happens with common people.

  208. mau,

    I’m not saying she doesn’t have right to complain. I’m saying it almost feels like she is denying autonomy to the writers. If they want cynical story that’s what the story is. Show belongs to Benioff and Weiss and they can do whatever they want.

    I don’t think Petra is doing that. She’s pointing out problems she found with the plotting (and while I agree with many of them, there are some points I don’t entirely agree with) and offering suggestions — I don’t think that’s denying writer autonomy. Rather, I think that’s offering a constructive form of criticism, pointing out where she found weak spots in the writing, problems with the messaging, and offering suggestions for how she thought these problems could be improved.

    When I studied visual arts for seven years, this happened throughout. Sometimes, it was hard to hear and there were many times I had to start from scratch — but it was helpful. It’s how we got better and it’s how we learned to respond to criticism. Sometimes, the suggestions were not always taken but they were considered. It wasn’t blind hate. Petra isn’t getting personal with D&D, she’s not blindly hating. She’s pointing out specific issues she had, explaining them in the context of the show and in other forms of literature, and offers suggestions. She also points out what she did find meaningful.

    While Benioff and Weiss can do whatever they want, viewers — including Petra — can respond in what ways they want. And I appreciate Petra’s response because it was considered and I thought it was constructive.

    And when it comes to execution it all comes to this false idea that Daenerys really cares about other people. She is like Stalin. She cares about oppressed. In an abstract way. But what she really cares about is absolute power. She wanted to burn cities and castles too many times for us to really believe that she cares what happens with common people.

    Well, I’d dispute this idea is false and that this is people’s only complaint with the execution of this storyline. Yet, as I said above, I don’t want to get into another discussion over whether or not Dany’s actions in KL were built up or not. Maybe that’s a battle I’ll pick later but not at this time.

  209. mau:
    Adrianacandle,

    That’s probably not intention but Petra’s comments does sound entitled. Why is wrong for the story to be cynical? To say tha ambition is wrong and that trying to break the wheel of injustice or the cycle of abuse is futile?

    Because it makes her feel bad? I don’t get that. GoT and Benioff and Weiss have every right to believe that every revolution is wrong and that every person who wants to change the world with violence will inevitably become monster.

    We live in age when ideas and themes are wrong because they are offensive. But good art should be offensive and aks hard questions.

    👏👏👏👏👏👍👍✌️ Thank you for that!

  210. Adrianacandle,

    But that’s the problem. There is only lack of consistency in what she thinks Daenerys is.

    The story is not even that complicated. You have character that wants to commit mass murder for 7 seasons and she never did it because people around her had to stop her and at the end there is no one around her and she does it.

    Her reading of the story is wrong. You don’t get to lecture writers what they can and can’t do in their stories. They can use madness if they want and I don’t think they should card if someone finds that offensive. Good. Be offended.

    They can write her decision to be emotional and not cold-hearted.

    And I fundamentally disagree with the idea that ideas can be problematic. Ideas can’t be problematic. That’s road to censorship.

    If you want to discuss execution then discuss it, but you can’t criticize the idea of madness or emotional reasoning because writers have absolute autonomy to decide that. If they want emotional decision it will be that. Everything else is fan entitlement and I can’t agree with that.

    Debate execution. But ideas can’t be debated. There are no wrong ideas.

  211. Adrianacandle,

    Yes she is doing that when she says that using madness is wrong. That has nothing to do with plotting. She is attacking the idea of madness.

    Also she is completely in denial over Daenerys. We are talking about character that had to be stopped many times from burning things and she says there is nothing in the first 70 episodes that suggested that? That even 10 more episodes after Missandei’s death wouldt be enough.

    Sorry but that’s ridiculous.

  212. mau,

    Her reading of the story is wrong. You don’t get to lecture writers what they can and can’t do in their stories. They can use madness if they want and I don’t think they should card if someone finds that offensive. Good. Be offended.

    So if we don’t like a story or have a problem with its messaging, what should we do?

    Ideas can’t be problematic. That’s road to censorship.

    Wikipedia defines censorship as, “the suppression of speech, public communication, or other information, on the basis that such material is considered objectionable, harmful, sensitive, or ‘inconvenient.'”

    Encyclopedia Britannica defines censorship as “the changing or the suppression or prohibition of speech or writing that is deemed subversive of the common good. It occurs in all manifestations of authority to some degree, but in modern times it has been of special importance in its relation to government and the rule of law.”

    I’m not sure how feeling some ideas are problematic is a road to censorship? Ideas themselves can definitely be problematic and they can be discussed/criticized/agreed with/disagreed with/explored, etc. but I’d say it’s the forbidding of these ideas from being expressed, presented, explored, discussed, criticized, etc. that is censorship.

    If you want to discuss execution then discuss it, but you can’t criticize the idea of madness or emotional reasoning because writers have absolute autonomy to decide that. If they want emotional decision it will be that. Everything else is fan entitlement and I can’t agree with that.
    Debate execution. But ideas can’t be debated. There are no wrong ideas.

    This was a discussion of execution…. And criticism is often part of that. Sure, the writers can do whatever we want and we can discuss these writers’ choices. If these ideas can’t be debated, how can we discuss them or the execution of a plot? Are we to be limited to discussing technical details?

    I think the idea of forbidding us from criticizing certain ideas (or debating ideas) on the basis that writers have absolute autonomy and can do whatever we want so it’s not our place to debate the ideas behind it… that does sounds a bit like censorship (unless I’m misunderstanding you!)

    Yes she is doing that when she says that using madness is wrong. That has nothing to do with plotting. She is attacking the idea of madness.

    But even if Petra was attacking the idea of madness, I don’t think that’s wrong. It’s a response. However, I think she was more focused on how it was portrayed. Because I can’t argue Petra’s POV for her, I can include what she says about the portrayal of madness in GoT:

    But in a world that didn’t understand mental illness, the topic of madness is difficult to address because insanity is no longer a medical diagnosis in our world but still functions as an informal umbrella term for a range of disorders none of which are moral failures to have but, of course, society hasn’t always understood this so many monarchs whom historians now theorize may have suffered from bipolar disorder and schizophrenia or mercury poisoning were mythologized into monsters in their time.

    Elizabeth Báthory, who likely suffered from a neurological disorder, is largely considered the historical inspiration for the idea that vampires need blood for sustenance. Caligula, who likely had schizophrenia, was depicted as the first vampire in Dracula Untold.

    This is what I thought Game of Thrones was getting at with Aerys: that people with a limited understanding of the world around them, who see PTSD as cowardice, who vilify young women for outliving their old sick husbands, and remember warrior queens as witches would surely view a man living with untreated schizophrenia or psychosis as just plain evil this was a poignant and insightful approach to Martin’s admittedly vague concept of Targaryen madness, which the show then completely dropped when it came to Daenerys.

    [7×04 scene of Tyrion and Dany on the beach — Tyrion: “If I’ve underestimated our enemies–” Dany: “Enemies? Your family, you mean!”] Ah yes the early signs. No, this is called anger. It is a perfectly healthy emotion to feel when one’s allies fuck up. Other characters have experienced it — it’s almost like those guys had something Daenerys didn’t that made their anger seem rational. Anyway, this conflation of anger and madness feels like a semantic mix-up. Anger has nothing to do with mental illness and as it is, it’s not even that dominant of a trait in Daenerys.

    [Tyrion to Dany: “And you’ve been known to lose your temper from time to time.”]

    No, she hasn’t. She’s been known to make controversial decisions. That
    was a decision, that was a decision, that was a decision. They weren’t always good decisions and I’ll get to that in a second but to cite these as examples of encroaching mental illness fairly, we’d have to make the same argument for every other character who ever did a mean thing.

    My point is that Game of Thrones never had a handle on what Targaryen madness was: mental illness, anger, pyromania, so it’s kind of hard to make that a character’s hamartia. The other fatal flaw the show optioned for Daenerys — her sense of moral superiority and her consequential sense of entitlement had a lot more potential and not coincidentally, was the reason I could never join the Danny bandwagon, much as I wanted to.

    You can agree or disagree but I don’t think it’s wrong to explore or question the show’s portrayal of madness either.

  213. mau,

    Also she is completely in denial over Daenerys. We are talking about character that had to be stopped many times from burning things and she says there is nothing in the first 70 episodes that suggested that? That even 10 more episodes after Missandei’s death wouldt be enough.

    No, she didn’t say that. She disagreed with the motives presented for Dany’s decision to burn KL and felt they were inconsistent. She offers what she thinks could have been Dany’s fatal flaw. If you read the transcription or go to the essay itself, you’ll see that Petra had issues with Dany since she killed MMD and thought this introduced the idea of Dany being an eventual villain.

    Her reasoning for thinking that even 10 episodes between Missandei’s death and the burning of KL wouldn’t be enough wasn’t about it being impossible for Dany to be the villain. It was about feeling there was no consistent motivation connecting her from her previous behaviors to her motives for burning down King’s Landing:

    We could have had 10 whole episodes between Missandei’s death and those ill-fated bells and it still wouldn’t have worked because there’s no coherent narrative through line connecting the Daenerys Targaryen of the first seven and a half seasons to the villain we got in the last two episodes.

    Let’s put this in terms of harmatia, a word I think I’m pronouncing correctly which, in dramatic literature, has come to refer to the protagonist’s fatal flaw, which leads to their downfall. Othello’s harmatia is jealousy, for instance. Hamlet’s is in action. Ned Stark’s is honor. So what is Daenerys’s harmatia?

    Daenerys is succumbing to hereditary insanity but the final episode reframes the destruction of King’s Landing as merely an escalation from her practices in Essos. Some have argued that she didn’t actually go mad when she destroyed King’s Landing but rather acted out of grief anger and rejection, which might have worked except that in episode six, Daenerys reprises rhetoric from earlier seasons in such a way that makes her seem delusional. If the show had only settled on one fatal flaw for Daenerys and followed through on that to the end, things might have panned out differently.

    My point is that Game of Thrones never had a handle on what Targaryen madness was: mental illness, anger, pyromania, so it’s kind of hard to make that a character’s harmatia. The other fatal flaw the show optioned for Daenerys — her sense of moral superiority and her consequential sense of entitlement had a lot more potential and not coincidentally, was the reason I could never join the Danny bandwagon, much as I wanted to.

    Again, you are free to disagree with this but I don’t think it was a case of denial.

  214. Sometimes I feel like crazy person because I would burn KL for less than what Dany had to endure lol.

    How much shit a person had to take before she can snap? I don’t know. Maybe I am a sociopath, but these people sound like monks with their endless tolerance.

    She is already brutal, she already had burning cities and destroying shit in mind for a veeery long time and she lost everyone and everything. People thought that Cersei would destroy KL once she looses everything and never had any problem with it. Why? Because she is villain?

    I mean Dany even before KL destruction killed far more people than Cersei ever did and in a more brutal way. Before Sept explosion Cersei only killed her abusive husband and yet no one said that Sept explosion makes no sense and that Cersei would never do something like that.

    It’s all about perspective and framing. The story plays with that. Daenerys is hero and Cersei is villain and that’s why no one cared when Cersei killed so many people “out of nowhere”.

  215. Adrianacandle,

    Ofc I’m going to disagree because what she is saying makes no sense. Danerys’ fatal flaw was her messianic complex and that’s why she could make excuses for every move she made.

    I mean we literally had

    606 – Dany to her army – let’s go and kill my enemies destroy their houses

    805 – They do that

    806 – Speech that is copy paste from 606 where she thanks them

    Some fans: Out of nowhere. No motivation. I don’t see anything here.

  216. mau,

    Or too explain this better. I believe there is a limitation in which audience can attack the story. In a age of petitions and angry twitter mobs autonomy of writers is in danger and everything will turn into MCU where no one will take any risks with the story.

    We saw that with The Last Jedi or right now with The Last of Us 2.

    Enough is enough. Angry mob will destroy art.

    Or to make it very simple. You can debtae the ways in which Dany becomes mad or extremely angry but I don’t think debating the idea and turning idea into something wrong and forbidden is acceptable.

  217. Also I think that writers who try to do something different even if they fail should be praised and not harassed and cancelled. We saw how mob works. We see that now with Last of Us creator. Final goal – destruction of personal and professional life and making sure that they never work again.

    That is what you get when you try to do something original and brave. And yeah GoT had flaws I’m not blind but just the ambition of Dany’s downfall is greater than any of that.

    Writing something different and unconventional is much harder and it’s much easier to fail and do something wrong.

  218. mau,

    “So if we don’t like a story or have a problem with its messaging, what should we do?”

    Write your own story.

    Okay, so:

    We can…

    Discuss some aspects execution (ie. the ways in which Dany becomes mad or extremely angry)
    Write our own story if we don’t like a story or have problems with its messaging (what if we like some aspects of a story and not others?)

    We can’t…

    Debate ideas
    Criticize ideas
    Think some ideas are problematic
    Can’t criticize the idea of madness or emotional reasoning because writers have absolute autonomy to decide that

    (If I’ve misunderstood you on any of the above, please correct me)

    I’m sorry, mau. I don’t think I can abide by this — for Game of Thrones or any other media. If that makes me an entitled fan who takes away writer autonomy, I accept that.

    Or to make it very simple. You can debtae the ways in which Dany becomes mad or extremely angry but I don’t think debating the idea and turning idea into something wrong and forbidden is acceptable.

    I think we are debating the ideas in which Dany becomes mass. However, you feel Petra’s ideas to this end don’t make sense. Okay. That’s your right. But she offers ways in which Dany can be led to her downfall and what can ignite her.

    And I still think people can disagree with ideas or their portrayal — but who is saying they are forbidden?

    Or too explain this better. I believe there is a limitation in which audience can attack the story. In a age of petitions and angry twitter mobs autonomy of writers is in danger and everything will turn into MCU where no one will take any risks with the story.

    I think that’s very different from questioning/debating ideas and feeling some messaging is problematic or offering suggestions on improvement. Nobody (here) is getting personal or gathering their pitchforks and torches to go after D&D. We are examining their work and that’s where the criticism is levied at. Not at D&D as people or demanding they rewrite the show due to viewer displeasure. I think we can question their ideas, what messages we feel we’re getting from some concepts/plots, and some of their choices.

    Even here, I’m not saying what D&D have stated and their intentions are not canon. I certainly consider D&D the ultimate authority on their work and consider what they have to say about the show as canon. However, I think I can still debate/question/examine their choices and the ideas behind some of the plots.

  219. mau: Angry mob will destroy art.

    I think the problems with new Star Wars trilogy was entirely the fault of the writers.
    They caved into PC Culture.

    Specifically, the character of Rey. Everything comes so easy to her. She never goes through any difficulties, there’s no real training that shows any progression of her character like we had with Luke in the original trilogy. She’s basically a boss with cheat codes because “the Force is Female” now according to the writers and everything has to be given to her with the greatest of ease. The entire thing is vomit inducing.

    I’m sure some of the nerd rage it caused went too far. There’s always somebody that has to take it too far, but those Star Wars films deserved every bit of criticism they got, IMO.

  220. Adrianacandle,

    I agree with you.

    Art is meant to not only be consumed, but it’s also there to be evaluated, analyzed, debated, and discussed. It’s not there to tell us what to think or how to feel. It’s simply there to suggest, and it’s up to us to do what we want with it.

    Stifling debate over an artistic choice is much more dangerous for society than having an open dialogue. Obviously, lines must be drawn and people should be able to state their opinions without getting personal. It should be kept respectful on both sides. I recall some of the writers for Star Wars were openly antagonistic to their own fans. Like that “force is female” comment. When that drew criticism with comments like “the force is genderless” the writers just accused those people of being misogynists without really thinking about the message being conveyed. It’s become an openly antagonistic experience for both the writers and fans.

    We can debate the ending and Dany’s downfall in perpetuity. Obviously, I didn’t care for the way Dany’s downfall went, but that’s not even my biggest issue with the ending.

    My biggest issue is that I’m honestly not sure what the writers are trying to say. Are they trying to say that the pursuit of power is too corrupt, so no one should even try? Power corrupts, so therefore the only solution for humanity is to have an omniscient Superman as king like Bran, which is completely unrealistic? I just…I don’t know what I’m supposed to do with that. IMO, it’s a deeply cynical ending without any real reason for optimism.

  221. Hey…it has been minute.

    What was I saying last time?

    Okey, Dokey…….Can we all agree that the writing for GOT Season 8 was poor, particularly 8.4, 8.5, 8.6? (Ok, 8.2 was good! and if you could see it, 8.3 looked like a lot of work!) If we can agree that, then maybe we would have made some productive use of 2020 to date? Yeah, I can feel a consensus forming. Really bad? Yeah? I see heads nodding.

    Good, I will be back soon. Other things to sort…

    Chili, are you OK?

    Ok peeps, Carry on!

  222. Mr Derp,

    Art is meant to not only be consumed, but it’s also there to be evaluated, analyzed, debated, and discussed. It’s not there to tell us what to think or how to feel. It’s simply there to suggest, and it’s up to us to do what we want with it.

    Yes and often, art is a comment on something: what’s going on around us, concepts, ideas, personal issues, social issues, political issues, spirituality, feelings, lifestyle, what is art itself, etc. (I know I’m missing a whole bunch)… and comments are replied to in some form. And those comments are replied to. And these ideas are discussed/debated/explored/even experimented with. And in this way, sometimes entire movements are formed and with it, progression (hopefully).

    Stifling debate over an artistic choice is much more dangerous for society than having an open dialogue. Obviously, lines must be drawn and people should be able to state their opinions without getting personal. It should be kept respectful on both sides.

    Exactly. And while there are times things go too far (there’s a debate raging on about cancel culture right now and how it can get pretty extreme and angry mob-ish), if we keep it about the work and debate respectfully without attacking anyone with accusations, assumptions, personal judgements, or mob-mentality, I think debate is good, as is respectful disagreement. And I think it’s important.

    We can debate the ending and Dany’s downfall in perpetuity. Obviously, I didn’t care for the way Dany’s downfall went, but that’s not even my biggest issue with the ending.
    My biggest issue is that I’m honestly not sure what the writers are trying to say. Are they trying to say that the pursuit of power is too corrupt, so no one should even try? Power corrupts, so therefore the only solution for humanity is to have an omniscient Superman as king like Bran, which is completely unrealistic? I just…I don’t know what I’m supposed to do with that. IMO, it’s a deeply cynical ending without any real reason for optimism.

    I agree. Alt Shift X, who I felt was fair to season 8 for the most part, said this, which also echoes my own sentiments.

    This whole story was about ambitious noble families fighting and scheming for power.

    But now, in one scene, all the great houses agree to give up their power to a weird psychic kid cause ‘he has a good story’. Maybe everyone’s just too tired and confused to argue right now. But Sansa set a precedent for kingdoms to secede, so there could be rebellions in the future.

    This brave new realm is delicate and uncertain, but there is hope. King Bran represents a different kind of ruler. Past kings have been bad because they’ve been proud or cruel or power-hungry. Bran doesn’t care about power. He has no pride or cruelty. He barely has a personality — so in theory, he’ll be fair and unbiased.

    He’ll be a good ruler because he’s inhuman — which is a very depressing message.

    Game of Thrones was always about the struggle between human good and human evil within each person. Bran being king suggests that the solution to human evil isn’t human good, it’s being not human.

    And with the failure of Jaime and Daenerys, this whole season feels deeply cynical about the very possibility of human good.

  223. Adrianacandle: This whole story was about ambitious noble families fighting and scheming for power.

    But now, in one scene, all the great houses agree to give up their power to a weird psychic kid cause ‘he has a good story’. Maybe everyone’s just too tired and confused to argue right now. But Sansa set a precedent for kingdoms to secede, so there could be rebellions in the future.

    Yes, and the kid who has a “good story” is one that pretty much every kingdom would find hard to believe, especially because they don’t know what a 3 Eyed Raven is or why it’s important. Since the WW story ended in the North, the rest of the kingdoms still believe it’s a bunch of b.s., right? If the story was consistent, then the leaders of the individual kingdoms would find Tyrion and Bran’s story laughable at best. Especially since Tyrion is also on trial for treason.

    Adrianacandle: He’ll be a good ruler because he’s inhuman — which is a very depressing message.

    That’s exactly what I’m saying. I’m not sure what to do with the message being conveyed other than to weep for our future. Or hope that Superman will emerge as contender for the U.S. Presidency this Fall. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t expecting some type of Earth-shattering revelation. I was just hoping for something a little more substantial than “power corrupts unles you’re a Three-Eyed Raven”.

  224. Mr Derp,

    Yes, and the kid who has a “good story” is one that pretty much every kingdom would find hard to believe, especially because they don’t know what a 3 Eyed Raven is or why it’s important. Since the WW story ended in the North, the rest of the kingdoms still believe it’s a bunch of b.s., right? If the story was consistent, then the leaders of the individual kingdoms would find Tyrion and Bran’s story laughable at best. Especially since Tyrion is also on trial for treason.

    Yep and I don’t know how credible it is to choose a new king on the basis of how interesting his life story has been. And yes, why would they believe it? As you said, the WW didn’t make it past Winterfell and were defeated in a single night. A handful of southerners fought (like Jaime and Brienne) but not a single southern army showed up so it’s not like a bunch of Crownslanders can verify the undead’s existence. It remains another crazy Northern story, a myth, a legend that might have once happened and serves as the source for many scary children’s stories.

    That’s exactly what I’m saying. I’m not sure what to do with the message being conveyed other than to weep for our future. Or hope that Superman will emerge as contender for the U.S. Presidency this Fall. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t expecting some type of Earth-shattering revelation. I was just hoping for something a little more substantial than “power corrupts unles you’re a Three-Eyed Raven”.

    Yes. And while I do think Bran will be king in the books, I can only hope that it’s set up better and it doesn’t have quite this same message — that we’re too corrupt to rule ourselves and that our best chance is somebody with supernatural powers.

    In this way, it feels a bit like a medieval dystopian message.

  225. Adrianacandle: In this way, it feels a bit like a medieval dystopian message.

    That’s a good way of putting it.

    Also, I understand that the move away from a Hereditary Monarchy is considered a good thing, but there’s no clear succession plan for Westeros anymore. Once Bran dies, if he dies at all, it’ll be up to the Patricians to choose a new king. That could get messy very quickly. Whose to stop any one particular family from a violent coupe? Then Westeros is right back to where it started. The show began with families fighting and squabbling for power. Once Bran dies, there’s no reason why this would change. Besides, what if Bran was lying the whole time? Not that I think he was, but no one in all of Westeros or Essos could stop him if he was lying and he’d be a bigger problem for Westeros than Dany ever was.

    IMO, the lack of a clear plan creates a power vacuum and nature abhors a vacuum. It’s going to be chaos once Bran dies.

  226. Mr Derp,

    Also, I understand that the move away from a Hereditary Monarchy is considered a good thing, but there’s no clear succession plan for Westeros anymore. Once Bran dies, if he dies at all, it’ll be up to the Patricians to choose a new king. That could get messy very quickly. Whose to stop any one particular family from a violent coupe? Then Westeros is right back to where it started. The show began with families fighting and squabbling for power. Once Bran dies, there’s no reason why this would change. Besides, what if Bran was lying the whole time? Not that I think he was, but no one in all of Westeros or Essos could stop him if he was lying.
    IMO, the lack of a clear plan creates a power vacuum and nature abhors a vacuum. It’s going to be chaos once Bran dies.

    I had wondered that if Bran dies, another Three-Eyed Raven is selected — in the way Bloodraven trained and selected Bran and transferred all his powers to Bran upon his death (is that right?). Then that Three-Eyed Raven becomes king.

    But then it’s not really an election in which anyone (from a small, limited, select group) can run. It must be a Three-Eyed Raven for the purposes of Three-Eyed Raven powers.

    And yes, these problems weren’t really addressed — it’s not an unlikely chance a house could feel marginalized or unhappy with a decision made by the council/Bran. I suppose the prospect of war could stop them from acting out but maybe they get to the point where they decide war is worth it? Or somebody from that house may try to assassinate Bran, which may very well start another war and they need to decide a new monarch again.

    Or can Bran foresee these problems and prevent them in advance? But then again, that may churn up more hostility…

    I know the road from a hereditary monarchy to democracy is messy, bumpy, long, and hard but I’m hoping there will be some sort of plan or preparation for such situations in the books. It doesn’t have to be perfect, I don’t think there is a perfect plan for this, but if it just involved some addressing and preparation for these issues you’ve brought up.

  227. mau,

    ”…606 – Dany to her army – let’s go and kill my enemies destroy their houses

    805 – They do that

    806 – Speech that is copy paste from 606 where she thanks them

    Some fans: Out of nowhere. No motivation. I don’t see anything here.”

    While we’re at it, let’s not forget:

    609: Dany’s plan (until Tyrion talks her out of it): Exterminate all of the Masters’ soldiers and return all of their cities to the dirt (with all of their civilians)

    705: Dany to Lannister POWs: Kneel or fry! (i.e., join my army or … Dracarys!🔥)
    [I mean, saying she wasn’t there to put people in chains was a lame excuse. Executing surrendered soldiers has still got to be a war crime, even if you give them the “option” of becoming turncloaks and fighting against their own comrades.)

    50? or 60? [Not sure if this qualifies, though I did find it shocking]: Feeds an arbitrarily selected Mereenese nobleman to dragons for a snack.

    Burn them all!” was kind of her default setting. That’s a problem when you give a nuke to someone with impulse control “issues.”*
    Just like cops with tasers and abusive spouses with handguns, there’s always a temptation to use your cool toy, particularly in a fit of rage.

    * Nice job Tyrion. You told the Mother of Madness you joined Team Dany because Dany
    had advisors who could “rein in her worst impulses.” How did that work out for you? 🤔

  228. Adrianacandle,

    ”…Or somebody from that house may try to assassinate Bran, which may very well start another war and they need to decide a new monarch again.

    Or can Bran foresee these problems and prevent them in advance? But then again, that may churn up more hostility…”

    It didn’t look like Bran could foresee problems, or if he could, he did nothing to prevent them in advance.

    The only indication that I saw that Bran could read the future was his own ascension to the throne, when he made that cryptic comment to Tyrion: “Why do you think I came all this way?”

    The other alternative was that he let a lot of bad sh*t happen without trying to prevent it.

    I don’t know. The show really didn’t provide much clarity about Bran’s (greenseer?) powers. We saw that Jojen was able to “see” future events. I don’t recall any vivid demonstrations that Bran was able to do that, beyond fragmentary images in his slide-show “visions.”

    Oh, and nothing I saw impressed me with King Bran the Broken’s leadership skills. In the last episode he seemed more like a disinterested figurehead than a wise, hands-on, concerned ruler: He got wheeled into the Small Council meeting, didn’t say or do much, and got wheeled right back out a minute later.

    I’d rather have King Robert. He didn’t care much for governing either. At least he threw good parties.

  229. Ten Bears:
    Tiago,

    ”It’s remarkable how a year and a month after the end of Game of Thrones, fans continue to debate the fate of Daenerys. It seems all the comment sections in this site always end there one way or another.”

    Has no one heard of the ancient Roman adage, “All Roads Lead to Arya”?

    When Ten Bears speaks, they surely lead 🙂

  230. Mr Derp</stro
    Mr Derp,

    ng>,

    Oh I’m not going to open nerd black hole know as Star Wars debate. But I wasn’t talking about Rey. Main problem for many in TLJ was Luke Skywalker.

    And I think Rian’s idea was really interesting and original, but mob destroyed it. And who will ever dare do do anything interesting with a character like that? Only role people wanted for him was old wise teacher.

  231. Tensor the Mage, Still Loving the Ending:
    Tiago,

    The other problem with her ending is how the other characters are bent to fit in Daenerys ending. It’s almost like they don’t have a life of their own. Jon, Sansa, Tyrion, Cersei are only there to make Daenerys goes wrong. We’re talking about characters we’ve followed for eight years, whose role is reduced to influence another character’ ending.

    I really like your way of putting that, and I agree, to a certain extent, with the “bent” feeling. Some of that comes from the structure Martin created, with the obvious existential threat of the Others/WW/Army of the Dead dispatched before the hidden and larger existential threat, Dany, even emerges from the false trappings of a hero in which he’d presented her. Once the undead are buried, the story simply must conclude relatively quickly, else the audience will wonder why they are still watching/reading.

    Martin also failed to provide Benioff and Weiss any actual story after the death of Jon Snow. They finally had to travel to his home and wrest from him an outline of the remaining story, and then figure out for themselves how to finish their version. If he’d produced another actual *book* (or two) after they’d produced Winter is Coming, they might have had enough material for the additional seasons HBO offered (or begged, more likely) them to have. The larger amount of story they had before dispatch of the undead could have allowed them to tell more story after it as well, by having more character’s stories, and longer arcs to conclude for existing characters, before reaching Dany’s Downfall.

    As for the rest of that “bent” feeling, well, take Jon Snow as an example. He joined the Night’s Watch to prove he was as good as a true-born Stark, and he succeeded in spades (ha!). He became the greatest Lord Commander the Night’s Watch ever had! He orchestrated the end of the threat the Night’s Watch existed merely to contain. Once he’d performed that godlike task, what else was there for him to do? Well, in the story, to end the other great threat to humanity. His arc actually was complete with Dany’s death, and as Tyrion pointed out, his killing her fit perfectly with his mission to guard the Realms of Men; thematically, his arc was complete. He feels “bent” only if you declare his arc was finished when the undead were buried, and that was not the case. Remember, Martin set the audience up all along to believe that ending the undead was Jon Snow’s main purpose in the story, so this “bent” feeling was to some degree intentional on Martin’s part.

    You’re right that Jon’s arc in the show ends when he kills Daenerys. I also concede that it’s much easier to avoid that “bent” feeling in a book where you have the POV of the main characters. In a TV series, you can only induce what’s going on in the characters minds from the way they act. Thoughts aren’t described like in the books.

  232. Adrianacandle,

    At the end of the day you can do whatever you want but your criticism is not beyond criticism. And my opinion is that Petra’s opinion dances too close to censorship and “forbidden ideas” narrative where you can’t do something because it’s cynical or offensive.

    There is a backlash against backlash in popular culture debate in general right now. That’s why Cinema Wins is becoming more and more popular. People are just tired of negativety and toxic fandoms. People are just tired that whenever something is not popular it’s turned into crime againts humanity. People are tired of that sort of nerd culture way of looking at things because now with twitter and YT nerds are not contained in their online places they are everywhere with their screeching and people are just tired of it. Look at subbredits for The Last of Us 2. It’s beyond ridiculous.

    It’s like race in extremism. There is hysteria in Westworld fandom right now. Dramatic and over the top like every other drama. And problem is that these people don’t want to stay in their places. They will screech everywhere, attack people, reviewers, review bomb RT, IMDB, be in every comment section, invade every place and turn it into shit.

    There is no reasonable debate if someone is offended by art.

  233. Ten Bears,

    The only indication that I saw that Bran could read the future was his own ascension to the throne, when he made that cryptic comment to Tyrion: “Why do you think I came all this way?”

    There’s also a scene in 4×02 where Bran has glimpses of the future (including the shadow of a dragon pass over King’s Landing):

    But ultimately, yes, I think you’re right. I doubt Bran can see the future. Even Isaac Hempstead Wright seemed unsure (from Harper Bazaar, Did Bran Stark Know He’d Be King All Along?, July 19, 2019. Link not included to ensure post avoids moderation phase):

    “I don’t think Bran knows exactly what will happen in the future,” the actor said at San Diego Comic Con 2019 months after the finale. “His vision of the future is slightly cloudier.”

    Re: Bran telling Sam to tell Jon the truth about his parentage when Sam has just found out Dany executed Sam’s father and brother (from The New York Times, ‘Game of Thrones’: Bran on His Future and the Night King’s Ultimate Fate, May 5 2019):

    That might just be for dramatic tension. But yeah, good point. [Laughs] 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.

    Bran doesn’t care. 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.

    ____

    Oh, and nothing I saw impressed me with King Bran the Broken’s leadership skills. In the last episode he seemed more like a disinterested figurehead than a wise, hands-on, concerned ruler: He got wheeled into the Small Council meeting, didn’t say or do much, and got wheeled right back out a minute later.

    We never got to see the leadership skills of King Bran the Broken either. But yes, he did seem pretty removed from human concerns anyhow. I saw a few people here posit (in past threads) that Bran might be acting as a figurehead/final judge while the council goes about the business of discussing what to do and bringing it to Bran.

    I’d rather have King Robert. He didn’t care much for governing either. At least he threw good parties.

    And he also let his council rule for him too, in which they came to him for the final say as king 😉

    I had the impression Robert liked the fighting/war bits but not so much the ruling part.

  234. Mr Derp,

    None of these things with Star Wars writers ever happened. But I don’t blame you. It is a goal of toxic nerds to repeat the same thing over and over until people forget the truth. Like D&D leaving GoT for Star Wars.

    That was Nike campaign. And writers of SW never attacked any fans.

    But toxic fandom needs to create these false narratives that these people in charge are not only bad writers but also horrible people so they can completely dehumanize them at then everything is allowed if you want to attack them.

  235. Mr Derp,

    ”Yes, and the kid who has a “good story” is one that pretty much every kingdom would find hard to believe, especially because they don’t know what a 3 Eyed Raven is or why it’s important. Since the WW story ended in the North, the rest of the kingdoms still believe it’s a bunch of b.s., right? If the story was consistent, then the leaders of the individual kingdoms would find Tyrion and Bran’s story laughable at best…”

    Right. I would expect “the leaders of the individual kingdoms” to react to Bran’s story the same way the Citadel Masters did in S7: getting a big laugh out of a story about “a crippled boy talking to magic birds,” and dismissing whatever he had to say as likely some kind of ruse.

    Particularly since the scene abruptly cut away when Bran was about to tell his “story” to Tyrion in S8e2, neither we nor the electors were shown why Bran had the “best” story, or why that qualified him to lead a war-torn kingdom.

    Frankly, I was disappointed that after all the sacrifices made to insure Bran’s survival (e.g., by Hodor, Leaf, Summer, et al.), and all the hints that he would be indispensable in the showdown against the AotD, neither Bran nor his powers really played any vital part in the big battle. (And no, I don’t want to hear about the silly Bran Bait Plan, or how important it was to preserve his database of “memories.”) I thought Bran would use his time traveling powers to find some critical information in the past. Nope. Didn’t happen. Nor did he provide any valuable reconnaissance information to the WF defenders in S8e3 (or to Team Dany for the assault on KL in the ensuing episodes). Telling people after the fact stuff like “You were exactly where you were supposed to be” didn’t cut it. Hot Pie could’ve come up with that pearl of wisdom. Or Kinvara (“everything happens for a reason”).

    Seriously, a one or two minute scene illustrating how Bran/3ER 2.0 would be a decent king would have been reassuring – to the viewer and to the people he was going to rule. Instead, he was an enigma. As you intimated, all they saw was a weird kid with a bizarre story relayed by an prisoner accused of treason. If there was a reason why they would all buy that story, it could have been shown on screen.

  236. mau,

    At the end of the day you can do whatever you want but your criticism is not beyond criticism.

    Yes, people are free to criticize my opinion too. I’ve never objected to that. I may respond and disagree but I’d never say, “You can’t disagree with me. That’s not allowed.” Discussion and respectful disagreement is what creates a dialogue.

    And my opinion is that Petra’s opinion dances too close to censorship and “forbidden ideas” narrative where you can’t do something because it’s cynical or offensive.

    Alright, and I’m disagreeing with your opinion in turn — I’m not telling you you’re not allowed to have it. I, myself, didn’t see anything where Petra was forbidding anybody from expressing ideas, but pointing out problems she saw in their portrayal. There, I’m not seeing what you’re seeing but I’m not saying, “You can’t say this or dispute this.” I think that would be censorship.

    There is a backlash against backlash in popular culture debate in general right now. That’s why Cinema Wins is becoming more and more popular. People are just tired of negativety and toxic fandoms. People are just tired that whenever something is not popular it’s turned into crime againts humanity. People are tired of that sort of nerd culture way of looking at things because now with twitter and YT nerds are not contained in their online places they are everywhere with their screeching and people are just tired of it. Look at subbredits for The Last of Us 2. It’s beyond ridiculous.

    I’m not part of The Last of Us fandom and I think the angry mob culture can go too far when it gets personal and I think people do make reaches.

    But I think, as long as people discuss and debate respectfully, avoid getting personal, avoid attacking the writers/actors/etc. and each other, as long as we don’t accuse, and don’t dismiss, we can discuss these ideas and good can come out of that.

    I don’t agree with all criticisms of the final season of Game of Thrones and I’ve seen some voice some opinions I, personally, think are reaching. But other criticisms, yes, I do agree with.

    It’s like race in extremism. There is hysteria in Westworld fandom right now. Dramatic and over the top like every other drama. And problem is that these people don’t want to stay in their places. They will screech everywhere, attack people, reviewers, review bomb RT, IMDB, be in every comment section, invade every place and turn it into shit.

    Oh, there is extremism no doubt and I think some on a certain subreddit for GoT go way too far because they do make it personal, they do attack the writers themselves, they do engage in angry mob mentality. And I think review bombing and attacking others (writers, actors, other reviewers/fans) is wrong.

    But I think this is a matter of crossing a line. It’s not respectful or healthy debate.

    There is no reasonable debate if someone is offended by art.

    I think there is if they’re willing to do so respectfully, explain their views, and engage in a dialogue in which their views are challenged (rather than ranting into an echo chamber).

    I do agree with Petra’s criticisms of how GoT portrayed mental illness. I’m part of the mental illness community and it was a focus of my grad thesis. It is also a stigma I’ve suffered myself. One of the supervisors for my thesis wrote a book entitled, “Remembrance of Patients Past: Patient Life at the Toronto Hospital for the Insane, 1870-1940” and taught a course called “A Mad People’s History”. It looked at some of the stuff Petra was examining (not with Game of Thrones specifically but in media and how mental illness was represented and portrayed).

    There are valid concerns over the portrayal of madness in media and I think Petra addresses those concerns. You don’t have to agree and nobody is telling you to agree, really! But I think that debate is an important one to have since mental illness is so stigmatized.

  237. mau: There is a backlash against backlash in popular culture debate in general right now. That’s why Cinema Wins is becoming more and more popular. People are just tired of negativety and toxic fandoms. People are just tired that whenever something is not popular it’s turned into crime againts humanity.

    I wanted to add — I think this, too, is an important debate to add because I think it asks a good question: “How far is too far when expressing anger?” Not just in fandom, but in real life too. For instance, when does cancel culture become toxic?

    There’s a debate currently going on with Jenna Marbles and she is being attacked for a video she did 9-10 years ago on her YouTube channel (and has been made private for quite some time by now). It’s been years since she’s done/said anything similar and has made quite a few apologies for it in the past. However, this latest round had Jenna leave YouTube altogether. It’s prompted a debate discussing when cancel culture goes too far (I’d say some YouTubers definitely deserve to be called out but if you’re interested in this debate, you can look up reactions to Jenna Marbles quitting and the video she is being attacked over).

  238. Adrianacandle,

    Sadly internet is not like this place, and if you use twitter or reddit it becomes obvious how debate around almost everything in pop culture that is not universally loved is ruined. Westworld, Star Wars, The Last of Us, Game of Thrones,… Whenever there is some controversy it becomes race in extremism as I said. Who will say something more extreme and who will be more outraged about something. If you listen to people talk about Westworld you will assume they just watched child pornography. That’s the level of disgust they express. And how you can have reasonable debate with someone who wanted to punsh TV and can’t watch a second of GoT anymore without emotional breakdown. These people had meltdown when D&D appeared in Westworld. Lol

    And they just lie all the time. Just now there is fake script of the Bells online, claiming that evil D&D changed the ending in post production to ruin Daenerys.

    Fun fact: The current nerd rage is abour the Last of Us 2 and Benioff appears there as well. At least his book does in one scene lol Last of Us is inspired by his book City of Thieves.

    And I DO think that last season and GoT as a whole has flaws. I think Bran as a character is the biggest fail in the show. I think S7 needed one more episode and S8 two more. But at some point I just want to talk about things that I liked about the show. Isn’t that the point of fandom of a show that is over? Nothing will ever be changed. I will never get those 3 episodes that last two seasons needed and I just don’t want this state of endless frustration where we just as fans talk about things we didn’t like.

  239. mau,

    Sadly internet is not like this place, and if you use twitter or reddit it becomes obvious how debate around almost everything in pop culture that is not universally loved is ruined. Westworld, Star Wars, The Last of Us, Game of Thrones,… Whenever there is some controversy it becomes race in extremism as I said. Who will say something more extreme and who will be more outraged about something. If you listen to people talk about Westworld you will assume they just watched child pornography. That’s the level of disgust they express. And how you can have reasonable debate with someone who wanted to punsh TV and can’t watch a second of GoT anymore without emotional breakdown. These people had meltdown when D&D appeared in Westworld. Lol

    Oh, definitely. I think parts of this fandom can get way too extreme and way too stannish and way too personal (and sometimes, when it gets really personal, it borders on downright scary). I’ve seen it — on Twitter, on Tumblr, on YouTube, on Reddit. And some of it is alarming.

    But at some point I just want to talk about things that I liked about the show. Isn’t that the point of fandom of a show that is over? Nothing will ever be changed. I will never get those 3 episodes that last two seasons needed and I just don’t want this state of endless frustration where we just as fans talk about things we didn’t like.

    You’re right — the dye is cast, the ink is dry (as far as the show goes) and I think you can still talk about the things you liked about the show! For instance, in the David Nutter thread, Ten Bears introduced a topic asking, “Just to balance things out, should we start nominating Best Ever Scene(s): a more difficult task because there were so many great scenes over the course of 73 episodes?” and people responded with their own lists 🙂

    Maybe that’s something we can do more of?

    But I also there will always be talk over the more frustrating aspects as well because people do care, this show was/is important to them. If we didn’t care, we wouldn’t be here (especially not a year+ after the show’s ended).

    I think I get where you’re coming from. I can understand the exhaustion over the negativity, it’s something I feel too with certain debates — they’re endless, they get nowhere new. But I don’t think they should be put in a box and never discussed/brought up again either.

    But I think I understand where you’re coming from and I think there’s definitely validity with feeling frustrated by all the negativity.

  240. Adrianacandle,

    Yeah. I will research about that.

    But I do think this is a huge problem. They have this sense of power that is very dangerous. You would be shocked to see how many people still think that last season will be remade.

    We created a culture where if you whine enough online, if you review bomb games, shows and movies, write petitions and just in general create a lot of noise you will get what you want.

    And the biggest problem, these people lie all the time. And some of these lies are now accepted as truths and you can’t even debate them anymore.

    So when I see even this place turned into whine fest sometimes it is disappointing. Because no matter how respectful you are or nice or whatever I just don’t want to her D&D BAD no matter how eloquent or respectful it is.

    It’s been more than a year. It’s enough.

  241. mau:
    Adrianacandle,

    I’m not saying she doesn’t have right to complain. I’m saying it almost feels like she is denying autonomy to the writers. If they want cynical story that’s what the story is. Show belongs to Benioff and Weiss and they can do whatever they want.

    And when it comes to execution it all comes to this false idea that Daenerys really cares about other people. She is like Stalin. She cares about oppressed. In an abstract way. But what she really cares about is absolute power. She wanted to burn cities and castles too many times for us to really believe that she cares what happens with common people.

    Writers have all the right to write a story that is or feels cynical in its heart. Fair enough. And fans have the right to say that a story like that is not for them. They can say that ending X made them feel the whole story is pointless. That’s rather trivial, if they express it politely, without crossing the line of civility.

    As for the idea that Daenerys doesn’t really care about other people, many of her actions are really strange, not to say stupid, if that’s the case. If she only cares about power, she incurs into unnecessary costs to her goals too many times. The sack of Astapor is one clear example. She doesn’t have any need to free the slaves. In fact, the decision of releasing had a lot of potential problems to her Westerosi goals. She did it anyway. Was she brutal? Yes, she was. But killing the slaves and starting a revolution in that region was more right than sealing the deal with Kraznys and simply go to Westeros as if it was business as usual. That attitude would be much more of a red flag to me about Daenerys having the Iron Throne as her only goal. The problem with slavery wasn’t just slavery in itself. Daenerys knew beforehand she would find a city of slaves. The main problem was that the majority of them were victims of a completely subhuman treatment. The effort of humanizing the dehumanized must be cherished, although with care, because Daenerys, as her dragons grow, has the potential to do great good but also great harm. The decision of staying in Meereen, after he hears the consequences of leaving Astapor behing with no solid system of government, is another example.

    Caring about common people and desiring power don’t have to be mutually exclusive traits. They are in this story, because it seems the writers want to highlight that as conclusion of the story. In fact, caring about people and desiring power are the mix that makes the best politicians in the real world. Politicians who only desire power, without caring by whom they rule are dangerous. People that care about common people, but don’t want power aren’t politicians. The political game inside a democratic party can be really harsh. Only people that really want it reach those forefront positions.

    I saw you have commentated that the ending of Daenerys was especially relevant at the age of populist politicians. But the majority of populist politicians we see today advocate ideas rather different to the ones associated with Daenerys. They are more in line with Cersei and her Mad Queen speech (7×02) and the philosophy of Randyll Tarly: see everything foreign as inferior or dangerous. In fact, if we analyse GoT characters and societies in a 21st century light, we conclude that all of them, more or less, suck.

  242. mau:
    Adrianacandle,

    Yeah. I will research about that.

    But I do think this is a huge problem. They have this sense of power that is very dangerous. You would be shocked to see how many people still think that last season will be remade.

    We created a culture where if you whine enough online, if you review bomb games, shows and movies, write petitions and just in general create a lot of noise you will get what you want.

    And the biggest problem, these people lie all the time. And some of these lies are now accepted as truths and you can’t even debate them anymore.

    So when I see even this place turned into whine fest sometimes it is disappointing. Because no matter how respectful you are or nice or whatever I just don’t want to her D&D BAD no matter how eloquent or respectful it is.

    It’s been more than a year. It’s enough.

    While there’s no new ASOIAF book or news about the HotD, we still discuss GoT’s ending. People will eventuallly move on. I’m perfectly fine with the ending, even if, in my opinion, could be better. It doesn’t cause me any angry feelings. Even if we were all emotionally invested in this TV series, it’s important to remember that it’s just it… good entertainment.

  243. mau,

    Yeah. I will research about that.

    Here’s one video that I think does some thoughtful critique over cancel culture (in response to the Jenna Marbles debate. However, as a note, Jenna didn’t actually wear blackface ie. wear make-up to make her skin specifically darker for this video, it was the darker spray tan she was using regularly at the time from 2010-2011 and with the pastel wig she wore, it gave the impression of blackface) and if you’re interested, I’d suggest definitely looking up her own video in which she addresses this stuff and other reaction/response videos.

    But I do think this is a huge problem. They have this sense of power that is very dangerous. You would be shocked to see how many people still think that last season will be remade.

    We created a culture where if you whine enough online, if you review bomb games, shows and movies, write petitions and just in general create a lot of noise you will get what you want.

    Oh, yes, I know there are still quite a few people who are demanding the final season be remade! I don’t participate in these communities but I do lurk.

    But I think this is an example of when things going too far and I think it really reflects badly on fandom. I find it embarrassing — especially when it reaches the point of bullying actors (Sam Heughan recently came out about how he’s been cyber bullied and harassed by fans, and he’s has received death threats from fans, which I find mortifying. This behavior embarrasses me as a fan of Outlander), personally disparaging the writers/actors, and coming up with conspiracy theories blaming actors for certain storylines.

    I think this goes beyond simple whining though.

    And the biggest problem, these people lie all the time. And some of these lies are now accepted as truths and you can’t even debate them anymore.

    So when I see even this place turned into whine fest sometimes it is disappointing. Because no matter how respectful you are or nice or whatever I just don’t want to her D&D BAD no matter how eloquent or respectful it is.

    It’s been more than a year. It’s enough.

    I think I can understand this and empathize with it on a certain level (I remember feeling a similar way with Buffy, though I really disliked the last season of that show) but I don’t think we can ask people to stop voicing their frustrations, discussing them, or putting a time limit on them.

  244. Adrianacandle,

    I forgot to put this quote from mau’s post in quotation marks when referencing it in my above (June 29, 2020 at 7:08 pm) post:

    And the biggest problem, these people lie all the time. And some of these lies are now accepted as truths and you can’t even debate them anymore.

    I’m sorry, mau!! 🙁

  245. mau: It is all about balance I agree. This place is mostly great don’t get me wrong. I am speakig about larger problems.

    I agree (and I agree there are larger problems with fandom toxicity, like the ones we discussed in which it goes to extremes).

    Tiago: While there’s no new ASOIAF book or news about the HotD, we still discuss GoT’s ending. People will eventuallly move on. I’m perfectly fine with the ending, even if, in my opinion, could be better. It doesn’t cause me any angry feelings. Even if we were all emotionally invested in this TV series, it’s important to remember that it’s just it… good entertainment.

    I agree with this too (and I’m thinking these debates will eventually move on. I think that will be helped when we get new developments about HotD and perhaps TWOW).

  246. Adrianacandle,

    Let me throw in my two cents and say that:

    • You can critique aspects of the show and still love it. I have, and I do.

    • The suggestion that “art” is allowed to be offensive but the audience can’t criticize it “something because it’s cynical or offensive” or that expressing contrary opinions “dances too close to censorship” are self-repugnant:
    If a storyteller portrays something that some people may perceive as offensive in order to pose “questions,” push the envelope, or spur debate, then expressing disagreement is merely accepting that invitation.
    Otherwise, it would be reverse censorship to condemn a critique as “censorship.”

    • If Petra and others criticized the portrayal of mental illness, I’ve seen nothing that indicates these opinions were anything but civil and respectful.
    I for one didn’t think the manifestation of “Targ madness” was credible. I’m not an expert though. I’ll defer to others who have more personal experience or education.

    • I am still confused about Dany’s motivations and state of mind when she suddenly went on a carpet bombing rampage after the city had already surrendered. Was it because the Targ looney gene suddenly kicked in? Was it because people didn’t love her? Was it because she was sleep-deprived and strung out? Was it because Jon wasn’t in a frisky mood anymore? I thought I had a general idea why.

    However, then I saw D.B. Weiss on the “Inside the Episode” segment say something like “in that moment, she saw the Red Keep, a symbol of everything that had been taken away from her,” and that’s why she torched the city. Huh???
    I still have no idea what he meant.
    ( He had a similarly confounding interpretation of Needle as a “symbol” when discussing Arya’s Braavos dock scene; I’ll refrain from going into that for now.)

    • As you know, I recently went off on a criticism of what I perceived as a resort to the debunked “surviving abuse as female empowerment” theme in Sansa’s S8e4 scene with Sandor. I thought it was a tone-deaf, distasteful characterization. I also recognized other people may have perceived the scene differently, and that it’s possible that women who’ve actually endured emotional and physical abuse would feel differently.
    I wouldn’t want someone to condemn me or condemn anyone else because we disagree with the way the consequences of abuse are portrayed on the show, or if we explain why we found the scene offensive.

    • Lastly – and I think others have said this – if we’re all supposed to applaud everything in every episode as bri____nt and perfect, at the risk of being bashed as a hater or censor, then why bother discussing the show at all?

  247. Tiago,

    ”Caring about common people and desiring power don’t have to be mutually exclusive traits. They are in this story, because it seems the writers want to highlight that as conclusion of the story. In fact, caring about people and desiring power are the mix that makes the best politicians in the real world…”

    Caring for common people co-existing with ambition for power: R.I.P. Queen Margaery. 😥

  248. Ten Bears,

    I agree with much of what you said and I also think mau has a point where fandom upset can get to a point where it’s too extreme, where it’s no longer constructive (his cited examples review bombing, that petition, attacking people/other fans, attacking the writers, attacking reviewers, attacking actors). And I think that’s an important topic to examine too — at what point does backlash become toxic?

    And, for my part, I also don’t think criticizing the ideas/execution of plots/writing/plotting choices/etc. put forth by art and/or other media falls into toxic categories for some of the reasons you’ve stated. It’s a dialogue. And sometimes, an important dialogue (like portrayal of mental illness in media).

    However, then I saw D.B. Weiss on the “Inside the Episode” segment say something like “in that moment, she saw the Red Keep, a symbol of everything that had been taken away from her,” and that’s why she torched the city. Huh???

    And I thought in the next episode, perhaps they were going for an idea of tragic extremist idealism — believing (albeit delusionally) what she was doing what was right and good for the sake of a better world and employing any means to do it in order to achieve her personal ideals. But I’m not sure how that lines up with the decision to “make it personal” when she’s triggered by the Red Keep because it was a symbol of everything that was taken away from her family (I interpreted this statement as a final trigger representative of everything she’s lost — both recently and what her family lost 20+ years ago, resulting in a life of childhood hardships she’s had to endure growing up and some of the hardships she faced as a result, like being sold for an army. And in that way, it feels like vengeance).

    But this is an endless debate, one that I think won’t ever settle on a single answer :/

    As you know, I recently went off on a criticism of what I perceived as a resort to the debunked “surviving abuse as female empowerment” theme in Sansa’s S8e4 scene with Sandor. I thought it was a tone-deaf, distasteful characterization. I also recognized other people may have perceived the scene differently, and that it’s possible that women who’ve actually endured emotional and physical abuse would feel differently.
    I wouldn’t want someone to condemn me or condemn anyone else because we disagree with the way the consequences of abuse are portrayed on the show, or if we explain why we found the scene offensive.

    I agree. I have my own thoughts on that but I know my own feelings may not be reflective of everyone’s.

    Lastly – and I think others have said this – if we’re all supposed to applaud everything in every episode as bri____nt and perfect, at the risk of being bashed as a hater or censor, then why bother discussing the show at all?

    I agree. And I understand being exhausted by the negativity and it can be hurtful to hear. At the same time, yes, part of discussion is criticism.

    And if I didn’t love this show, I would not still be around — or in the fandom community at all. I’m not on the This Is Us subreddits and while I thought the first season was okay, I found myself growing increasingly annoyed by that show until I dropped it altogether.

    And, like you said, “You can critique aspects of the show and still love it. I have, and I do. “

    I also know when I put my opinion out there in a public space (especially a space meant for discussion), I am making the choice of opening the door to criticism and disagreement over my words. For that reason, I find the phrase “don’t @ me” (often used on Twitter and Tumblr) when posting public opinions quite passive-aggressive because it’s (unless I’m misunderstanding and if I am, please correct me!) another way of saying, “Don’t argue with me,” “don’t respond directly to me,” “I want to say whatever I want without being criticized.” I kind of think that if you’re going to dish it in public, be prepared to take it (but within reason — not resorting to personal attacks/accusations/assumptions/disrespect).

  249. Adrianacandle,

    ” You’re right — the dye is cast, the ink is dry (as far as the show goes) and I think you can still talk about the things you liked about the show! For instance, in the David Nutter thread, Ten Bears introduced a topic asking, “Just to balance things out, should we start nominating Best Ever Scene(s): a more difficult task because there were so many great scenes over the course of 73 episodes?” and people responded with their own lists 🙂

    Maybe that’s something we can do more of?”

    Yeah, I did write that, didn’t I? 😁
    And I’m still conducting that exercise: selecting each character’s best scenes, and identifying what I thought were the best overall scenes throughout the 73-episode run of the show.

    Let me make an observation and see if it makes any sense: It’s much easier to identify a “misfire” and articulate why it landed with a thud than it is to explain why a great scene was great.

    I know there’s a metaphor for what I’m trying to say. I forget the exact wording. It’s stated more elegantly than this: It’s something like how a protruding nail gets the hammer. Something that looks out of place or defects in something that is awkwardly assembled are more noticeable than something that is artfully constructed. In a TV show or movie, the immersion is unbroken. You don’t notice the separate pieces because they fit together seamlessly.

    (Am I making sense?)

    For example, the fandom will debate forever the unanswered question why Sansa concealed the KotV. One side will extrapolate her thought processes to interpret her silence as br____nt strategy to protect against Jon’s impetuousness. Others will say her omission of critical information was selfish and inexcusable. (Even Sophie doesn’t know why Sansa did this.) There’s enough ambiguity to keep this debate going in perpetuity.

    By contrast, we rarely see detailed analyses about why Oberyn’s S4e7 scene with Tyrion (“I will be your champion”) fired on all cylinders. That’s because, at least for me, I was engrossed in that scene from start to finish. The acting, the dialogue, the direction – all came together. At no point did I step out of the “moment” and ask the TV, “Wait, WTF?”

    It’s a real challenge for someone like me without a drama or screenwriting background to pick apart a great scene to figure out why it worked so well. A well-written, well-constructed scene doesn’t reveal the unseen Oz behind the curtain.
    When a director tweaks the script to create or amplify the “drama” (yes, I’m looking at you, Mr. Mylod for portraying Clueless Arya getting stabbed), the manipulations are more obvious.

    I guess what I’m saying is that (to latch on to the carpentry metaphor) if there are no nails sticking out of the surface and there are no spaces between the joints of interlocking pieces, it’s a real challenge to figure out how the finished product was designed and put together.

    Still, maybe it’s worth the effort to try to do that. The number of great scenes and great episodes far exceed the few that incite inordinate amounts of criticism. I for one am going to try to make the effort.

  250. mau:
    Adrianacandle,
    I mean we literally had

    606 – Dany to her army – let’s go and kill my enemies destroy their houses

    805 – They do that

    806 – Speech that is copy paste from 606 where she thanks them

    Some fans: Out of nowhere. No motivation. I don’t see anything here.

    This isn’t anything we haven’t seen before. It’s Stannis all over again. There was backlash then too when Stannis burned Shireen, his fans crying, “it came out of nowhere” and “he burned her for no reason,” many of the comments we saw after King’s Landing’s destruction. The only difference is that Danerys has a larger fan base, so the backlash was more intense.

  251. Mango:
    Okey, Dokey…….Can we all agree that the writing for GOT Season 8 was poor, particularly 8.4, 8.5, 8.6?

    I’m not sure why you would bother to ask a question you already know the answer to. No, it was not poor. The writing for Season 8 was superb, on par with the writing of the seasons that came before.

  252. Ten Bears,

    Let me make an observation and see if it makes any sense: It’s much easier to identify a “misfire” and articulate why it landed with a thud than it is to explain why a great scene was great.
    I know there’s a metaphor for what I’m trying to say. I forget the exact wording. It’s stated more elegantly than this: It’s something like how a protruding nail gets the hammer. Something that looks out of place or defects in something that is awkwardly assembled are more noticeable than something that is artfully constructed. In a TV show or movie, the immersion is unbroken. You don’t notice the separate pieces because they fit together seamlessly.
    (Am I making sense?)

    You are! And I agree.

    And I agree about feeling the engineering and strings pushing a plot to amplify the drama, it does sort of take me out of the moment sometimes too.

    Admittedly, when I first watched BotB, it was a goosebumps moment when Sansa arrived with the Vale at the very second all seemed lost but later, it was like, “Wait a minute… WTF?” And I haven’t been able to be in the Vale arrival moment since for the reasons you stated.

    However, you’re right, that conundrum in particular is an endless debate that I don’t feel the fandom will ever settle on.

    By contrast, we rarely see detailed analyses about why Oberyn’s S4e7 scene with Tyrion (“I will be your champion”) fired on all cylinders. That’s because, at least for me, I was engrossed in that scene from start to finish. The acting, the dialogue, the direction – all came together. At no point did I step out of the “moment” and ask the TV, “Wait, WTF?”

    Yes!

    And that is a great great scene — I also liked the show-only scenes of Arya and Tywin in season 2 and the season 3 scene with Catelyn talking to Talisa about Jon Snow. I know the latter is pretty controversial with book readers but I liked it (I did get teary). And I love Michelle Fairley’s portrayal of Catelyn so so much. I think the show did a great job with Catelyn. She warmed me up to Catelyn in a way I wasn’t when reading the books. She really made me feel for Catelyn, sort of like how Lena Headey made me really feel for Cersei.

    (And I think your carpentry metaphor is apt).

    I guess what I’m saying is that (to latch on to the carpentry metaphor) if there are no nails sticking out of the surface and there are no spaces between the joints of interlocking pieces, it’s a real challenge to figure out how the finished product was designed and put together.

    Still, maybe it’s worth the effort to try to do that. The number of great scenes and great episodes far exceed the few that incite inordinate amounts of criticism. I for one am going to try to make the effort.

    Absolutely! And I think some positivity would be welcome and add some levity to these pretty intense debates.

    And thanks for introducing this topic and asking us to list moments we loved 🙂 🙂 🙂

  253. mau:
    Adrianacandle,

    Sadly internet is not like this place, and if you use twitter or reddit it becomes obvious how debate around almost everything in pop culture that is not universally loved is ruined. Westworld, Star Wars, The Last of Us, Game of Thrones,… Whenever there is some controversy it becomes race in extremism as I said. Who will say something more extreme and who will be more outraged about something. If you listen to people talk about Westworld you will assume they just watched child pornography. That’s the level of disgust they express. And how you can have reasonable debate with someone who wanted to punsh TV and can’t watch a second of GoT anymore without emotional breakdown. These people had meltdown when D&D appeared in Westworld. Lol

    And they just lie all the time. Just now there is fake script of the Bells online, claiming that evil D&D changed the ending in post production to ruinDaenerys.

    Fun fact: The current nerd rage is abour the Last of Us 2 and Benioff appears there as well. At least his book does in one scene lol Last of Us is inspired by his book City of Thieves.

    And I DO think that last season and GoT as a whole has flaws. I think Bran as a character is the biggest fail in the show. I think S7 needed one more episode and S8 two more. But at some point I just want to talk about things that I liked about the show. Isn’t that the point of fandom of a show that is over? Nothing will ever be changed. I will never get those 3 episodes that last two seasons needed and I just don’t want this state of endless frustration where we just as fans talk about things we didn’t like.

    I will admit I’m late to the discussion, but I’m jumping in because the rest of the world is depressing right now, and this is probably my favorite place to hang out. Adrianacandle and others included a wealth of material for me to go back and review. I do agree with you that I do want to talk about things that I liked as a fan, but I also seek out this community to help me understand. I often do this on the Internet in general when I watch a movie and experience an ending that didn’t make sense to me. I figure someone else might have caught what I missed. I think people have been too hard on D&D. Once the source material was used up, I noticed a major tone shift. It wasn’t all for the worse. D&D would throw in more comedy in their dialogue. Some Dothraki scenes come to mind right away. It’s not that GRRM doesn’t have a sense of humor in his books, but I found the dialogue loosened up once D&D went into uncharted book territory. I don’t think anyone imagined that the show would pass the books. I don’t think D&D signed up for that prospect, and I have to commend them. I do think they had to put a limit on the number of episodes. The kids were getting older, and their luck was probably going to run out being able to keep the major cast together for so long. So yes, I felt that they rushed to the finish as compared to earlier years. But again it’s not a deal breaker for me.

    Back to “The Bells” episode again, I was confused when I first saw it, because I didn’t get why she didn’t go straight for the Red Keep. I totally understood that she wasn’t going to let Cersei get away with it, but I didn’t understand why she did a serpentine maneuver burning down everyone on the streets along the way.
    In the end, I had to take this as more strategic than rage. D&D seemed to indicate in the behind the scenes that it was a tipping point for Dany. But to me, I heard her saying that she needed people to fear her and mercy would not be her weakness. Cersei could not exploit her “mercy”. So I felt it was more a strategic decision. Mercy is a major theme in GOT. It seemed that Mercy was definitely not a virtue for GOT characters. It sent Ned to his death. Arya was mentored by Sandor that mercy would get her killed. Arya’s name is Mercy in TWOW sample chapter and that was also her name in the show when she met Lady Crane. I think it holds together if you consider Dany’s motivation that she will save “mercy” for the next generation. I can accept Dany’s decision as both strategy and rage, but if it was totally rage, I think she would have gone after Cersei first and then burned down the city later possibly. It’s a tough one, but it’s just not a deal breaker for me that it ruins my enjoyment of the series as a whole. As a fan, I was absolutely mesmerized by The Bells. Watching Arya survive the firebombing was an incredible sequence of film-making. I knew for sure when Tyrion was going on and on about those bells that Dany wasn’t going to listen to him. That part didn’t come out of the blue. I am still blown away by the scope of work that was done to create their own Kings Landing just to destroy it. I consider myself a fan, and as a fan, those are things I truly appreciate.

    A problem I had is I never bought the chemistry between Kit and Emilia. Their romance did feel forced to me and yes I’ll use that term “rushed”. But I’m not sure if it would have mattered to take longer. It would never compare to the sexual tension between Jon and Ygritte. Since Kit married Rose, I guess they felt that chemistry too!

    I think Dany was too Queenly with Jon to make it romantic. The way she spoke was distant. She kept Jon at a distance not allowing him to approach her in the throne room. Jon couldn’t really flirt with her while pleading to the world that Death was coming for them all!! That’s not exactly a romantic conversation starter. Jon wasn’t all flirty and cocky like Daario. There just weren’t that many opportunities for them to get their romance on until the love boat. With Jon and Ygritte, they were thrown together with just the two of them for a number of episodes. There was a constant sexual cat and mouse game going on. So for me as a fan, I didn’t really buy Jon and Dany together, and that had a domino effect that wasn’t just one episode. Since I never really bought their relationship, I didn’t feel as much when Jon decided he had to kill Dany. Just imagine if it was Ygritte he had to kill to save his sisters. Would he have done it? Wow, that’s the first time I thought of that question. I wonder what others think.

  254. Tron79: Just imagine if it was Ygritte he had to kill to save his sisters. Would he have done it? Wow, that’s the first time I thought of that question. I wonder what others think.

    I think he would have, yes. And I think, ultimately, this is the decision this character is supposed to make — which is what makes it so agonizing. In the books, Jon was resigned to the possibility of killing Ygritte. He really didn’t want to, he hesitated, he willed Ygritte to leave because she’d only find death at Castle Black — but he did seem resolved. And he thought it was his arrow that killed her (he had to check. And in his nightmares, it’s always his own arrow that kills her).

    But I don’t think Jon’s decision was just about his sisters. I think that was the final factor that pushed him, but it was also about the people too and in some ways, I think he needed that final factor to push him into killing Dany, an action he fought against resorting to.

  255. Tron79,

    I know “you can’t always get what you want”, but I would have loved to have seen Arya take the burden from Jon and kill Dany herself. I could see her doing this for her brother even if Jon would hate her for it. She would have taken all that guilt from him. As a fan, I loved how Arya just popped out of nowhere next to Jon at the top of the steps in the finale.
    I think the show decided Arya already had her moment killing the NK. But I think it would have been totally in character, and she may have been able to go on the run much like “Kung Fu” and go on her Western adventure sequel as a fugitive. It worked great for Kung Fu. Following the Kung Fu formula, she would find someone new in each town to defend and have a major fight before the end of each episode… Oh well, signing off for now. I guess you can tell I’m a dreamer. I understand these things will never happen other than in fan fiction, but doesn’t stop me from dreaming!

  256. Mango,

    Okey, Dokey…….Can we all agree that the writing for GOT Season 8 was poor, particularly 8.4, 8.5, 8.6? (Ok, 8.2 was good! and if you could see it, 8.3 looked like a lot of work!)

    Q: How does one judge the “writing” when an episode doesn’t have very much dialogue? Does “poor” writing include action scenes that don’t seem to make sense, or sequences that have jarring edits and jump cuts?

    For me, if a speech is corny or dialogue doesn’t comport with a character’s established personality, that’s “poor” writing. I’d also include scenes that abruptly end, and long scenes of a character just walking around and grimacing, or rearranging chairs.

    Finally, there’s the problem when an episode has a few well-written scenes and a few that suck. What then?

    Anyway, tentatively I’d agree that the writing for S8e4 and S8e6 was not up to par.
    I can’t label S8e5 as “poor” because… “Sandor! Thank you.”

    Also, let’s not let the Big Kahuna off the hook. The showrunners signed up to do an adaptation of novels for TV, not finish G’s story for him. They never would’ve had to write an ending – and expose themselves to criticism – if G had gotten the books done.

  257. Adrianacandle: I think he would have, yes. And I think, ultimately, this is the decision this character is supposed to make — which is what makes it so agonizing. In the books, Jon was resigned to the possibility of killing Ygritte. He really didn’t want to, he hesitated, he willed Ygritte to leave because she’d only find death at Castle Black — but he did seem resolved. And he thought it was his arrow that killed her (he had to check. And in his nightmares, it’s always his own arrow that kills her).

    But I don’t think Jon’s decision was just about his sisters. I think that was the final factor that pushed him, but it was also about the people too and in some ways, I think he needed that final factor to push him into killing Dany, an action he fought against resorting to.

    You may be right, but I would have felt the pain much deeper if he had to kill Ygritte.
    In the show, Jon wasn’t going for the idea of killing Dany until Tyrion brought up Jon’s sisters. I was searching for the script to find the exact dialogue, but you may have it. As you said it was the final factor that pushed him. But I don’t think he would have done it otherwise. From what I recall, he was still thinking of Dany as his queen until then. Yes Tyrion was trying to be persuasive, but until Tyrion brought up his sisters, Jon wasn’t budging. In the end his loyalty to his Stark family was more than his loyalty to his Targaryen family. I felt his inner struggle was more about his Stark loyalties vs. his Targaryen loyalties and less about saving the rest of the world from Dany’s tyranny. I can understand if you saw this differently. I think GRRM wants to explore the tension between Jon’s Stark roots and new Targaryen family, so I wouldn’t doubt if this becomes part of the book scene where he has to decide to do the same thing as the show.

  258. Tron79,

    With Jon and Ygritte, they were thrown together with just the two of them for a number of episodes. There was a constant sexual cat and mouse game going on. So for me as a fan, I didn’t really buy Jon and Dany together, and that had a domino effect that wasn’t just one episode. Since I never really bought their relationship, I didn’t feel as much when Jon decided he had to kill Dany.

    I hear you. I was not invested in Jon & Dany’s “romance.” The difference? Ygritte & Jon developed through dialogue – the teasing, the banter, the arguing… It was more wordplay than sex play that made their romance believable – and her death heartbreaking. By contrast, Jon knocked on Dany’s door, she opened it, and then they started going at it without saying a word.

    I suppose there was source material to work with when scripting Jon & Ygritte?

  259. Tron79,

    In the show, Jon wasn’t going for the idea of killing Dany until Tyrion brought up Jon’s sisters.

    Well, Jon still tried pleading with Dany, tried getting her to change her mind. Kit Harington explains in one of the DVD specials that, “Jon doesn’t know he’s going to betray Dany — until right at the end,” and that his decision to kill Dany was fueled by a number of reasons but that final thing that pushed him over was his sisters.

    But I don’t think he would have done it otherwise. From what I recall, he was still thinking of Dany as his queen until then. Yes Tyrion was trying to be persuasive, but until Tyrion brought up his sisters, Jon wasn’t budging. In the end his loyalty to his Stark family was more than his loyalty to his Targaryen family. I felt his inner struggle was more about his Stark loyalties vs. his Targaryen loyalties and less about saving the rest of the world from Dany’s tyranny.

    I think this issue would have come to a head eventually and Jon would be forced to take action against Dany because I don’t think, under any circumstance, he can let her (or anyone) burn the world and not for the sake of loyalty or honor.

    I don’t think it was really a matter of loyalty vs. loyalty. Jon has been willing to break oaths before, commit taboos (break sacred guest right to kill Mance), forsake his own honor and commit betrayals — and for far less than what Dany did. I think Jon was balking because significant personal feeling figured into this — on both sides.

    Even if she agreed to spared his sisters, I think Jon would have had to kill Dany if she was determined to continue. I think the matter of Jon’s sisters forced the urgency of Jon’s choice and localized the issue but I think he really still had hope Dany’s mind could be changed. He wanted to believe the war was done, Dany had stopped, he wanted to find sense in Dany’s actions, that this was a one-time thing and she won’t do it again.

    However, when Jon saw Dany justifying her choices and her actions, he got more and more upset over the answers she was giving him. And he made his decision when he saw she wasn’t backing down.

    I can understand if you saw this differently. I think GRRM wants to explore the tension between Jon’s Stark roots and new Targaryen family, so I wouldn’t doubt if this becomes part of the book scene where he has to decide to do the same thing as the show.

    There might be tension Jon feels with this but I believe his final choice, the final test for his character, I think it needs to be more than that.

    Jon says in the books:

    “I am the sword that guards the realm of men, Jon reminded himself, and in the end, that must be worth more than one man’s honor.”

    And he’s often faced with choices of loyalty to his family vs. loyalty to the Watch often. But it’s love that makes the choice particularly brutal for him, more than honor or loyalty. And if there’s love on both sides, I think that’s what will make it feel impossible moreso than loyalty can.

  260. Ten Bears:
    Tron79,

    With Jon and Ygritte, they were thrown together with just the two of them for a number of episodes. There was a constant sexual cat and mouse game going on. So for me as a fan, I didn’t really buy Jon and Dany together, and that had a domino effect that wasn’t just one episode. Since I never really bought their relationship, I didn’t feel as much when Jon decided he had to kill Dany.

    I hear you. I was not invested in Jon & Dany’s “romance.” The difference? Ygritte & Jon developed through dialogue – the teasing, the banter, the arguing… It was more wordplay than sex play that made their romance believable – and her death heartbreaking. By contrast, Jon knocked on Dany’s door, she opened it, and then they started going at it without saying a word.

    I suppose there was source material to work with when scripting Jon & Ygritte?

    Yes there is definitely great source material with Jon and Ygritte in the books. I even liked Ygritte’s crooked teeth 🦷 in the books. She had some physical differences to Rose but still had that fiery red hair.

  261. Tron79: Yes there is definitely great source material with Jon and Ygritte in the books. I even liked Ygritte’s crooked teeth 🦷 in the books. She had some physical differences to Rose but still had that fiery red hair.

    I agree 🙂 And that even though Ygritte wasn’t pretty in a conventional sense, Jon found her prettier as he fell in love with her more.

    “At a lord’s court the girl would never have been considered anything but common, he knew. She had a round peasant face, a pug nose, and slightly crooked teeth, and her eyes were too far apart. Jon had noticed all that the first time he’d seen her, when his dirk had been at her throat. Lately, though, he was noticing some other things. When she grinned, the crooked teeth didn’t seem to matter. And maybe her eyes were too far apart, but they were a pretty blue-grey color, and lively as any eyes he knew. Sometimes she sang in a low husky voice that stirred him. And sometimes by the cookfire when she sat hugging her knees with the flames waking echoes in her red hair, and looked at him, just smiling… well, that stirred some things as well.”

  262. Adrianacandle: I agree 🙂 And that even though Ygritte wasn’t pretty in a conventional sense, Jon found her prettier as he fell in love with her more.

    Thanks for the quotes. I totally agree. These descriptions made Ygritte real and I could feel Jon falling in love with her. When GRRM would point out Ygritte’s crooked teeth several times it was almost a term of endearment.

  263. Tron79: Thanks for the quotes. I totally agree. These descriptions made Ygritte real and I could feel Jon falling in love with her. When GRRM would point out Ygritte’s crooked teeth several times it was almost a term of endearment.

    Yeah, or when Jon notices the warmth of Ygritte’s smile despite her crooked teeth 🙂 For me, that feels like even traits that aren’t considered so conventionally pretty fall away (or are made prettier) as one gets to know somebody for their character or spirit — like noticing Ygritte’s warmth or the way her hair lights up in firelight, despite it being a tangled mess.

  264. Part 1 of 2: Prelude and Disclaimer

    Musical Interlude
    Sansa Stark Dedication

    Caveat ⚠️

    Before I post the dedicated song, I thought I should disclose that it kind of relates to this scene in S8e4 which I found troubling:

    S8e4, Sansa & Sandor (2:11 long)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KfFU1YmxQW4

    —-
    I wrote about my perceptions a few days ago. Here are some excerpts:

    (on June 26, 2020 at 6:41 am):

    “I was turned off by Sansa’s speech to Sandor in S8e4, i.e., that she’d still be a little bird were it not for LF, Ramsey and all the abuse she had to endure. Many fans and critics are divided on this. I for one thought it played into a horrible and overused “rape made me a stronger person” cliche. I also find the notion of empowerment through suffering to be boneheaded and lazy. (Girls and women can evolve in ways other than through surviving torture and abuse.)…

    “My problem is that I think I may have found the perfect song for Sansa, but it plays into that trope I find offensive. Maybe it is not even my place to criticize it. If a woman sings about it, who am I to question it? …..”

    ———————————

    (on June 26, 2020 at 8:28 am):

    “I am not a shrink either. To me it’s common sense that enduring physical or emotional trauma is not a good thing. Surviving it and moving past it is laudable. Better to not have it happen at all.

    “I don’t know any women who’d say abuse was worth it, or that all in all it was a positive experience.

    “I have never heard an abuse survivor say she is thankful that it happened or else she’d still be naive and innocent. Unfortunately, that’s how I perceived Sansa’s dialogue in that scene….”

    [cont. in Part 2]

  265. Ten Bears,

    I was wondering… do you take suggestions for songs? (I don’t want to step on your toes! I have a suggestion for a song that might suit Sansa… but I don’t want to interfere! I really enjoy your musical interludes, I think they’re kind of like a musical education for me, and I think they say a lot about a person’s interpretation of a character in pretty unique and creative ways 🙂 )

  266. Part 2 of 2
    ⚠️ See “Disclaimer” in 1:18 am Comment

    Musical Interlude
    Dedication to Sansa Stark (S8e4 + S7e7)

    Christina Aguilera
    Fighter” (2002) music video

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

    ———
    “Fighter” (Live, 2010) 4:11 long

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RmR2OTC0gfA

    ————
    Lyrics – Excerpts

    🎼 ”Well I thought I knew you,
    thinkin’ that you were true.
    Guess I couldn’t trust,
    called your bluff, time is up,
    ‘Cause I’ve had enough.
    You were there by my side,
    always down for the ride,
    But your joyride just came down in flames,
    Because your greed sold me out of shame.🎶

    🎶”After all of the stealing and cheating,
    You probably think that I hold resentment for you,
    But oh no, you’re wrong
    Because if it wasn’t for all that you tried to do,
    I wouldn’t know just how capable I am to pull through.🎶
    So I want to say thank you, because it

    🎼 “Makes me that much stronger,
    Makes me work a little bit harder,
    It makes me that much wiser,
    So thanks for making me a fighter.
    Made me learn a little bit faster,
    Made my skin a little bit thicker,
    Makes me that much smarter,
    So thanks for making me a fighter.🎵

    🎶”Never saw it coming,
    All of your backstabbing,
    Just so you could cash in
    on a good thing before I realized your game.
    I heard you’re going around
    Playing the victim now
    But don’t even begin
    Feeling I’m the one to blame
    ‘Cause you dug your own grave. 🎶

    🎶”After all of the fights and the lies because you wanted to haunt me,
    But that won’t work anymore,
    No more, oh no, it’s over.
    ‘Cause if it wasn’t for all of your torture,
    I wouldn’t know how to be this way now,
    And never back down….
    ”🎵

  267. Adrianacandle:
    Tron79,

    Well, Jon still tried pleading with Dany, tried getting her to change her mind. Kit Harington explains in one of the DVD specials that, “Jon doesn’t know he’s going to betray Dany — until right at the end,” and that his decision to kill Dany was fueled by a number of reasons but that final thing that pushed him over was his sisters.

    I think this issue would have come to a head eventually and Jon would be forced to take action against Dany because I don’t think, under any circumstance, he can let her (or anyone) burn the world and not for the sake of loyalty or honor.

    I don’t think it was really a matter of loyalty vs. loyalty. Jon has been willing to break oaths before, commit taboos (break sacred guest right to kill Mance), forsake his own honor and commit betrayals — and for far less than what Dany did. I think Jon was balking because significant personal feeling figured into this — on both sides.

    Even if she agreed to spared his sisters, I think Jon would have had to kill Dany if she was determined to continue. I think the matter of Jon’s sisters forced the urgency of Jon’s choice and localized the issue but I think he really still had hope Dany’s mind could be changed. He wanted to believe the war was done, Dany had stopped, he wanted to find sense in Dany’s actions, that this was a one-time thing and she won’t do it again.

    However, when Jon saw Dany justifying her choices and her actions, he got more and more upset over the answers she was giving him. And he made his decision when he saw she wasn’t backing down.

    There might be tension Jon feels with this but I believe his final choice, the final test for his character, I think it needs to be more than that.

    Jon says in the books:

    And he’s often faced with choices of loyalty to his family vs. loyalty to the Watch often. But it’s love that makes the choice particularly brutal for him, more than honor or loyalty. And if there’s love on both sides, I think that’s what will make it feel impossible moreso than loyalty can.

    You make some good points as usual. I think a big part is that I just didn’t feel his love for Dany enough in the show. As I said the chemistry wasn’t there for me. I did feel Jon’s loyalty to his queen. After she lost her dragon to save him, Jon made his pledge to her. It felt more like loyalty than love. I suppose Jon Understood Dany’s speech enough to know she was planning on liberating Winterfell. And yes, Dany did not answer Jon’s questions to his liking but did he need to kill her? Was there a better way to accomplish the same goals?. He could have claimed his throne. He could have built up a decent size army. I’m not sure if Drogon would have killed him in battle. He was the rightful king of the 7 kingdoms and he never staked his claim. His birthright could have saved Dany’s life, but Jon didn’t want any part of it. I still think Arya could have done it. She could see clearly that Dany had to die and Jon would have been tortured by having to do it himself.

  268. Adrianacandle:
    Ten Bears,

    I was wondering… do you take suggestions for songs? (I don’t want to step on your toes! I have a suggestion for a song that might suit Sansa… but I don’t want to interfere! I really enjoy your musical interludes, I think they’re kind of like a musical education for me, and I think they say a lot about a person’s interpretation of a character in pretty unique and creative ways 🙂 )

    Oh sure! I’d love to take suggestions. The challenge I’ve found is to find the best audio quality videos on YouTube; plus I like to include a live performance as well.

    And I’m always up for a good song in any genre. If it can somehow relate to GoT, so much the better.

    P.S. I’ve got a more…lighthearted song dedication to Sansa. Maybe I should wait til tomorrow…

  269. Tron79,

    You make some good points as usual. I think a big part is that I just didn’t feel his love for Dany enough in the show. As I said the chemistry wasn’t there for me.

    And I think that’s understandable. As discussed before, chemistry is subjective and I don’t think there was enough time spent on them being a couple to make their relationship feel as weighty as it needed to before obstacle after obstacle started hitting them (it was a major obstacle each episode). I sort of felt the same way about Jon and Arya: Arya just felt like another sibling to Jon, not his most beloved sibling — even though D&D talk about Arya being Jon’s closest sibling in interviews.

    I did feel Jon’s loyalty to his queen. After she lost her dragon to save him, Jon made his pledge to her. It felt more like loyalty than love. I suppose Jon Understood Dany’s speech enough to know she was planning on liberating Winterfell.

    I felt that it was love more than loyalty induced him into make the decision, per the script direction, but that’s totally YMMV. It seemed to me a decision driven by emotion anyway.

    Yes, I think Jon did understand the Winterfell part but that wasn’t really enough to push him to a decision still and I think that’s more than loyalty because again, Jon was been willing forsake loyalty, honor, the whole gamut for less in the past. He came up with the plan to assassinate Mance himself, a man he liked, and commit a violation against sacred guest right (which is pretty serious). A big part of his arc is about defending the realms of men… and how that conflicts with love.

    Jon still tried making excuses for Dany, trying to find sense in her actions, when Tyrion was trying to open his eyes as to what Dany had become. And Jon was saying stuff like, “The war is over now.” I think Jon really had hope Dany was done.

    This line from the finale script:

    Jon: You can. You can forgive all of
    them. Make them see that they made a mistake. Make them understand.

    [Looking at her, his need to believe is almost overwhelming.]

    I don’t think he’d be willing to do this for many others, especially after they demolished a city (and still feel killing her wasn’t right) — particularly since Jon had far more easily forsaken his own honor, his loyalties, his own life, all to protect the realm.

    And yes, Dany did not answer Jon’s questions to his liking but did he need to kill her? Was there a better way to accomplish the same goals?. He could have claimed his throne. He could have built up a decent size army. I’m not sure if Drogon would have killed him in battle. He was the rightful king of the 7 kingdoms and he never staked his claim. His birthright could have saved Dany’s life, but Jon didn’t want any part of it.

    Considering Dany thought what she did was right and couldn’t see the problem with what she did and wanted to do (redefining death as liberation), I think the idea that this was Jon’s only option. Dany had all the power — a full-grown dragon, armies, she had Yara’s loyalty and the Iron Islanders — Dany can kind of do whatever she wants. She was legitimately queen via right-of-conquest. And I don’t think Drogon (or Dany’s armies) would stand for Dany being imprisoned. And Dany could easily imprison Jon and carry on her merry way, burning the rest of the world. I don’t think the North would be able to match her.

    I still think Arya could have done it. She could see clearly that Dany had to die and Jon would have been tortured by having to do it himself.

    Personally, while I would have preferred that, I think her assassination was supposed to be a point of conflict. Arya really wouldn’t have much of a conflict — well, perhaps beyond the way it would impact Jon. But I don’t know if that’s enough?

    In some ways, and as much as I hope theories are true that this won’t be happening in the books, I think there are bits of foreshadowing hinting at this, like the nightmares Jon has of Ygritte:

    Last night he had dreamed of Sam drowning, of Ygritte dying with his arrow in her (it had not been his arrow, but in his dreams it always was), of Gilly weeping tears of blood.

    And I wonder if this is setting up Jon killing Dany -_-

  270. Ten Bears: Oh sure! I’d love to take suggestions. The challenge I’ve found is to find the best audio quality videos on YouTube; plus I like to include a live performance as well.

    And I’m always up for a good song in any genre. If it can somehow relate to GoT, so much the better.

    P.S. I’ve got a more…lighthearted song dedication to Sansa. Maybe I should wait til tomorrow…

    It’s a Broadway show song…. but what about Green Finch and Linnett Bird from Sweeney Todd? Has a bird and cage motif 🙂

  271. Ten Bears,

    Here’s another version of the same song (but it seems to be a different version, a longer version with more lyrics added).

    However, the audio isn’t great on this one (it seems to be a home recording without specialized audio equipment), resulting in the high notes playing as pretty piercing without proper recording equipment (the singer is very talented but her voice goes beyond the recording device’s capabilities).

  272. Adrianacandle,

    That’s a pretty song! I actually liked the second version better than the soundtrack album version.

    It’s also got some lyrics with a Sansa & Sandor night of the Battle of Blackwater vibe…

    🎵Have you decided it’s
    Safer in cages,
    Singing when you’re told?
    🦢

  273. Ten Bears: That’s a pretty song! I actually liked the second version better than the soundtrack album version.

    It’s also got some lyrics with a Sansa & Sandor night of the Battle of Blackwater vibe…

    🎵Have you decided it’s
    Safer in cages,
    Singing when you’re told? 🦢

    Yeah! And I prefer the second version too — it’s just the audio quality that sucks. However, I prefer the way it’s sung and I think it has a bit more emotion in it.

    On the other hand, the soundtrack version sounds more like what I’d imagine Sansa’s voice to be. She sounds a bit younger, sweeter.

    (I love Sweeney Todd’s songs in general — but I am a sucker for musicals 🙁 I spent 6 months remaking Glinda’s costume from Wicked and wore it out in freezing cold Banff weather.)

  274. Adrianacandle,

    ”Jon still tried making excuses for Dany, trying to find sense in her actions, when Tyrion was trying to open his eyes as to what Dany had become.”

    F*ckin’ Tyrion. What’d he say during his “confession” at the Vale? Something like: “I’m not good at violence, but I’m good at having other people do violence for me.”

  275. Ten Bears: F*ckin’ Tyrion. What’d he say during his “confession” at the Vale? Something like: “I’m not good at violence, but I’m good at having other people do violence for me.”

    Well… ultimately, Tyrion did get to live thanks to Dany being assassinated…

    (But I’d like to add his Vale “confession” scene to my list of favourite moments — and Catelyn’s reactions)

  276. Adrianacandle,

    Correction to previous post:

    * (But I’d like to add his Vale “confession” scene to my list of favourite moments — and *Bronn’s reactions)

  277. Ten Bears,

    Tron79,

    Off topic: While looking for the interview in which Maisie Williams mentions watching Jenna Marbles, I just came across this new interview (as of a day ago) with her about the new TV series she’ll be starring in that I’d think you guys would like to see 🙂

    No GoT stuff but some answers about how she’d fare as a survivalist and doing her own stunts.

  278. Adrianacandle,

    Argh! The linked site with the Maisie Williams interview has one of those “Accept Cookies” pop ups obscuring the page.

    I’ll have to wait until the interview appears elsewhere. I’ve been following the progress of Maisie’s new series, “Two Weeks to Live.” From the trailer posted a couple of months, it looks like it’s going to be fun.

    Only problem: Last time I checked, it will only be airing on SkyTV, and not in the U.S.

  279. “Way way back in 1999, when I was deep in the writing of A STORM OF
    SWORDS, I was averaging about 150 pages of manuscript a month. I fear I
    shall never recapture that pace again. ” –George RR Martin (georgerrmartin.com) –Not-A-Blog, “Writing, Reading, Writing”, June 23, 2020.

    Yeah…and whose fault is that?!

  280. Ten Bears: + Clip #2 S4e8 (1:07 long)
    Sansa appears at top of the stairs with sexy new look. LF geeks out. (at 0:37 – 1:07):
    Sansa: “Shall we go?”

    I think this is a great scene. When I first saw it, I was so excited!

  281. Tron79,

    The de-characterization of Jon Snow in the show is huge and it resulted in painting season 8 Jon Snow in bleak colors (before that the character was salvageable).

    Book Jon Snow didn’t sleep with Ygritte because he loved her, or because he couldn’t resist her, but because he was asked by Mance to display his loyalty; Ygritte stepped in, declared that she was sleeping with him for saving him from being executed as traitor to the Free Folk. They both lie that they sleep together and Jon that night truly does it because otherwise he’d blow his cover. He even thinks he was framed -or sth like that- and he was kind of angry and uncomfortable that he had to do it -he considers himself to be an oathbreaker and a turncloak but he never wavers as to where he belonged (hence his “happy exile” in 8.6 makes absolutely no sense). He stays with the Freefolk and enjoys Ygritte’s graces and the cave, which comes later (unlike the show where it was their first “romantic” time) while all the time he thinks of how to leave without dying; he never stops contemplating about it. Ygritte’s savage insticts and warlike nature are appaling to Jon and no matter how he’d like it to be otherwise, Ygritte would say something to remind him “of the wall between their worlds”. He wants to save her, but he knows she’s going to die if she attacks Castle Black. He suspects the arrow he got in the leg was hers, but he wasn’t even around when she died in CB and he didn’t see her die. Yes, he came to “love” her after they started sleeping together but that’s affection coming from s*x, not the other way round. He thinks that “it was wrong to love her, wrong to leave her”, because with the first he broke his vows, and with the second he could have saved her if he stayed with her. Jon’s first instinct is to save people, and this applies to Ygritte as well, and the line “he was wrong to love her, wrong to leave her” encapsulates his guilt, not his love (that’s my book reading). It’s hardly the epic romance displayed on screen.

    In the books it seems to be a preparation for Daenerys. Will Jon fall for another lady with violent instincts? Rather not, otherwise he’d really have learned nothing at all. Book readers and show watchers who want these both to be epic romances are swayed, I think, by the screen adaptation that didn’t know exactly what to do with the heros/villains of the story because they are so grey in the books.

    With Jon, they did another “mistake”, namely, they didn’t show on screen Jon’s refusal to Stannis “Winterfell belongs to my sister Sansa”. Not because of the partiallity it shows to Sansa -it doesn’t, at this point Jon believes his brothers are all dead- but because it shows, once again, his weakness for his family. Jon thinks that his little brothers stand to inherit Winterfell, Robb, Bran and Rickon, and then come the girls, Sansa and Arya, and he decides that he can’t take that away from them. The book will explore his attachment to the Starks much better, but I think -this is my opinion only- there won’t be much wavering when it comes to Dany. Daenerys shall be Jon’s duty because he will have pledged to her, and his family shall be his love. He even dies for FArya, so how is it to be expected that he will ever betray his family following Dany blindly? Ignoring his abhorrence for fire and what it does to people? Book Jon will never defend Dany for wiping out an entire city by sowing fire above their heads, neither will he discuss it, with Tyrion or with Dany. “Yes, honey, you just murdered half a million innocents; let’s forget all about it now, shall we? Let’s put the dragon to rest, he’s done enough”. Sorry, that’s a bad soap.

    I do believe though that they were going for a more complicated story in seasons 7-8. In the original plans two scenes were cut: Daenerys ordering Jon to come to her room after the council in 7.7, which takes away Jon’s agency (she’s a queen, he was laid down his crown) and her lamenting about the killing of Viseryon by his bed, which showed that she didn’t care to fight for the North, she wanted revenge from the NK for her dragon -hence Jon lays his crown on her lap realizing that this queen needs more swaying for fighting for them, for securing her help.
    Deleting these two scenes was a game-changer for the “epic” romance. First, because the audience understood that Daenerys “sacrificed” her dragon (everyone conveniently forgot that it was her resistance to help the North in the first place that caused the Wall to fall) and that she was that selfless person the audience perceived her to be (despite the distrurbing “burn them all” proclamations throughout GoT), and second, that Jon was so “in love” and swayed by the “sacrifice” that he actually did resign from office (inexplicably after she has pledged to fight for them), thereby betraying the North and his siblings; in fact, it was he who visited her in her room, because he was in love, not because he was a subject who was ordered by the queen. [the first planned sequence was she laments her dragon’s death-he lays down his crown-she promises to fight for them]
    I think that these changes happened late in season 7. Perhaps even the scenes were filmed and deleted pretty much like Cersei’s miscarriage that doesn’t exist in any DVD or on the internet.
    The problem was that the rest of the story stayed pretty much as it was.

    Would the guy who pointed out office by election against hereditary right deliver his title just because he was so “in love”? Wouldn’t he at least discuss it with the lords? And why would he say to the lords in 8.1 that it was “his crown or the North” when on screen so such dilemma existed?
    Loving the wrong woman (I remind Jaimie-Cersei, Robb-Talisa/Jeyne Westerling, Tyrion/Shae) amounts to nothing, it’s just something to be repeated by another protagonist? Are male figures of GoT/ASoIaF really that dumb? Loving the wrong woman over and over and over and over? [if it is so, then no wonder Westeros ends up being ruled by a woman and the 3ER; others are not to be trusted]
    Does Jon’s threat to Melisandre for the burning of Shireen mean nothing? He’d still fall in love for one with such violent instincts -such as those he experienced on the beach of Dragonstone (she threatens silently to burn KL and threatens Tyrion’s family)- forgetting his aversion to unnecessary violence?
    Would the guy whose’s weakness for Sansa as established in three (!) scenes (I remind “I’ll protect you I promise” scene, beating Ramsay’s head to a pulp, choking LF) feel conflicted about killing one who has been threatening Sansa in each and every episode of season 8?

    Hence, imho, this was no romance (or I’ll burn all my Jane Austen books). It was ambivalent at best, failed attempt at worse, depending on the viewer’s perception of the on-screen adaptation. I don’t believe that there will be a romance in the books (but there will probably be some s*x).

  282. Ten Bears,
    Tron79,

    I am still confused about Dany’s motivations and state of mind when she suddenly went on a carpet bombing rampage after the city had already surrendered.

    Back to “The Bells” episode again, I was confused when I first saw it, because I didn’t get why she didn’t go straight for the Red Keep. I totally understood that she wasn’t going to let Cersei get away with it, but I didn’t understand why she did a serpentine maneuver burning down everyone on the streets along the way.
    In the end, I had to take this as more strategic than rage. D&D seemed to indicate in the behind the scenes that it was a tipping point for Dany. But to me, I heard her saying that she needed people to fear her and mercy would not be her weakness.

    Earlier in S8 — I can’t remember exactly which episode — when Dany is discussing options, she says outright that she doesn’t want her enemies to think they’ll be able to hide behind human shields.

    Later, she gives Cersei the choice to surrender, making it clear that she will do some very nasty things if Cersei refuses. Either ignoring Dany’s threat or deliberately calling her bluff, Cersei refuses to surrender, and she immediately carries out her own threat by beheading Dany’s best friend.

    So, Dany’s decision to nuke KL is strategic. It was a deterrent to future enemies intending to use human shields. And for the sake of her own credibility, she also had to follow through on the threat she’d made to Cersei.

    Dany had exhibited psychopathy during a series of escalating incidents in the story, right from the start. But she didn’t nuke KL because she was psychotic, delusional, or generally insane. She was none of those things *at that specific point in time*. It was the cognitive dissonance caused by the act of committing genocide that finally pushed her sanity over the edge, because her horrific actions completely contradicted her self-image of being a fundamentally “good” person. So she was indeed visibly psychotic, delusional, and yes insane *after* nuking KL. Along with torching the city, Dany ended up torching her sanity too, with her own hands.

  283. I’d like to recommend a couple of recent TV shows starring GoT alumni:

    + “Gangs of London” is basically a mixture of the Godfather movies and some incredible Bourne-style action scenes. Really gripping and entertaining stuff if you like this sort of thing. Billionaire global crime syndicates and so on. It has an ensemble cast, but Michelle Fairley and Lucian Msamati (Salladhor Saan) are two of the main characters. They’re pretty meaty roles and the characters are, shall we say, quite different to Catelyn and Salladhor. The charismatic Msamati’s role in particular is much bigger than it was on GoT; as expected, the guy is fantastic here.

    You’ll also recognise David Bradley (Walder Frey) and Ian Beattie (Meryn Trant) in roles that are smaller but still play important parts in the story.

    I was a bit sceptical during the first two episodes, but from Ep3 it really takes off. It’s very cinematic from that point too; very picturesque London skyscrapers, luxury mansions etc. Some really unpredictable plot twists as well. Also keep in mind that the storyline isn’t entirely linear; events in some episodes are supposed to occur in parallel with things that already happened in previous episodes (including important characters that you may have only briefly glimpsed earlier), so you’ll have to stay really focused.

    Keeping this spoiler-free: GoT fans will recognise one particular scene later on that has some interesting “tweaks”.

    Some viewers have complained that aspects of the show are unrealistic. However, if you’ve read about real-life international crime syndicates operating in London, a lot of the things portrayed in the show are actually true to life (disturbing as that may be). Some of the shocking killings depicted in the show also happened to real-life shady crime-linked financiers/businessmen in London in recent years.

    The show recently finished its first season run in Britain; it’s available on Sky, so I’m not sure how those of you overseas will be able to see it, but I definitely recommend it if it ever becomes available there.

    + SyFy’s “Project Blue Book” is great fun for sci-fi fans. Aiden Gillen is one of the two main leads. It’s initially jarring seeing “Littlefinger” in a very different incarnation, but you get used to it. The show is a dramatised version of the real-life Blue Book initiative, and the primary regular cast is based on real people (albeit with some aspects obviously modified). It’s much harder-edged than you’d expect. There’s a distinct pre-Mad Men “noir” vibe too (it’s set in the early 50s). Acting, production values, cinematography etc are all really good. Plenty of charismatic regulars, especially the guy playing the other main lead. It’s pretty good from the start, but Season 2 is noticeably better in all aspects. And again without wishing to give away any spoilers, you’ll find yourself grinning and nodding approvingly when a certain real-life historical figure suddenly turns up near the end of Season 2. The show cleverly begins to hint at links to other alleged real-life conspiracies.

    The show hasn’t been renewed by its current network — because they’ve decided to focus on other things, not because there were any issues with ratings/audience numbers or the quality — but S3 will probably turn up on Netflix or Amazon or something if all goes well.

  284. Jai:
    Ten Bears,
    Tron79,

    Earlier in S8 — I can’t remember exactly which episode — when Dany is discussing options, she says outright that she doesn’t want her enemies to think they’ll be able to hide behind human shields.

    Later, she gives Cersei the choice to surrender, making it clear that she will do some very nasty things if Cersei refuses. Either ignoring Dany’s threat or deliberately calling her bluff, Cersei refuses to surrender, and she immediately carries out her own threat by beheading Dany’s best friend.

    So, Dany’s decision to nuke KL is strategic. It was a deterrent to future enemies intending to use human shields. And for the sake of her own credibility, she also had to follow through on the threat she’d made to Cersei.

    Dany had exhibited psychopathy during a series of escalating incidents in the story, right from the start. But she didn’t nuke KL because she was psychotic, delusional, or generally insane. She was none of those things *at that specific point in time*. It was the cognitive dissonance caused by the act of committing genocide that finally pushed her sanity over the edge, because her horrific actions completely contradicted her self-image of being a fundamentally “good” person. So she was indeed visibly psychotic, delusional, and yes insane *after* nuking KL. Along with torching the city, Dany ended up torching her sanity too, with her own hands.

    I find your analysis thought provoking when you said, “It was the cognitive dissonance caused by the act of committing genocide that finally pushed her sanity over the edge, because her horrific actions completely contradicted her self-image of being a fundamentally “good” person.”

    I agree that her actions were strategic and were setup by the scenes you mentioned. I hadn’t thought of her going over the edge because of the genocide she committed. I think most people have said said she went over the edge in a fit of rage and then committed the genocide. From my prior posts you know I don’t really agree with them. I’m not sure if I totally agree she every went over the edge at all. I think she began to believe in her own propaganda that she was the god figure and she knew what was best for everyone. I felt she was embracing her true fire and blood, and she truly believed she knew what was best for the everyone. Your interpretation is more hopeful that she had some humanity left in her. I do like the idea that it put her over the edge to see what kind of person she had become.

  285. Adrianacandle,

    In reply to one of your comments about Jon breaking his oath, it made me think of Ned not taking Renly up on his offer to overthrow Cersei. Book Jon has a way to justify his actions to break his vows. Why couldn’t Ned have had the same flexibility? When Renly offered to take overthrow Cersei, Ned just needed an advisor to tell him,

    “Just make it clear with Renly that he is just a placeholder and that he will give up his throne to Stannis once Stannis returns”.

    Of course Ned would know Renly may never actually give up his throne, but it would take Ned’s honor off the hook if Renly agreed to it. Without giving away spoilers in the book, Jon was thinking he wasn’t violating his vows because of an idea that Melisandre put in his head. It was just a different way of thinking about it that made it OK in his head.

    I’ll check back and respond more later. Gotta get off the computer for now…

  286. Jai,

    Tron79,

    Jai: Earlier in S8 — I can’t remember exactly which episode — when Dany is discussing options, she says outright that she doesn’t want her enemies to think they’ll be able to hide behind human shields.

    Are you thinking of the 8×04 war council scene? I think her exact quote is: “The longer I leave my enemies alone, the stronger they become.”

    I think she didn’t want to wait any longer before setting up her own attack, afraid Cersei would be accumulating power while she and her forces recovered from the battle against the dead.

    For my part, I didn’t get the impression that Dany’s decision to burn KL was strategic (especially based on what D&D said about her decision being spontaneous). It seems to me she had built up all this stuff inside her (from what she had to endure growing up as a result of having to live in exile, on the run from Robert’s assassins, and feeling the throne and the Red Keep were taken from her family — to all of the recent losses she’s experienced), part of her snapped, and she went to town on the city, taking it out on everything and everyone she could see.

    However, I do like this idea of cognative dissonance and the act of genocide pushing her sanity over and maybe that could be how her motives transition into her delusional belief that what she had done was good…

  287. Tron79,

    In reply to one of your comments about Jon breaking his oath, it made me think of Ned not taking Renly up on his offer to overthrow Cersei. Book Jon has a way to justify his actions to break his vows.

    In the books, I don’t think Renly makes Ned that offer. I think that’s a show-only thing. Renly is out of town by the time Ned fudged Robert’s will and revealed to Cersei that he knows the truth about Joffrey, Mrycella, and Tommen. The next morning, Ned calls the small council together to reveal the contents of Robert’s will: that he [Ned] is to act of regent until Robert’s heir comes of age. After this, they confront Cersei with Robert’s will, who tears it up.

    Or are you talking about the show?

    With Jon, I think he has more flexibility than Ned. He wants to be honorable but it’s not the most important thing to him. I don’t think Jon always had a way of justifying going against his vows in the book, he feels it pretty heavily and in his mind, knows he’s viewed as an oathbreaker and a turncloak as a result of undertaking the mission Qhorin Halfhand ordered him to in infiltrating the wildlings. And I think he sort of internalized it:

    Bastard children were born from lust and lies, men said; their nature was wanton and treacherous. Once Jon had meant to prove them wrong, to show his lord father that he could be as good and true a son as Robb. I made a botch of that. Robb had become a hero king; if Jon was remembered at all, it would be as a turncloak, an oathbreaker, and a murderer. He was glad that Lord Eddard was not alive to see his shame.

    But in relation to helping out Stannis, yes, I think there was some justification there but he knew he was treading in muddy waters:

    The Night’s Watch takes no part, a voice said, but another replied, Stannis fights for the realm, the ironmen for thralls and plunder.

    With Arya, I think there was more of a struggle. Jon initially resisted helping Arya — much to his own anguish — because his vows demanded he put aside his blood kin but when Melisandre makes him that offer (he can keep his oath by allowing her to send Mance to rescue his sister), it was an offer Jon couldn’t resist.

    A choice that ultimately led to Jon’s downfall, risking the tenuous peace he forged at the Wall, and everything he’d done to prepare the defense of the realm against the Others… 🙂

  288. Jai,

    Thanks for the suggestions, views, and write-ups!!

    I’ve been watching Snowpiercer on Netflix and while it’s received mixed reviews so far, I’ve been really enjoying it (I look forward to it on Monday nights when I let myself get a small thin-crust pizza from Dominoes because it’s 50% off Mondays!). It stars Jennifer Connelly and I’ve been finding a lot of the plots pretty intriguing.

    For those unfamiliar with the premise of Snowpiercer: it’s a post-apocalyptic dystopian series (was also a 2013 movie and a 1982 graphic novel). From Wikipedia: “[it] follows the passengers of the Snowpiercer, a gigantic, perpetually moving train that circles the globe carrying the remnants of humanity seven years after the world becomes a frozen wasteland. The series questions class warfare, social injustice, and the politics of survival.”

    And I love dystopian series 🙂 I’d recommend giving it a try!

  289. I have a laptop which works now. Let’s hope I don’t do anything daft like I did with its predecessor (which I dropped). I’m a bit zonked out after a zoom meeting now but will probably return when I’m more alert and therefore more able to make an appropriate comment. Adriana, in the UK I feel as though I’m LIVING in a dystopian novel at present.

    Second edit – I put ‘it’s’ instead of ‘its’ at first. King Stannis would not approve.

  290. Dame of Mercia:
    I have a laptop which works now. Let’s hope I don’t do anything daft like I did with its predecessor (which I dropped).I’m a bit zonked out after a zoom meeting now but will probably return when I’m more alert and therefore more able to make an appropriate comment.Adriana,in the UK I feel as though I’m LIVING in a dystopian novel at present.

    Second edit – I put ‘it’s’ instead of ‘its’ at first.King Stannis would not approve.

    Living in a dystopian novel — that doesn’t sound promising 🙁

    As to your laptop troubles, you’ll find yourself in good company with me (and I believe I’ve made enough typos in this thread to make a good sized post on their own!). My dad doesn’t call me ‘Tasha the Destroyer’ for nothing (I’ve broken many laptops, many phones. He says electronics quiver in fear when they feel my presence looking…)

    Have a good rest!! 🙂

  291. Jai,

    Great comment. I’ve always felt burning KL was a conscious strategic move (this does not exclude that emotions can bear on decisions), but I was perplexed by the delusional “free the world” next stance. I really like your idea.

  292. Jai,

    + “Gangs of London” is basically a mixture of the Godfather movies and some incredible Bourne-style action scenes.

    Something for fellow Brits here: The show has some aspects of “Line of Duty” too, but with bigger implications and handled much better than LoD’s recent drop in quality.

  293. Tron79,

    I think most people have said said she went over the edge in a fit of rage and then committed the genocide. From my prior posts you know I don’t really agree with them.

    I don’t agree with them either. Immediately before Dany began torching the city, she was shown as obviously struggling with the decision to pull the trigger.

    It’s clear enough on the show, but I’m sure this will be much clearer in the books, as with much else.

    I think she began to believe in her own propaganda that she was the god figure and she knew what was best for everyone. I felt she was embracing her true fire and blood, and she truly believed she knew what was best for the everyone.

    Exactly right…but what’s being described here is classic “Malignant Narcissism”, a major psychiatric illness with significant psychopathic aspects.

    Adrianacandle,

    Are you thinking of the 8×04 war council scene? I think her exact quote is: “The longer I leave my enemies alone, the stronger they become.”

    It was one of those scenes, but that’s not the quote I was referring to. Dany pointedly says something about how she has no intention of letting her adversaries hide behind the civilian population. It’s a jarring statement because in hindsight it foreshadows exactly what Dany ends up doing to KL.

    AnnOther,

    Great comment. I’ve always felt burning KL was a conscious strategic move (this does not exclude that emotions can bear on decisions), but I was perplexed by the delusional “free the world” next stance. I really like your idea.

    Well, it all makes perfect sense, and in terms of real-world human psychology and behaviour it’s very accurate.

  294. One final point. As has been mentioned upthread, Dany’s POV chapters in the books depict her enemies as “cartoonishly evil”. The key thing here — even more so when you bear in mind Dany’s narcissism and latent psychopathy — is that Dany is an “unreliable narrator” in this context. Her adversaries in those chapters are not necessarily the way she perceives them to be at all.

    Assuming GRRM gets around to completing the final books, a writing “trick” he could use as we hurtle towards the climax is POV chapters involving (for example) Tyrion, Jon and Dany in exactly the same locations/situations and showing how much Dany’s perspective is distorted compared to the other two characters (especially during the attack on KL). It would be interesting stuff, especially as Dany’s psychological problems escalate, but potentially very dark too.

  295. I don’t think that we have to choose between emotional decision and conscious strategic move, because it was both.

    She said “let it be fear” which means she will rule using fear and terror, and we know that burnig cities and castles was always an option for her.

    But it is also clear that she was in a very bad emotional and mental state and that she would probably never make such a move if all those horrible things didn’t happen. Benioff himself said that.

  296. Ten Bears: “Tasha the Destroyer,” huh.

    (*Begins search for musical tributes*)

    😀 😀 😀 😀 :D!!!!!!!

    (*computer fan whirrs in trepidation*)

    :D!!!

  297. Jai,

    It was one of those scenes, but that’s not the quote I was referring to. Dany pointedly says something about how she has no intention of letting her adversaries hide behind the civilian population. It’s a jarring statement because in hindsight it foreshadows exactly what Dany ends up doing to KL.

    Ok! I can’t quite recall a scene in which Dany said she wouldn’t let her adversaries hide behind civilians but I’ll keep thinking/looking.

    One final point. As has been mentioned upthread, Dany’s POV chapters in the books depict her enemies as “cartoonishly evil”. The key thing here — even more so when you bear in mind Dany’s narcissism and latent psychopathy — is that Dany is an “unreliable narrator” in this context. Her adversaries in those chapters are not necessarily the way she perceives them to be at all.

    I hesitate to comment on real-world psychiatric disorders because I’m not formally educated in these areas so I could be wrong here. I’ll try to step cautiously into this arena (if there are any trained experts on this board, please correct me where I’m making inaccurate statements) As far as I know, as a layman, two traits of such disorders are lack of empathy and remorse as well as a tendency to lie. I don’t think these are true of Dany as she has demonstrated empathy, remorse, reflection, self-doubt (particularly in the books) and she doesn’t make it a habit to lie. Even with the show, D&D say this about Dany in Inside the Episode for 4×05:

    Dan Weiss: She’s driven by a kind of a deep empathy — a much deeper empathy than probably anybody else on the show. It’s something that makes her as charismatic as she is to people because they can sense the sincerity of it. Her empathy allows her to look at the people of Westeros and say ‘Why the hell would they ever follow me if I haven’t proven myself through my actions to be somebody worth following? Why would they let me rule if I hadn’t proven myself to be someone who has ruled well somewhere else?

    As a result, I don’t know if characterizing Dany as a psychopath would be quite accurate (but I don’t want to armchair diagnose because I don’t have formal training in this area).

    And could others be unreliable narrators too in their own chapters?

    Assuming GRRM gets around to completing the final books, a writing “trick” he could use as we hurtle towards the climax is POV chapters involving (for example) Tyrion, Jon and Dany in exactly the same locations/situations and showing how much Dany’s perspective is distorted compared to the other two characters (especially during the attack on KL). It would be interesting stuff, especially as Dany’s psychological problems escalate, but potentially very dark too.

    For my part, I think this would feel like a bit of a cheat to use a trick like this but I say that cautiously. It’s an interesting scenario you’re proposing but I’d rather this not be a “gotcha” scenario (if I’m understanding you correctly here).

  298. Adrianacandle,

    I do think D&D said things in inside the episode that are there to not spoil the show. I mean Benioff said that Dany will never be like her father, or something like that, and we know that wasn’t true.
    It’s interesting that they never talked about crucifixion of Masters in 4×04. Or her scene with Hizdahr in 4×06.

    They wanted to keep people in the dark.

  299. mau: I do think D&D said things in inside the episode that are there to not spoil the show. I mean Benioff said that Dany will never be like her father, or something like that, and we know that wasn’t true.
    It’s interesting that they never talked about crucifixion of Masters in 4×04. Or her scene with Hizdahr in 4×06.

    They wanted to keep people in the dark.

    But they also didn’t have to say these things, especially if they wanted to foreshadow and build up a path piece by piece to burning KL, even if it wasn’t obvious to most viewers. They could have not have said this at all and discussed the difficulties of conquering vs. ruling (challenges Dany was indeed facing) instead of calling Dany one of the most empathetic characters.

    Plus, in the books, Dany does feel genuine empathy and genuine remorse.

    I feel the problem with this argument is (not wanting to spoil the show, wanting to surprise us) is that I think it contradicts the idea that these things were properly foreshadowed and built up (asking viewers why they were surprised… if the idea was to surprise us?)

  300. mau:
    Adrianacandle,

    I do think D&D said things in inside the episode that are there to not spoil the show. I mean Benioff said that Dany will never be like her father, or something like that, and we know that wasn’t true.
    It’s interesting that they never talked about crucifixion of Masters in 4×04. Or her scene with Hizdahr in 4×06.

    They wanted to keep people in the dark.

    And let’s not forget all those misleading statements how Sansa will be likely plotting against Jon in S7… then they had like two scenes and nothing more but clash of stubborn opinions that didn’t really “damage” their relationship.

  301. mau:
    Adrianacandle,

    Yeah. I will research about that.

    But I do think this is a huge problem. They have this sense of power that is very dangerous. You would be shocked to see how many people still think that last season will be remade.

    We created a culture where if you whine enough online, if you review bomb games, shows and movies, write petitions and just in general create a lot of noise you will get what you want.

    And the biggest problem, these people lie all the time. And some of these lies are now accepted as truths and you can’t even debate them anymore.

    So when I see even this place turned into whine fest sometimes it is disappointing. Because no matter how respectful you are or nice or whatever I just don’t want to her D&D BAD no matter how eloquent or respectful it is.

    It’s been more than a year. It’s enough.

    This, this SO much! Complete summary why I actively avoid fandoms. Nothing, absolutely nothing healthy comes out of dwelling on negativity in my opinion.

  302. Erik, formerly Lord Parramandas: And let’s not forget all those misleading statements how Sansa will be likely plotting against Jon in S7… then they had like two scenes and nothing more but clash of stubborn opinions that didn’t really “damage” their relationship.

    I don’t recall D&D saying Sansa would be plotting against Jon, I think they said there’d be a hint of conflict and tension in their relationship — and there was. This was discussed in the commentary for 7×01:

    Jeremy Podeswa: Well, I think what’s great about these scenes too is that they give opportunities for these little character moments and there and also these scenes push the story forward in a very fundamental way so you’re tracking so many different things from out of last season and watching them progress into this new season. So chiefly here is the dynamic between Sansa and Jon and what’s going on between them and this slight power play and uh, a slight sort of questioning of Jon’s authority as King in the North.

    Gwendoline Christie: Well, it’s interesting as well, it’s a sibling relationship. To see that power shifting and to see that power shifting with a woman as well who’s younger. Often in those kinds of relationships, there’s often a sort of murderous quality hidden somewhere deeply in brother-sister relationships and I think it’s illustrated very well here.

    Likewise, there is tension between them with Jon being King in the North. From the script direction for 7×05 (via Vanity Fair):

    When Arya accuses Sansa of trying to placate the Northern lords to ensure they are on her side, the script explains: “Arya is right. She knows it. We know it. Sansa knows it.” Later, Sansa gets genuinely enraged by her sister’s constant accusations: “Now she grows angry, and when Sansa gets angry a steeliness enters her tone.” None of these fights are for Baelish’s benefit.

    It’s there. D&D weren’t lying about that. I think some fans sort of took this to mean there would be more of a Starkbowl thing though.

  303. mau: They didn’t, but they clear did these things to keep audience in the dark. There are a lot of examples there.

    Yeah, I think that feels a bit too contradictory for them to do if they’re supposed to be creating this path for her piece by piece if they were scripting Dany to be a psychopath and I don’t think they were. Then they’re blatantly contradicting their own efforts and I don’t think 1) that’s what they’re doing or 2) that’d be very good writing. This sounds a little too conspiracy-theory to me (again, if they were scripting Dany as a psychopath).

    I think they can still build up to Dany’s decision to burn KL without characterizing her as a psychopath, particularly since she does have the ability to feel empathy and remorse and, per their own words, intended for this decision on Dany’s part to be spontaneous Not planned.

    Plus, Dany having empathy is a characterization she has in the books as well so I don’t think that’s out of left field.

  304. Erik, formerly Lord Parramandas: This, this SO much! Complete summary why I actively avoid fandoms. Nothing, absolutely nothing healthy comes out of dwelling on negativity in my opinion.

    I don’t see anyone “dwelling on negativity” here. I see people respectfully and enthusiastically discussing why they weren’t entirely sold on the ending. There’s nothing wrong with that. However, I do see something wrong with stifling respectful opinion simply because you disagree.

    I also recall you previously stating on this very website that none of the commentators here deserved to be a GoT Fan because you didn’t think anyone was enthusiastic enough. It was basically a giant middle finger to everyone here. Those comments are part of the problem. Hopefully you realize that.

  305. Adrianacandle: I don’t recall D&D saying Sansa would be plotting against Jon, I think they said there’d be a hint of conflict and tension in their relationship — and there was. This was discussed in the commentary for 7×01:

    Likewise, there is tension between them with Jon being King in the North. From the script direction for 7×05 (via Vanity Fair):

    It’s there. D&D weren’t lying about that. I think some fans sort of took this to mean there would be more of a Starkbowl thing though.

    I remember various interviews from post-S6 about what Sansa was supposed to feel during Jon’s coronation scene and implications she’ll crave for more “power” in S7… I don’t remember the details though and I know several of those were from Sophie so yes, maybe the fandom took those interviews more seriously than it was meant to but I remember that that was a period when I started to kind of drift away from WotW because I was feeling the fandom was kind of splitting up… or maybe I was just lucky that during S6, the fandom didn’t seem split to me. No idea… it’s been a while.

  306. Adrianacandle,

    Also something I remember from before S8… but again not sure whether it was from Kit or the producers or somebody else. THere was this interview how Jon won’t be bothered by incest element in his relationship with Dany… but when he did realize of them being related, it played a big part.

  307. Erik, formerly Lord Parramandas: I remember various interviews from post-S6 about what Sansa was supposed to feel during Jon’s coronation scene and implications she’ll crave for more “power” in S7… I don’t remember the details though and I know several of those were from Sophie so yes, maybe the fandom took those interviews more seriously than it was meant to but I remember that that was a period when I started to kind of drift away from WotW because I was feeling the fandom was kind of splitting up… or maybe I was just lucky that during S6, the fandom didn’t seem split to me. No idea… it’s been a while.

    I think season 7 had scenes which did touch on Sansa’s feelings that she’d rather be Queen in the North instead of Jon being chosen on king (Arya confronts her about this in 7×05 and Sansa expresses frustration that she won the Battle of the Bastards, not Jon, and she won back Winterfell. She’s also unhappy with most of Jon’s decisions and feels he’s not really listening to her as much as she’d prefer). However, yes, I think the fandom kind of took those comments from D&D about tension and conflict existing in their relationship (which I think lasts until the end. Jon doesn’t really forgive Sansa for betraying his trust) and ran with them, anticipating a full-blown Starkbowl. This is something the book fandom speculates too, although I have my reservations about this 🙂

  308. Adrianacandle,

    ” With Arya, I think there was more of a struggle. Jon initially resisted helping Arya — much to his own anguish — because his vows demanded he put aside his blood kin but when Melisandre makes him that offer (he can keep his oath by allowing her to send Mance to rescue his sister), it was an offer Jon couldn’t resist.”

    Out of curiosity, someday I would really like to know why the showrunners jettisoned the Jon & Arya relationship that seemed to be established and nurtured in the books, even when they were physically apart.

    The S1e2 scene of Jon giving Needle to Arya, and Arya leaping into his arms as they say goodbye, was faithfully adapted from the books and so beautifully acted.

    And then… nothing. Even their “reunion” in S8 was abbreviated, and abruptly turned into a discussion about Sansa. After that, Arya jumped on the “we hate your girlfriend” bandwagon in e4, bugged out of WF, and then had a perfunctory five second scene with Jon in which Arya turned into Captain Obvious: “I know a killer when I see one.”

    Goodness, after all that time apart, the show ended with Arya declining Jon’s invitation to visit him at CB, telling him she was going to explore the uncharted oceans. (She couldn’t even join him for the boat ride to CB?)

    There had to be a deliberate deciding to torpedo the Jon & Arya relationship in the books. Maybe the showrunners decided to transplant Sansa into that role? (Sansa got a much better reunion scene, and then got to hang with Jon from early S6 through most of the rest of the show except for his S7 sojourn to Dragonstone to get dragonglass and a girlfriend.)

    Strange: There was rich source material for the Arya & Jon relationship. Book readers were enamored with those characters and their bond. The show started out with an iconic, memorable scene of the two of them. Both book! and show! fans were looking forward to their eventual reunion (after ~ 7 years apart), and to some meaningful, “high thread count” scenes of them together. (I for one was psyched for some side-by-side fight scenes, especially after the pre-S8 WF Crypts teaser trailer showed them drawing their swords together against an offscreen enemy.)

    Yeah, I know I’m an Arya fanboy. Still, it seemed like an odd adaptation decision to ditch such a prominent, popular aspect of the books. In my mind, I’ve reconciled the showrunners’ decision as a choice to apportion each character’s finite screen time, such that the last three or so seasons would highlight the culmination of Arya & Sandor’s storyline, while Sansa would be “assigned” to Jon.

    I should have figured this might happen when there were two conspicuous callbacks to the Hound during Arya’s scenes with Jaqen 2.0 in S5 and the Waif in S6 – and then Jon came out with that odd line, “I thought Arya was dead” in S7e5 even though she had been seen alive and well by Brienne, who reported it to Sansa in S6e2.

    I acknowledge that some fans insist that because Arya hadn’t been heard from since her encounter with Brienne*, Jon naturally “assumed” she was dead.

    This overlooks that Arya had been traveling incognito “dressed as a boy,” and until the Starks ousted the Boltons and retook WF, the Lannisters “held sway” everywhere she was going (as explained by Sandor in S4e7) and there was “nothing in the North but war and ice and pirates” (per ship captain in S4e10), preventing her from traveling north to the Wall. It should have been no surprise that Arya would not broadcast her identity, or try to make contact with her dispersed family members – even if she could figure out where they were.

    As soon as she learned from HPNN that “the Boltons are dead” after “Jon Snow came down from Castle Black and won the Battle of the Bastards,” she immediately headed north to WF.

    So even with the limitations of translating book! characters’ unspoken thoughts into dialogue on screen, I questioned why show! Jon, who had looked into Arya’s eyes and assured her “I’m going to miss you“ in S1e2, thereafter apparently “kind of forgot” about his beloved little sister, and never really mentioned her at all for over six seasons.

    I know I have whinged about this before. I’m now just speculating that the showrunners deliberately downplayed the Arya & Jon bond and abandoned what I assume was GRRM’s intended culmination of their storyline. I’d be curious to learn the reasoning for the showrunners’ decision. If, as I posited, it was because they realized they’d struck gold with Rory McCann/Sandor and Maisie Williams/Arya, I can live with that: After all, those two characters had an established, successful track record over more than ten episodes (with so many memorable scenes) from mid-S3 through the end of S4. With screentime at a premium as the show wound down, streamlining the multiple storylines might well have required choosing one over the other, i.e., Jon & Arya or Sandor & Arya. Or perhaps their elevation of Sansa to a first tier character, and detouring her from the Vale to the North to team up with Jon, necessarily displaced Arya.
    It’d be nice to know what the showrunners and what GRRM had in mind. I’m not holding my breath.

    * What I call Meryn Trant vs. Syrio Forel Redux: A stranger decked out in Lannister armor with a Lannister sword trying to forcibly take custody of Arya from her guardian, after claiming her parent had directed the interloper to escort Arya somewhere. Small wonder Arya rejected this successor Lannister agent’s demand to
    come with me.” Arya had wisely resisted the first Lannister goon’s demand, and on both occasions her heroic guardian was attacked and presumably killed while trying to watch over her.

    Brienne of F*cking Tarth = Meryn F*cking Trant 2.0 confirmed.

  309. Adrianacandle,

    I wouldn’t be surprised though if the producers “amplified” Sansa&Jon tension in interviews for the sake of trying to hide that Jon and Dany would meet early in the season. No idea though…. S7 turned much different than how fandom probably imagined it after S6 ended I imagine. Especially with White Walkers crossing the wall and obtaining a dragon before the War for the Throne would be completed.

  310. Erik, formerly Lord Parramandas: Also something I remember from before S8… but again not sure whether it was from Kit or the producers or somebody else. THere was this interview how Jon won’t be bothered by incest element in his relationship with Dany… but when he did realize of them being related, it played a big part.

    Are you thinking of this interview? In it, it says (re: Jon and his feelings on incest)

    And incest isn’t exactly straitlaced Jon’s style. Says Harington, “He’s not the kind of person who can [knowingly] jump into bed with a relative.”

    Or is there another interview you’re thinking of?

  311. Adrianacandle,

    Oh, then I remembered it wrong. I kept remembering he said that he IS a kind of person who can knowingly jump into bed with a relative. My mistake 😂 I think comments from one of my FB friends also additionally confused me as she was shipping them so hard and kept saying “I dont’ mind incest”

  312. Efi,

    They both lie that they sleep together and Jon that night truly does it because otherwise he’d blow his cover. He even thinks he was framed -or sth like that- and he was kind of angry and uncomfortable that he had to do it -he considers himself to be an oathbreaker and a turncloak but he never wavers as to where he belonged (hence his “happy exile” in 8.6 makes absolutely no sense).

    From the passage, Jon didn’t lie. Ygritte lied. Here is the exerpt:

    “Ghost padded beside their garrons as Jon and Ygritte descended the Fist. It was not until they were halfway across the Milkwater that Jon felt safe enough to say, “I never asked you to lie for me.”

    “I never did,” she said. “I left out part, is all.”

    “You said-”

    “-that we fuck beneath your cloak many a night. I never said when we started, though.” The smile she gave him was almost shy. “Find another place for Ghost to sleep tonight, Jon Snow. It’s like Mance said. Deeds is truer than words.”

    I don’t remember a passage in which Jon felt framed or angry? He tells himself he is only playing a part but thinks how playing that part was so sweet and wonders if this is how his father felt when he dishonored his mother.

    He also does waver on where he belongs and who he wants to be. There are more quotes to this effect but I think this comment will be a multi-parter so I’ll just include this one for now:

    Ygritte wanted me to be a wildling. Stannis wants me to be the Lord of Winterfell. But what do I want?

    However, Jon is pretty torn over leaving. He tries to distance himself from the wildlings because the more he gets to know them as people, the harder they are to betray and he grudgingly admits he is developing a genuine fondness for Mance and Tormund, viewing the prospect of having to betray Tormund as bleak.

    And I’d say the prospect of life beyond the Wall did have an appeal for him, not in any small part due to Ygritte, but he was wavering a little.

    When he returns to Castle Black, he thinks this:

    I should have stayed in that cave with Ygritte. If there was a life beyond this one, he hoped to tell her that. She will claw my face the way the eagle did, and curse me for a coward, but I’ll tell her all the same.

    Ygritte’s savage insticts and warlike nature are appaling to Jon and no matter how he’d like it to be otherwise.

    I got the impression that Jon admired the spearwives for their martial abilities, that he wasn’t appalled by Ygritte’s violent nature. He doesn’t approve of her killing an innocent man to have him prove his loyalty and he struggles with that — but not with Ygritte’s lethal aspects.

    Jon even reflects on his growing attraction to Val, “Lovely, lonely, and lethal.”

    He also thinks of Val, when she returns successfully from a mission to find Tormund when none of his men could:

    Val looked the part and rode as if she had been born on horseback. A warrior princess, he decided, not some willowy creature who sits up in a tower, brushing her hair and waiting for some knight to rescue her. “I must inform the queen of this agreement,” he said. “You are welcome to come meet her, if you can find it in yourself to bend a knee.” It would never do to offend Her Grace before he even opened his mouth.

    _____

    He thinks that “it was wrong to love her, wrong to leave her”, because with the first he broke his vows, and with the second he could have saved her if he stayed with her. Jon’s first instinct is to save people, and this applies to Ygritte as well, and the line “he was wrong to love her, wrong to leave her” encapsulates his guilt, not his love (that’s my book reading). It’s hardly the epic romance displayed on screen.

    I’m pretty sure Jon did love Ygritte. And I thought this line was about the conflict in in himself — he had a mission to fulfill, to the Night’s Watch but duty to the Night’s Watch was conflicting with his love for Ygritte.

    [Part 1]

  313. Efi,

    In the books it seems to be a preparation for Daenerys. Will Jon fall for another lady with violent instincts? Rather not, otherwise he’d really have learned nothing at all. Book readers and show watchers who want these both to be epic romances are swayed, I think, by the screen adaptation that didn’t know exactly what to do with the heros/villains of the story because they are so grey in the books.

    I’m not sure what you mean, “Learned nothing at all”? I don’t know what damage was done to Jon as a result of loving Ygritte. She helped broaden his scope, expanded his world view, made him seem beyond preconceptions. Plus, per GRRM, Ygritte represents a type of woman that is Jon’s type.

    From my reading, Jon seems to admire some of these violent instincts per the quote above. Also, he respects the ability of a spearwife to slit the throat of any man who harasses her or the other girls.

    The book will explore his attachment to the Starks much better, but I think -this is my opinion only- there won’t be much wavering when it comes to Dany. Daenerys shall be Jon’s duty because he will have pledged to her, and his family shall be his love.

    If this is the case, I’m not sure how this would be exploring GRRM’s central theme — “the human heart in conflict with itself” — or how this would make his conflict any different from the one he’s already faced in the series so far. Especially if this is Jon’s final choice, his final test, and what I imagine to be his hardest decision — how would Dany simply being his duty vs his family being his love make this final conflict, Jon’s culminating decision, any different from the ones who came before? And especially if there’s no wavering:

    I’ve always agreed with William Faulkner—he said that the human heart in conflict with itself is the only thing worth writing about. I’ve always taken that as my guiding principle, and the rest is just set dressing. I mean, you can have a dragon, you can have a science fiction story set on a distant planet with aliens and starships, you can have a western about a gunslinger, or a mystery novel about a private eye, or even literary fiction—and ultimately you’re still writing about the human heart in conflict with itself. So that’s the way I try to approach this thing. And while I may work within a genre, I’ve never liked to be bound by them. I have a lot of fun in frustrating genre expectations, using a bit of this or a bit of that, and doing something that hasn’t been done before.

    Additionally, Jon also harbors some anger toward the Starks too and in how he was treated differently. He loves them, of course, but there are some issues and it’s sort of a complex dynamic.

    I think Adam Feldman asks a good question: “Who is Jon’s pack now?”

    He even dies for FArya, so how is it to be expected that he will ever betray his family following Dany blindly?

    Well, breaking his vows for Arya led to some pretty bad consequences… ie. risking the entire realm.

    However, Jon doesn’t die for Arya. He knows Ramsay doesn’t have Arya. He views Ramsay as a monster sullying the seat of House Stark, a monster who Jon feels must be destroyed.

    Ignoring his abhorrence for fire and what it does to people? Book Jon will never defend Dany for wiping out an entire city by sowing fire above their heads, neither will he discuss it, with Tyrion or with Dany. “Yes, honey, you just murdered half a million innocents; let’s forget all about it now, shall we? Let’s put the dragon to rest, he’s done enough”. Sorry, that’s a bad soap.

    Jon’s discomfort with the utilization of fire didn’t really stop him from supporting Stannis, who Jon viewed as fighting for the realm. And if love is involved, I think it’s natural Jon is going to have a really hard time with the prospect of killing Dany — creating the terrible inner struggle. If Jon just goes in there and kills her right away without any feeling or struggle, I don’t know what that’s exploring — especially in relation to what GRRM is talking about above.

    [Part 2]

  314. Efi,

    In the original plans two scenes were cut: Daenerys ordering Jon to come to her room after the council in 7.7, which takes away Jon’s agency (she’s a queen, he was laid down his crown)

    That was a rumored scene, I never saw the scripting of this scene. Are you referring to the outline? In the outline, Dany thinks to herself that she’d like to talk about something with Jon later but there’s no mention of a summoning.

    and her lamenting about the killing of Viseryon by his bed, which showed that she didn’t care to fight for the North, she wanted revenge from the NK for her dragon -hence Jon lays his crown on her lap realizing that this queen needs more swaying for fighting for them, for securing her help.

    Are you referring to the Jonsa Pol!Jon theory Kevin was talking about in April?

    In [Jonsa’s] idea Jon is only with Dany to manipulate her and steal a dragon for his lover Sansa so he can defeat Dany and take the seven kingdoms for her. (which I even have problems with see below).

    (I’m really sorry if you’re referring to something else! Please correct me!)

    This was a theory that never found a footing in canon or support from the writers/cast/crew. It’s a Jonsa shipper theory that I do have a lot of problems with, as you know, and I can elaborate on this in another post if there’s a need for it. I think it’s full of plot holes and doesn’t give Jon an exit strategy. And with all due respect (this isn’t directed at you but the theory), I find the theory deeply misogynistic and pretty problematic: it has Jon controlling a woman with sex to do the right thing and faking his feelings for her so she does what he wants.

    However, that aside, you’re referring to the script direction which, yes, illustrates Dany’s turmoil over Viserion’s death — but I think is understandable.

    At the same time (and forgive me if I’m misunderstanding you, please correct me if I’m not reading your post right), you’re also saying Jon only gave up his crown to sway Dany into fighting for them — when this same scripting direction says Jon is pushed to the realization that he loved her. Doesn’t that count too?

    and second, that Jon was so “in love” and swayed by the “sacrifice” that he actually did resign from office (inexplicably after she has pledged to fight for them), thereby betraying the North and his siblings

    Well, yeah. I think that’s it. For better or for worse with how it was done, this is what the writers wrote. It’s fair for people to have issues with it. While I don’t think it’s a betrayal of the North and I think it was within Jon’s rights to bend the knee as king, I understand the North feeling betrayed. Jon deserved every bit of anger they threw his way, I think it was a stupid decision that he should have consulted people over before making it — but I don’t think there was any nefarious purpose or secret plot suppressed by the writers.

    And I think it was done to bring about conflict in season 8 right off the bat.

    Just like how I don’t think there was any nefarious purpose on Sansa’s part when she concealed the KoTV. It was done to bring about conflict.

    [Part 3]

  315. Efi,

    I think that these changes happened late in season 7. Perhaps even the scenes were filmed and deleted pretty much like Cersei’s miscarriage that doesn’t exist in any DVD or on the internet.

    From what I’ve seen, there’s no evidence of these Pol!Jon scenes existing (if that’s what you’re referring to). There’s evidence of that Cersei scene existing, Lena Headey speaks out about it. But no scenes from an alt plot featuring Jon and Dany.

    And why would he say to the lords in 8.1 that it was “his crown or the North” when on screen so such dilemma existed?

    A writing inconsistency, I think (which has happened on the show from time to time, just like it happens on quote a few shows). I mean, Dany didn’t come North for love of Jon either. That wasn’t her stated motivation n 7×06. It was because she saw the army of the dead for herself, he had just killed her dragon, and she had to see the threat to know, “Now I know.” She realized the threat was real.

    I also kind of wonder if it it was done to demonstrate Sansa’s intelligence because she figures out that personal feeling was likely involved in Jon’s decision to bend the knee when she asks him if it was done for the North or because of his feelings for her.

    Loving the wrong woman (I remind Jaimie-Cersei, Robb-Talisa/Jeyne Westerling, Tyrion/Shae) amounts to nothing, it’s just something to be repeated by another protagonist? Are male figures of GoT/ASoIaF really that dumb? Loving the wrong woman over and over and over and over? [if it is so, then no wonder Westeros ends up being ruled by a woman and the 3ER; others are not to be trusted]

    Perhaps it’s about exploring a terrible inner conflict in different ways and what this reveals about a character. And they unfold in different ways with different comes and choices they’re presented with. None of these situations are quite the same. Protagonists do make mistakes, they do struggle. They’re often hampered by human feeling, that’s what makes doing the right thing so hard and sometimes, people fail at that. It’s not a matter of intelligence, it’s a matter of emotion many of us are subject to and how this can manifest in different ways — and what consequences this can bring about.

    While not every character falls for the “wrong” woman, I don’t even think all of these are examples of falling for the wrong woman but under the wrong circumstances — like Robb. Like Tyrion. If they had been in different situations, it could have worked out. For Cersei, she didn’t fall in love with the wrong guy. Jaime was addicted to the wrong woman rather than the one who brought out the best in him. But for Brienne, falling for a guy who’d be addicted to his sister for always led to incredible pain for her. Sometimes, love doesn’t conquer all.

    Plus, the alternative (if you’re referencing the Pol!Jon theory), faking feelings for Dany and manipulating her would also be pretty stupid too. It has no exit strategy for Jon because under this theory:

    1. Jon knowingly either submits the North to somebody he believes is an unhinged tyrant who could spark at any time forever , hoping sex is enough to control her and that she never catches on (which wouldn’t be likely since Dany isn’t stupid).

    2. Or, if he reveals that he’s been using her this whole time, he gives Dany a reason to go to war against the North, upon which the situation wouldn’t look great for the North.

    3. Or he actually plans on assassinating Dany after he’s done with her, knowingly causing a war with Dany’s armies and supporters from the first — rather than it being done as a last resort after she’s just demolished a whole city, wants to keep it up, and it’s evident that the cheese has slid off her cracker.

    This would also make Jon not only kind of stupid, but I think it would make him the biggest jerk. The proponents of this theory talk about how Dany was emotionally abusing Jon…. but they want Jon to emotionally abuse and manipulate Dany. And not just want — they have conspiracy theories over how D&D somehow imagined this as the original plan but ditched it because of Dany’s popularity, to please her fans, and because Emilia Clarke convinced them otherwise. Yet there are no indications of this in their outline/script materials or in their interviews. However, Jonsas claim these materials were tampered with.

    And I can’t imagine the criticism D&D would get over a plot like this.

    (Again, please know this isn’t aimed at you, Efi, but at the theory! Again, if I am misunderstanding you at all, please correct me!)

    [Part 4 — only one more to go!]

  316. Efi,

    Does Jon’s threat to Melisandre for the burning of Shireen mean nothing? He’d still fall in love for one with such violent instincts -such as those he experienced on the beach of Dragonstone (she threatens silently to burn KL and threatens Tyrion’s family)- forgetting his aversion to unnecessary violence?

    Or maybe Jon didn’t see Dany as a monster sacrificing kids to her god for the sake of blood magic — but as somebody who wanted to help people like he did and demonstrated that in 7×06, somebody who her followers said they chose, somebody who avoided the direct route of hitting King’s Landing right away to take it when reminded of cost to lives. Jon didn’t see Ygritte as a monster, Tormund as a monster, Stannis as a monster, etc. Jon can connect with people he doesn’t fully agree with.

    As for Dany’s anger at Tyrion, as Petra pointed out:

    This is called anger. It is a perfectly healthy emotion to feel when one’s allies fuck up.

    Tyrion’s family are the ones who are fighting against Dany, they are her enemies. They’re not just random family members of her Hand. Tyrion got on board with Dany, knowing they’d be fighting his family.

    Would the guy whose’s weakness for Sansa as established in three (!) scenes (I remind “I’ll protect you I promise” scene, beating Ramsay’s head to a pulp, choking LF) feel conflicted about killing one who has been threatening Sansa in each and every episode of season 8?

    I don’t think Jon’s weakness was Sansa, I think that’s kind of overstating it. Jon was reacting in a reasonable way as a big brother, who only managed to reunite with one sister from his mostly lost family, against two people who abused her, tormented her, and (in Ramsay’s case), raped her. I don’t think that’d demonstrating a weakness, I think that’s a reasonable response against two people who demonstrated significant abuse against a family member. This wasn’t before they had done anything.

    Additionally, Jon didn’t love Ramsay or Littlefinger. He hated them — and Jon didn’t just hate Ramsay for Sansa but for a myriad of crimes, including the murder of his younger brother Rickon. He viewed these two as monsters. Meanwhile, Jon definitely didn’t view Dany the way he viewed Ramsay or Littlefinger. Jon thought that there truly was a way he, Dany, Sansa, and Arya could all live together, that they just needed to get to know each other. And I’m not sure where Dany was threatening Sansa in every episode of season 8? And if she was, Jon kind of had blind spots on, he wasn’t viewing these words in the same way you are — he also had blind spots for Sansa too (believing she wouldn’t betray his trust), and probably the way he would have had for Arya if conflict arose there too. I think he has for people he cares about.

    As for feeling conflicted over killing her, I think it’s natural to balk at the prospect of killing somebody you love. Even if some people didn’t buy it for understandable reasons, the show scripted Jon to love Dany and that’s why he’s conflicted.

    Hence, imho, this was no romance (or I’ll burn all my Jane Austen books). It was ambivalent at best, failed attempt at worse, depending on the viewer’s perception of the on-screen adaptation. I don’t believe that there will be a romance in the books (but there will probably be some s*x).

    Per our conversations in the past, it seems to be the writers’ intention that this was a love story. I don’t think there was any hidden plot or theory that was never revealed. I think it was doomed, I think it had unhealthy aspects, and I think it had execution problems, but I believe this was meant to set up Jon’s final conflict.

    I think they needed to spend more time building them up as a couple before tearing them apart to make this feel more weighty, more significant. However, Jon-Dany weren’t the only plot with execution problems in season 8, I think. And I think D&D were exploring a solid concept behind the storyline.

    [DONE!!! 😀 Sorry for length ;;]

  317. Erik, formerly Lord Parramandas: I wouldn’t be surprised though if the producers “amplified” Sansa&Jon tension in interviews for the sake of trying to hide that Jon and Dany would meet early in the season. No idea though…. S7 turned much different than how fandom probably imagined it after S6 ended I imagine. Especially with White Walkers crossing the wall and obtaining a dragon before the War for the Throne would be completed.

    I don’t know if they did, though. They probably didn’t want people to know exactly when or if Jon and Dany would meet but I think, for the most part, they delivered the issues that were promised.

    Kit Harington talks about how Sansa gets under Jon’s skin and feels angry when she keeps questioning his authority in public, which she does and I think is reflective of what happened in the season. Meanwhile, Sophie Turner felt that Jon wasn’t listening to Sansa and promised there would be tension from the first scene between them and there was.

    Perhaps they did play it up? But I don’t think they were lying. I think there is tension and that has existed through to the end of the show, when Jon can’t quite fully forgive Sansa for betraying his secret. They love each other but I felt there was always that difficulty between them. They don’t get alone on every level.