From the Maester’s Desk – House of the Dragon’s Potential for Expansion and Diversity

"Fire Can Not Kill A Dragon" by ertacaltinoz.

“Fire Can Not Kill A Dragon” by ertacaltinoz.

“This is going to be the whitest show on television”. That was the gist of many reactions I saw across the web when HBO confirmed that the “Age of Heroes” prequel wasn’t getting picked up, moving forward instead with a series based on George R.R. Martin’s FIRE & BLOOD.

And it’s not an unwarranted reaction. As we fans know, Game of Thrones had a number of controversies during its 8-season run. Some I feel were quite overblown (such as the “Starbucks cup” or Jon not petting Ghost after the Battle of Winterfell), but other grievances people had with the show were understandable, and one of those was the lack of representation when it comes to people of color.

Missandei of Naath was one of the two major characters who were black, so when she was executed by the Mountain at Cersei’s command, seemingly to spite Daenerys after failing to force her hand, it ruffled some feathers among the audience (to say the least). Knowing what happened in the episodes that followed (and ended the final season), it does seem unfair from a story standpoint that Missandei died for a queen who would later turn genocidal and end up being killed by Jon Snow for the greater good of Westeros and the world at large.
Missandei Cersei Lannister Gregor Mountain Clegane Season 8 804

Hindsight is 20/20, but there is no question that they could’ve and should’ve done better- and that’s what brings me to the new adaptation that’s currently cooking in HBO’s kitchen.


FIRE & BLOOD tells the story of the Targaryen dynasty, so it’s only natural to assume the main players will be white and blonde. However, there are numerous supporting characters, which opens up an opportunity to have a more diverse cast and subvert expectations for the television adaptation.

The book isn’t a novel, but a fictional history book. As such, it’s thin on details, and you could say that character development is non-existent. This is not a knock on the book, which I think is actually pretty good; only that the format doesn’t allow diving into what makes the characters tick. Dialogue is sparse, and so is the interaction, i.e. Orys Baratheon may have been the best friend of Aegon the Conqueror but the book won’t tell us what they talked about in their free time. Did they drink? Go hunting? Talk about the weather? How did they refer to each other? (Think about how Robert affectionately called Eddard “Ned”.)

This could be a tad disappointing for readers who are used to George’s style in the main series, where every chapter is written from the character’s point of view and we can read their thoughts, learn their hopes and fears and get a feel of what motivates them. But for a screenwriter working on an adaptation, this opens up a kaleidoscope of opportunities. The book outlines the major beats; it’s now the job of the team behind House of the Dragon to fill in the blanks, and flesh out the personalities of the characters, give them lines and make them interact with each other to create memorable scenes.

I believe HBO has learned a great deal from their Game of Thrones experience and will take steps both to please the fans and avoid criticism and/or controversies, as much as they can.

In fact, a sign that the producers and the showrunners are moving in the right direction is the fact they’ve put together a writer’s room including two women (Claire Kiechel and Ti Mikkel). This is likely in response to another common complaint about Game of Thrones: that there was a distinct lack of female talent in both the writing and directing departments.

Michelle MacLaren Peter Dinklage Game of Thrones 308 Second Sons

It’d be nice if director Michelle MacLaren came back to the world of Westeros, considering her Cowboy Ninja Viking film adaptation has stalled and Raven, the HBO miniseries she was developing with Vince Gilligan, has shown no signs of life since 2017. Projects going belly up in Hollywood is nothing out of the ordinary–it happens all the time–, but it’s certainly frustrating that it keeps happening to a woman who has more than proven her directorial chops.

Karyn Kusama, of Girlfight and The Invitation fame, recently worked with HBO directing an episode for The Outsider miniseries. She has a knack for flawed characters, high tension and unflinching violence, so that makes her a perfect fit for a FIRE & BLOOD adaptation in my book.

There are many women director/writers who have been praised for their film and TV work, but rarely get any recognition, let alone big projects. So giving them a chance to shine in a prestige, big-budget HBO series could be a boost for their careers and also a major benefit for the show.

Just off the top of my head: there’s Issa Lopez who made Tigers are not afraid, a fantasy-horror fairy tale in the vein of Pan’s Labyrinth. The hard-hitting realism of her movie, in which not even children are safe, is not unlike what we see in the world of Ice and Fire. She likes playing in the fantasy sandbox so she’d be right at home.

Celine Sciamma, recent Queer Palm recipient, received attention for Portrait of a Lady on Fire but was ultimately ignored by the Academy. She has a style that puts women front and centre and deals with complex themes in a nuanced and unconventional way. In my mind, she could add richness to the stories of the Targaryen women (who are often overshadowed by the men) – Rhaena, daughter of Aenys I, in particular. She doesn’t take part in much action, but her life is full of tragedy, including her doomed relationship with Elissa Farman.

Jennifer Kent, director of The Babadook, could also be a good choice. It was her horror directorial debut that put her on the map, but it’s The Nightingale that, in my opinion, demonstrates she could be a valuable addition as director. Much like Thrones, The Nightingale isn’t for everyone and isn’t always easy to watch, with its gritty and unrelenting brutality in a harsh, unfair world. But in Kent’s own words, when responding to criticism about the film’s graphic depictions of murder and sexual violence, she set out to “tell a story about the necessity of love, compassion, kindness and empathy in a very dark time”. Though the fictional events of FIRE & BLOOD pale in comparison to what is a historically accurate depiction of very real colonial violence, Kent’s powerful voice and gripping direction could elevate the material.

Here’s hoping we get more diversity in the director’s chair! If a woman director gets a chance to take on a big, battle-centric episode, that’d be a first for Westeros and very exciting news.

Artwork by Doug Wheatley for the "Fire and Blood" vol. I book.

Artwork by Doug Wheatley for the “Fire and Blood” vol. I book.

Unlike GoT, FIRE & BLOOD doesn’t have a cast of characters whose stories we can follow through several novels or TV seasons. Instead, the book is divided in sections, each about different Targaryen rulers, spanning hundreds of years. So, it’s unlikely that we’ll have many series regulars, as most of the cast will keep changing.

The obvious downside to this “anthology” format is that there won’t be a chance for the audience to get too attached to a character (or several of them) they’d like to follow to the very end. So the series will have to rely on the strength of the writing and in how interesting the characters can be. There’s gotta be a good, solid reason (or many of them) for the audience to keep returning to the show every new season.

On the other hand, having new, fresh faces every year and an ever-changing world also gives the talent behind the camera more freedom to pick a huge variety of actors and actresses for characters both canonical and original. I’m expecting to see some inspired and diverse casting, with more presence of people of color than in the original series.

Apart from that Sansa scene, Season 5 of GoT is infamous for its Dorne subplot. I for one didn’t think it was so bad (partly because of the banter between Jaime and Bronn), but it’s a rather uneven part of the story and the negative reception was such that the showrunners quickly eliminated both Doran and Trystane Martell in the premiere episode of Season 6, as if sweeping a failed experiment under the rug.

House of the Dragon will probably have a second shot at adapting Dorne. Hard to skip it, since it was the one kingdom Aegon I was unable to take by force, giving him considerable pains. I’m personally looking forward to see how they’ll tackle the character of Meria Martell, the old and sharp-tongued Princess of Dorne. She’s got the potential to be the Dornish equivalent of Olenna Tyrell, with some lines that could close an episode in spectacular fashion:

You may burn us, my lady, but you will not bend us, break us or make us bow. This is Dorne; you are not wanted here. Return at your peril!

The Targaryens interact with dozens of different people, both friends and foes, from different places and cultures other than Westeros. Maesters, warriors, septons, merchants, rulers, outlaws and so on. It’s a field that is ripe for letting the imagination fly and give an extra dimension to characters that in the book are secondary or background figures at best. Having different arcs and other players to root for (or to love to hate) other than the Targs is (possibly) the best way to recapture the magic of the original series.

The production designer and their team of prop makers, set designers, costume designers, among other creatives, will also be able to offer many different things to look at. Whereas in GoT, we had an established look for certain elements (be it armor, the castles, etc.) that would remain mostly the same in each season, time jumps of decades will allow us to see things such as how King’s Landing grows from a forest area to the sprawling capital of the Seven Kingdoms.

The future looks bright for House of the Dragon. I’m confident it’ll join the ranks of the few prequels that have actually managed to stand on their own without retroactively hurting the series from which they spawned via retcons, unnecessary callbacks or explanations to things nobody asked -or at least I hope so.

In the words of Tyrion Lannister, “Life is full of possibilities”.

80 responses

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    1. “Missandei of Naath was one of the two major characters who were black, so when she was executed by the Mountain at Cersei’s command, seemingly to spite Daenerys after failing to force her hand, it ruffled some feathers among the audience (to say the least). Knowing what happened in the episodes that followed (and ended the final season), it does seem unfair from a story standpoint that Missandei died for a queen who would later turn genocidal and end up being killed by Jon Snow for the greater good of Westeros and the world at large.”

      To be fair, pretty much every single plot point in the show’s run in the end boiled down to being just another push for Dany to go over the edge. This was not limited to Missandei’s death. Take Jon’s parentage, for example. Or Jorah’s death. I think the outrage over Missandei’s death is greatly over-exaggerated, but I understand where people are coming from.

      I am all for diversity, and I assume most reasonable people are. There is a lot more good than bad out there. It’s just that the loudest and most extreme takes seem to get all of the attention. I hope to see more diversity on screen as well as behind the camera so we can one day get to the point where skin color and gender isn’t the focus of every conversation. I think it’s already starting to happen, but there’s obviously still more work to do.

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    2. I gotta be honest. Being biracial, it’s annoying to see the lack of POC, especially in a fantasy genre where literally ANYTHING can exist. It’s just not right. Plain and simple. While I hope to see POC in this new series, since I love GOT so much, I’d love it far more if there was a brand new fantasy world show based solely on POC. Sorry not sorry.

      Cue all the hate comments…

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    3. …especially in a fantasy genre where literally ANYTHING can exist.

      Well, yes, but GRRM was consciously imitating Tolkien, so Westeros is a fantasy version of Dark Age Britain — a place which, by our modern standards, did not have much diversity.

      … other grievances people had with the show were understandable, and one of those was the lack of representation when it comes to people of color.

      The show actually went to great lengths to diversify a story which originally consisted almost entirely of pale Caucasians (and “savage” Dothraki, who are actually quite a bit more city-dwelling in the books). Fabulously wealthy merchant prince Xaro Xohan Daxos went from being very pale, to embodiment by an actor of African descent. Salador Saan undergoes a similar treatment, only keeping his characteristic verbal style. (And a POC actor playing a slaver who captures Jorah and Tyrion gets what is possibly the greatest line in the history of ever, “the dwarf lives until we find a cock merchant.”)

      The show was more diverse in other ways as well. In the books, Loras may or may not have had a sexual relationship with Renly; in the show, Loras may as well be walking around sporting Pride jewelry. And some of my all-time favorite moments came in Season 8. After years of the story presenting Northerners in favorable ways, they are revealed to be such xenophobically racist bigots, they resent Grey Worm’s having come to fight for their lives.

      Diversity on Westeros becomes extra hard to obtain because in-universe, other parts of the world openly consider the continent and natives to be an uncultured backwater, full of squabbling, violent barbarians. Why anyone decent would even *want* to go there almost becomes a recurring joke. When we meet Tycho Nestoris, he’s mocking Stannis and countrymen as being innumerate fools who kill each other in stupid, endless, and expensive blood feuds. Syrio Forel holds the very idea of swordsmanship on Westeros to be oxymoronic. Talisa is a bored rich girl from Volantis who, due to a childhood experience of a compatriot’s near-death by drowning, likes practicing the healing arts. Therefore, she leaves home in search of bloody conflict, for which Westeros is justifiably famous.

      The Targaryens interact with dozens of different people, both friends and foes, from different places and cultures other than Westeros. Maesters, warriors, septons, merchants, rulers, outlaws and so on. It’s a field that is ripe for letting the imagination fly and give an extra dimension to characters that in the book are secondary or background figures at best. Having different arcs and other players to root for (or to love to hate) other than the Targs is (possibly) the best way to recapture the magic of the original series.

      B&W said that part of their purpose in “The Bells” was to show what happens to the innocent persons on the receiving end of the “heroic” violence a Targ’ and her dragon create. Likewise, watching the effect of all those dragon-borne conquests on the locals — some of whom might look very, very different from white-blond Targs — gives plenty of opportunity for discussion-friendly stories. Our own world still suffers tremendously from a history of heavily-armed, light-skinned persons traipsing far and wide, abusing the locals.

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    4. I’m very excited about this show 😀 Can’t wait for it.

      Only question I’m having. Do we know for certain that the show will go with the anthology format? Is that already confirmed or are we basing this on the books itself?

      It could be possible that they go like Vikings did. We don’t really have any background in the main series (the tv-show) so they have a lot of freedom. It’s possible that like Vikings they will push 200 year of history into a 30/40 year gab for the show. That way the focus could maybe be that the story will revolve around the main cast from season 1 for a couple of seasons, and their children will take over the show when they get older. Like every season has a 5/15 year gab in between them.

      I haven’t read the book yet, so I don’t know if this is even possible to achieve.

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    5. ”As we fans know, Game of Thrones had a number of controversies during its 8-season run. Some I feel were quite overblown (such as the “Starbucks cup” or Jon not petting Ghost after the Battle of Winterfell), but other grievances people had with the show were understandable…”

      WHAT??? Jon not petting Ghost was scandalous! Its deleterious effect on the entire eight-season run cannot be overstated!

      Just kidding. 🙃

      I was more confused by Ghost running next to the Dothraki at the beginning of the Great Zombie Battle, than Jon’s apparent neglect of his pup.

      Besides, S8 Jon was all about withholding love and physical affections.

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    6. Thank you for the article. For those who read the book does it read like a list of plot points about the happened in targ history?
      I would guess they will spend time on one period in history for a season and not jump to different eras from episode to episode.
      For those who read the book, is it an entertaining read or is it just a list of what happened in history?

      somehow we got back on season 8 again. I guess the reality is that’s what many people want to talk about and get off their chest. I am ready to move on from season 8. I understand if others need to continue the critique. I do appreciate the new article about the prequel. Thanks. I am curious to hear from book readers more about what it’s like.

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    7. … a sign that the producers and the showrunners are moving in the right direction is the fact they’ve put together a writer’s room including two women (Claire Kiechel and Ti Mikkel). This is likely in response to another common complaint about Game of Thrones: that there was a distinct lack of female talent in both the writing and directing departments.”

      Hallelujah!

      • From a humanist perspective, equality, diversity and inclusiveness should be a “default setting” by now.

      • From a purely selfish standpoint, I want to see credible, realistic portrayals of women and girls on screen. A writing team deprived of any voices and experiences of members of half the population can’t really be expected to create believable female characters, or write believable dialogue and interactions for them.

      I touched on this a few days ago in another Comments section, in which I suggested that some of the Sansa and Arya scenes in S7 and S8 felt a little off, and could have benefitted from the input of real women and real sisters in composing the storylines and writing the scripts.

      As an example, I cited the efforts of the producers and writers of the movie “Frozen” in portraying the dynamics of the relationship between their film’s fictional sisters Elsa and Anna. The “Frozen” showrunners convened a “Sisters Summit,” as described in the except below.*

      • Another selfish reason (in addition to better-drawn characters and more true to life dialogue when fictional voices have real world counterparts writing their words) is that if I’m going to invest my time watching a TV show or film, I want the most talented writers, directors. cast, and crew available to create what’s on the screen.
      If 50% of the pool of talent is excluded right off the bat, then what I’m watching can’t be as good as it should have been.

      • Final observation (not intended as a criticism): GoT has been celebrated for its strong female leads: Queen Cersei, Queen Daenerys, QitN Sansa, Queen of Thorns Olenna, Queen Margaery, Brienne of F*cking Tarth, and of course, Warrior Princess Arya, Savior of the World.

      They were all great. The actresses all gave outstanding performances. (Hell, I’ll throw in Faux Cersei too (Lady Crane), since I think Essie Davis was awesome.)

      My only reservation is that some of the second tier, supporting female characters were underutilized, underdrawn, or given little dialogue, perfunctory scenes, and abbreviated screentime. [I will NOT mention the Sand Snakes.]
      For instance, casting news in advance of S7 touted tall fiery redhead Meg Parkinson as Alys Karstark. I assumed she would have a prominent role in the Northern alliance. From the casting description and the pre-S7 set photos I figured the role was written and the actress cast to have significant interactions in scenes with Jon Snow or Tormund.
      Nope. Alys said three whole words, “Now and always,” and then became window dressing.
      Oh well. Maybe it’s wishful thinking or unproductive hindsight to think that an expanded writers room would have fleshed out this character….

      ————-
      * “Sisters Summit” – Excerpted from “Frozen” wikipedia article.

      “The production team then addressed the film’s problems, drafting several variations on The Snow Queen story until the characters and story felt relevant. At that stage, the first major breakthrough was the decision to rewrite the film’s protagonist, Anna (who was based on the Gerda character from The Snow Queen), as the younger sibling of Elsa, thereby effectively establishing a family dynamic between the characters. This was unusual in that relationships between sisters are rarely used as a major plot element in American animated films, with the notable exception of Disney’s Lilo & Stitch (2002).”

      “To fully explore the unique dynamics of such relationships, Disney Animation convened a “Sister Summit,” at which women from all over the studio who grew up with sisters were asked to discuss their relationships with their sisters.”

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frozen_(2013_film)

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    8. ”It would be nice if director Michelle MacLaren came back to the world of Westeros,… Projects going belly up in Hollywood is nothing out of the ordinary–it happens all the time–, but it’s certainly frustrating that it keeps happening to a woman who has more than proven her directorial chops.”
      ——-
      Michelle McLaren: Perhaps the most underappreciated and underutilized director on Game of Thrones.

      • She directed two episodes in S3 and two episodes in S4, I think, and should have been brought back for more.
      S3e7, “The Bear and the Maiden Fair”
      S3e8, “Second Sons”
      S4e4, “Oathkeeper”
      S4e5, “First of His Name”

      • She brought a wonderful sensibility to her direction, especially in one of my all-time favorite
      scenes. I’m referring to Ygritte and Jon in S3e7, and especially the classic feigned swoon into Jon’s arms at 1:30 – 1:45…

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E3cYZPcP93o

      1:30 – 1:45 “Oh! A Spider! Save me Jon Snow…”

      That scene is on my Perpetual Rewatch Loop. It‘s one of only a handful of scenes in which the King of Brooding actually smiles.

      (I’m sure Jaime fans loved his gallantry in that episode, e.g., deciding to go back to rescue Brienne, and then jumping in the bear pit unarmed and with only one hand.)

      • The show could have benefitted from Michelle McLaren’s special talents in Seasons 5 – 8.
      There was another director with the same initials who (I believe) wasn’t in the same league, yet for some reason he was brought in to direct episodes in S5 and S6 that featured the most ridiculous directorial decisions in all of GoT.

      (Yes, the other director with the initials “MM” is the guy who decided Arya should turn into an oblivious bubblehead and suffer repeated stabs to the gut, all in the name of manipulating the audience and ramping up the “drama.”)

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    9. So basically I am all for diversity. But… I am not sure wheter FEMALE director changes thay much. It’s more like: the sex doesn’t matter as long as the job is done.

      The Witcher’s executive producer is a woman and for me, it fails miserably. Not to mention that in modern world, people fight for women not to get sexualized, and yet that’s preciely what happened in the show. The growth of a strong woman was dimmed by sexualization. Also, there was no much to explore for growth when it comes to female characters.

      Race – no problem. As long as it still has sense. Remember that there is something like ‘internal logic’ within any story, so once you establish that dragons breath fire, fly and behave like predators in a real world, you can’t expect them to dance and sing 🙂

      When it comes to sex minorities. You see. I would love to represent these people as pure hearted. Simply because people in our world live by the idea of them as sinners. Anytime I see gay people on the screen, they are WILDLY sexualized. They are always represented as QUEERS, which only deepens the polarization of opinion. So I would love to see the world where these people are accepted and eventually disgraced by CLEARLY BAD characters.

      But all of that should be done ratonally, so it’s not a mozaic that does not correspond to reality.

      And by the way, it’s not like “it’s a fantasy and everything can happen – after all there are dragons that do not exist in a real world”. Remember, that fantasy worlds represent some kind of reality and it has laws of nature too. People won’t accept a world that is fake, unreal. We know why asians have smaller eyes. We know why black people have darker skin. Such mechanisms are well known throught the world. Now, to imagine a world on which such processes couldn’t happen wouls be… unbelievable?

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    10. Tensor the Mage, Who Boasts a Diversity of Scrolls in His Personal Library,

      ”After years of the story presenting Northerners in favorable ways, they are revealed to be such xenophobically racist bigots, they resent Grey Worm’s having come to fight for their lives.”

      That reminds me: I was really hoping that chickensh*t Lord Glover would return in S8. With all his ranting about “foreign whores” and wildling bashing, “refus[ing] the call” when it mattered, and only declaring undying loyalty to the Starks again after the battle was over, he was #1 on my list of characters I wanted to see shredded, wightened, sliced and diced, and then set on fire.

      What was it he said? ”I did not fight beside you on the field, and I will regret that til my dying day. A man can only admit when he is wrong and ask forgiveness.”

      That blowhard sure talked a big game:
      House Glover will stand behind House Stark as we have for a thousand years. And I will stand behind Jon Snow…the King in the North!”

      But when the time came for Mr. Regretful to stand behind the Starks, Jon Snow, and his own countrymen, he chickened out – yet again. Dothrakis and Unsullied fought for the Northern Ingrates but Lord Robett Glover was nowhere to be found.

      [Cue Monty Python & The Holy Grail minstrel song]

      🎶Brave Ser Robett ran way,
      Brave Ser Robett ran away.
      🎵

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    11. While I’m all for diversity the complaints about Missandei were blown way out of proportion. D&D were accused multiple times of being racist and that’s ridiculous. It’s GOT they kill tons of characters. The amount of articles accusing D&D of racism were ridiculous.

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    12. Fireandblood87:
      While I’m all for diversity the complaints about Missandei were blown way out of proportion. D&D were accused multiple times of being racist and that’s ridiculous. It’s GOT they kill tons of characters. The amount of articles accusing D&D of racism were ridiculous. I suggest people read Polygons full series review written by Gretchen Felker Martin that dives into the female characters instead of just screaming sexism.

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    13. I’m a POC, and I hate to write that because it shouldn’t matter. Only when articles like these are published I feel the need to write this. While normally I’m just a person and no-one takes care of my colour.
      I am against discrimination of all kinds, so I’m also against positive discrimination. Because even positive discrimination looks at sex and colour. While being accepted means colour, sex etc doesn’t matter.
      And we POC do get there, maybe a bit slower. But when we get there it’s because we really deserve it, not because they needed some coloured people to fill their quota.

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    14. Fireandblood87,

      Hey that’s fine.
      I kind of agree.
      In a comment under another post, I explained that I liked how Arya & Sansa were credibly portrayed as sisters for the most part. It was really just their strange behavior during the S7 LF nonsense that felt off.

      No worries! That ratf*cker got turned into a human Pez Dispenser by ASNAWP.

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    15. I think I would have liked it if they had someone with purple skin. Perhaps a Targ would have purple skin to go with the violet eyes. The outcry people have with skin color is just proof that the world just can’t see everyone as equal yet. There was a poignant Star Trek episode from TOS (the original series) “Let That Be Your Last Battlefield”.
      There were two half white and half black beings battling it out. They hated each other and continued a war as the last two survivors. To most viewers they looked the same. They were both half white and half black. It was revealed at the end that one was black on the left side where the other was black on the right side. That was perhaps the most poignant episode I’ve seen and still holds very current today.

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    16. Farimer123,

      I don’t mind journalist bringing up points about things that might be problematic. When they just make blanket statements like claiming the show is saying women are too emotional to rule that’s just ridiculous. I would argue GOT gave us a wide variety of women of all different styles and I don’t think gets enough praise for just the sheer amount of different female characters throughout the series.

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    17. Game of Thrones is actually the most diverse TV-show I’ve seen. It’s the one of the few shows who also have people from India (where I am from). The only other show I can think of is The Big Bang Theory.
      I never expected a show like GOT to be 50/50 black and white. It’s based on medieval Europe where blacks were maybe present but still a minority. No problem for me they are also a minority in GOT. I’m also a minority in my country, so it’s a good representation.
      You can also argue about the Cosby Show or Fresh Prince of Bel Air that there aren’t enough white people. That all depends on the setting of the story.

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    18. The future looks bright for House of the Dragon. I’m confident it’ll join the ranks of the few prequels that have actually managed to stand on their own without retroactively hurting the series from which they spawned via retcons, unnecessary callbacks or explanations to things nobody asked -or at least I hope so.

      I’m NOT being facetious: Why does the future look bright for House of the Dragon, and what is there that instills confidence it will stand on its own merits?

      After they shot down the prequel that would have starred my beloved Naomi Watts and green lit House of the Dragon instead, I have not been following prequel news that closely. (Admittedly, I had already reached my DSP [Dragon Saturation Point] by the middle of Season 7 of Game of Thrones, and the only aspect of the Targaryeans I’m curious about is why Rhaegar was such a dunce.)

      Have they cast any roles for House of the Dragon? Announced any casting calls? Provided any details about the basic story lines? Have any actors of the caliber of Naomi Watts been linked to House of the Dragon?

      I thought unraveling the mystery behind the Doom of Old Valyria might be a neat premise for a GoT prequel. I’m sure I’m not the only one seduced by Iain Glen’s voice reciting that poem about the Doom while sailing past the still-smoldering ruins of Old Valyria. But that’s not what House of the Dragon is going to be about, is it?

      Sure, in the right hands, spinoffs, prequels, or sequels can be better than the original. “Star Trek: The Next Generation” is a good example. At the other extreme (for me) is “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” a derivative, cookie-cutter regurgitation of the original.

      I’d really like to have reason to be confident that “the future looks bright” for a foray into the past of the Targs.

      🔥🩸

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    19. Tron79,

      Yeah! I remember that Star Trek episode with the half-black half-white people and half-white half-black people hating on each other. It really did demonstrate the absurdity of hate based on skin color.

      Didn’t Frank Gorshin (The Riddler in the old Batman TV series) guest star in that episode?

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    20. Sandor,

      I can only react as somebody from the LGBT group. But I agree, 9 out of 10 writers fail miserably when they write LGBT characters. They always go to the more femenine gay people (nothing wrong with of course) but most are just like everyone else in how they act, there are even a lot of gay people who are very “manly”. But somehow shows fail in that department. Another thing I hate is when the focus is only on the sexual preference, and there is nothing more to the character, or if LGBT characters are included only because they have to, and I feel when this happens. If a writergroup can’t write LGBT characters, they shouldn’t write LGBT characters. Better not be represented in a show than represented wrong and stereotypical. But what I really want is that broadcast corporations make sure LGBT people are represented in their company and not excluded. If show A can’t represent us, make sure show B evens it out and we are represented within the company. That’s how you make change.

      Shows/ movies I like how they show great LGBT characters are in my book:
      – Grey’s anatomy
      – Shameless Us. Ian and mickey are one of the bestwritten LGBT characters out there, unfortunately the character of Ian become stereotypical halfway through the show where I dislike that it was only about him being gay. But the last 2 seasons they are back to writing him as a great written character.
      – Game of thrones with Renly, he was gay but him being king and his character was more important. Loras on the other hand I feel that later seasons his story was all about being gay. fake-marriage with Sansa that fails because of his sexual intercourse with Olivar. Same thing with season 5 and 6 were it was all about “gay is a sin”. That is what Loras boiled down to in the end, yikes.
      – It chapter 2 (2019). Richy, it was clear he was gay but that was it, his character was not about him being gay at all, but about friendship and more.
      – Will and Grace, even when Jack is very femenine, Will is the opposite, and there was more to his character than being gay.
      That is how you write LGBT characters.

      But what really is annoying for me that we with LGBT rights we are focus on “hollywood”, how much I want the focus to be there, it’s pretty easy to show you defend LGBT rights, but it doesn’t solve any real problems. Even in progressive Holland the media portrait LGBT pretty fairly (Better than Hollywood) still the hate is bigger than 10 years ago. Last year there was even a anti-LGBT manifest that was signed even by people in our government, that’s where the real problems. Instead of writing about Hollywood need more LGBT characters why don’t we really work on the real issue and work on that and solve the problem in our society. Fight for equality in daily life instead of Hollywood, it maybe is not that easy as “blaming hollywood” but it will solve the problem for once.

      Not stating that I’m not happy that people fight for representation on tv-shows and movies, I am.

      This comes from a gay-guy who still in 2020 doesn’t feel safe to being gay, doesn’t dare holding hands even if I want to in one of the most progressive countries in the world, who still fear the day a government will rise in our country who abolish all that we fought for.

      So I hope we can fight this fight not with Hollywood, but in our society where the real problems lie, and hopefully in the near future we will have equality that we all deserve.

      Fireandblood87,

      This article doesn’t state D&D are racists at all. You seem to miss the point that it tries to make.

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    21. Chilli,

      This is exactly how I feel as a gay person when reading many articles online and social media about including LGBT in tv shows. I’m happy that they have us back and that they are progressive, but for me they miss the point a bit. I don’t want my sexuality to be a box to be filled in to make it seem like they are “pro-LGBT”. It’s for me a bit of an insult like we as a person are only part of LGBT and nothing more. I want to be represented but as more than a LGBT character. If a writer has a great way to represent LGBT with a greatly written character I’m out of the moon with it. Like with Ian in Shameless, which is the favorite of the show not because of him being gay, but because he is so perfectly written.

      What I do hope is HBO and other broadcasters make sure that if show A fails to deliver representation they hire new writers/producers to make a show that represent us. There are more ways to lead to Rome, and I think putting the solution at the company and not every show/movie solves the problem more in the end.

      As for GoT itself, even if it didn’t represent LGBT people to an extend that represent our real world. I never felled that D&D are anti-LGBT. I think when people read their interviews people see that they have our backs.

      Chilli,

      you were Belgian right? Fellow neightbor.

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    22. Ten Bears:
      Tron79,

      Yeah! I remember that Star Trek episode with the half-black half-white people and half-white half-black people hating on each other. It really did demonstrate the absurdity of hate based on skin color.

      Didn’t Frank Gorshin (The Riddler in the old Batman TV series) guest star in that episode?

      Yes he did.

        Quote  Reply

    23. Ah sh*t, here we go again…

      Asians are about 60% of the world population, so why not asian Targaryens?

      And why not black actors in Parasite? #OscarsSoKorean

      Jesus… [or should I say God(dess) X?]

      Let’s change perspective for once. If you can’t relate with a white actor, then maybe the problem is your lack of imagination and empathy. I’m a straight white man from Italy and I felt deeply involved with the characters of series like Atlanta, When They See Us, with the women of Big Little Lies and OITNB, with every love story – hetero or homo – in Sex Education, etc… I can relate with people from different countries, cultures, gender, skin… What’s the problem with a series full of whites?

      I think people should rather ask for more series like Atlanta, Sex Education and the others I mentioned. Ask for more, don’t annoy other people with unnecessary PC, it’s counterproductive. Luckily, there are more series with black/asian/women/gay characters nowadays. More diversity than ever. That’s good! Ask for more! I’d be happy to see more of that! 😀

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    24. Thank you for the article – always good to find new material here! As someone introduced to the story by GOT, it hadn’t occurred to me that the new series would clearly need to be anthology style because the source material is a fictional history. I hope I can get invested in season after season of different conquering Targs. There are enough “leaders behaving badly” in the real world to see a never ending parade of them in Westeros!

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    25. I don’t know why should it matter how many males, females, blacks, whites, yellow, straight, gay, young, old, etc. characters or crew members are ? I don’t care as long as the story makes sense.
      When you have a girl who was raped say “without Ramsey and the rest I would have stayed a little bird” you really, really, really, need a woman’s eye on that script.

      As for the House of the Dragon, well, this is how I see it:
      Season 1 – Aegon’s Conquest. Ends with forging of the Iron Throne. Not sure if 10 hours are enough though…
      Season 2 – Aenys and Maegor. Ends with Maegor’s death.
      Season 3 – Jaehaerys and Alysanne. Ends with the great council of Harrenhal and Jaehaerys’s death.
      Season 4 – Dance of Dragons prologue…Ends with King Viserys’s death.
      Season 5 – Political Dance of Dragons. It can easily be stretched until the death of prince Lucerys.
      Season 6 – Full Dance of the Dragons War. Ends as we all know…

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    26. Iul,

      ”When you have a girl who was raped say “without Ramsey and the rest I would have stayed a little bird” you really, really, really, need a woman’s eye on that script.”

      💯 %
      I (too) thought that scene was tone-deaf.
      Sansa & Sophie deserved better. Sandor & Rory deserved better.

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    27. This diversity talk is a little excessive at this point. There was no issue with diversity on Game of Thrones. Several characters that are white in the books were black in the show. Areo Hotah, Salladhor Saan, Xaro Xhoan Daxos, and others.

      Grey Worm and Missandei were two very prominent characters of color. Many Dothraki were played by actors of Middle Eastern, Indian, and African descent (see a couple of Somali girls who were cast in Season 6 as former Khaleesis in Khal Moro’s Khalasar).

      The Martells were also played by actors of various backgrounds. Indira Varma is part Indian, Pedro Pascal is Chilean, Alexander Siddig is part Sudanese, and Jessica Henwick’s mother is Chinese Singaporean, while her father is part Zambian.

      There are many other examples as well.

      Game of Thrones had a very international cast, and we need to stop exaggerating this so-called lack of diversity. It really wasn’t that bad at all.

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    28. Ten Bears,

      Hey, if you can’t make a dark personal statement in a conversation with Sandor Frickin’ Clegane, then when can you make it? 😉

      Seriously, Sansa’s sardonic take on her travails was pretty consistent. Telling Tyrion “you were the best of them,” and saying the Purple Wedding “had its moments” — each time with a smile on her face! — showed how well she’d survived. (Sansa was the major character I liked least, but that line about Joffrey’s death was my all-time favorite of hers.)

        Quote  Reply

    29. What about Deborah Chow directing a few episodes? She directed what are arguably the best episodes of The Mandalorian (chapter 7 was totally brilliant), and is now directing the Obi-wan show for Disney+. HBO should at least approach her and see if she’s interested in principle.

        Quote  Reply

    30. This article is a bit confusing. While “diversity” was part of the criticism along with sexism, a good story has nothing to do with diversity per se. Diversity appeals to the modern viewers and especially those who are sensitive about it, but a good story appears to the entire world.
      If they manage to give us a complex story with well fleshed out characters, coherence and inner logic, then and only then it will be a successful show. If GoT season 8 failed story-wise, it wasn’t because of “diversity” but because they sacrificed logic for shock impact and coherence for commercial reasons.
      [Am I supposed to believe that HBO wasn’t involved in this? No way; it was their fault, they let it happen. They sacrificed the story for gain].

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    31. I like a lot of what Kevin and Chilli said.

      Touching upon what Iul said above, perhaps a woman’s hand in some of the scripting for the female characters would have helped. Not simply because they’re women and possess XX chromosomes but perhaps, if they’ve been in these (or similar) situations as women, they’d have some helpful insight into some of the interactions between female characters and their characterizations on some things.

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    32. Ten Bears,

      An actual rape survives I know weren’t. Instead you just claimed I’m lying. Go to Jessica Chastains tweet criticizing that line and look at all the people saying they were rape survivors defending it. I have spoken with many people who didn’t take any issue with it.

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    33. Mr Derp,

      Daenerys didn’t go over the edge: she was pushed into a corner. Daenerys had two goals: 1) fulfill her familial obligations and retake the Iron Throne; and, 2) be a great liberator. As always happened in this story, she had to choose one or the other after Sansa stabbed her in the back by spilling Jon’s heritage. (Of course, Jon gets major idiot points for telling her: but that was basically Ned honorably telling Cersei to flee for her life being replayed). If Daenerys does what she wants to do, then Sansa and others learn that Daenerys will not go as far as she can: and thus she cannot do what she needs to do (i.e., uphold familial duty).

      And that meant that Daenerys needed a Dresden or Nagasaki. Those were just like torching Kings Landing: tactically pointless (Dresden was not a military target and Japan was going to surrender) but strategically important (the Soviets saw what the West could and would do).

      However, that also meant that Daenerys could fulfill one goal only by sacrificing the other: and that was the story in a nutshell. (Jon’s fateful choice to tell Sansa followed the same lines: he felt obliged to be both truthful to his family and to be loyal to his vows; doing one meant undoing the other; but had he not done that, then Daenerys would not have had to make her choice. However, that kind of domino-effect is very common in multiprotagonist stories.)

      Now, we might not like what Daenerys did. However, we also have to look at the world that was developed: and wiping out of big chunks of populations as punishment for what rulers did was considered fair-play. After all, didn’t Tywin Lannister do it at least twice, and criticize someone for failing to do it at least once? People thought him ruthless: but nobody considered him “dishonorable” (= “immoral”.)

      That problem was not the story, but the plot. Martin jumped down the rabbit hole of the Scouring of the Shire plot structure by not having all of the story tied up with the defeat of the Walkers. After that happened, we needed denouement: just as we were all grabbing our coats and getting ready to leave after the Ring went into the fire, the audience was ready for some sort of Grey Havens analog after Arya knifed the NK. There was not enough time to properly develop what happened next, and at that point, the show really had exhausted itself: there would have been no appetite for another season.

      And that’s still one of my two biggest criticisms of the final season. One was that there was no “why” to the Walkers. (And, no, wanting to destroy memory was not a “why,” that was a “what”: the story demanded that there be some “why” to which we could relate and that demanded some “damned if you do or don’t” from the primary protagonists.)

      And the other was that the showrunners needed to eviscerate the plot Martin gave them and convert Scouring into Aleppo (i.e., a three-way battle of Walkers vs. Daenerys+Jon vs. Lannisters) and make Daenerys’ & Jon’s big “can’t have it both way” choices center on that. (For comparisons sake, Return of the King would have won zero Oscars had it shoehorned Scouring onto the end: and Benioff & Weiss needed to do what Jackson & Co. did.)

      But, then: you’ve probably all read this before!

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    34. I believe HBO has learned a great deal from their Game of Thrones experience and will take steps both to please the fans and avoid criticism and/or controversies, as much as they can.
      In fact, a sign that the producers and the showrunners are moving in the right direction is the fact they’ve put together a writer’s room including two women (Claire Kiechel and Ti Mikkel).”

      I think this is key here. Learning from past mistakes, and building diverse talent behind the camera leaves me with optimism for House of the Dragon. I personally did not care for the episodes Dave Hill wrote in the later seasons of GoT – they just seemed so sophomoric compared to the more seasoned writers. I always felt GoT could have benefited from having women writers and directors.

      “Karyn Kusama, of Girlfight and The Invitation fame, recently worked with HBO directing an episode for The Outsider miniseries.”

      Which has been fantastic!! I love me some Cynthia Erivo.

      “The Targaryens interact with dozens of different people, both friends and foes, from different places and cultures other than Westeros.”

      Exactly! I associate Targaryens with Essos and those interactions with Essos are still present in Westeros, so if anything, I think House of the Dragon has the potential to be a lot more diverse.

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    35. Always good to read your thoughts again, sir!

      Wimsey: Of course, Jon gets major idiot points for telling her: but that was basically Ned honorably telling Cersei to flee for her life being replayed).

      And the plot ensured the news would get out even if Jon kept his mouth shut, by having Dany egregiously kill the one person, Dickon Tarly, whose death would ensure Sam would spill the beans. (Having two characters obtain the same correct information from different sources is rare in the show; Loras’ sexuality being the only other example I can recollect.) This forces Jon to tell, because he knows Sam will if he does not.

      There was not enough time to properly develop what happened next,

      I respectfully disagree. It had all been set up in previous seasons. Dany had a serious and chronic affinity for killing anyone who displeased her, even when, as noted above, the killing was truly unnecessary.

      Martin jumped down the rabbit hole of the Scouring of the Shire plot structure by not having all of the story tied up with the defeat of the Walkers.

      He listed the two existential threats to Westeros, in order of appearance and of disposal, right there in the title: “A Song of Ice and Fire.”

      … there was no “why” to the Walkers.

      Leaf partly explained the “why” in dialog, and inscriptions on Dragonstone confirmed the rest. The Children had (correctly) understood that it was either them or the First Men surviving on Westeros, so they made a weapon to commit genocide against the First Men. Their weapon escaped their control and turned on them, so they and the First Men combined to drive this new threat north into the now-frozen wasteland their ice magic had created. (As with Dany’s decision to ‘liberate’ King’s Landing with fire, the cure proved more fatal than the disease.)

      …the story demanded that there be some “why” to which we could relate and that demanded some “damned if you do or don’t” from the primary protagonists.

      No. The WW threat was existential, not merely political or military. It gave urgency to a struggle for power which, like actual feudal history, is mostly an overblown soap opera. The response to it therefore could also differ in kind, i.e. be simple and without any downstream consequence.

      The other existential threat appears right after the WW are defeated, and again is a remorseless threat: Dany’s going to burn the entire world down into ashes if she’s not stopped immediately, and like the NK, she cannot be reasoned with. Therefore, there is no “down side” to Jon’s knifing of her; his “punishment” is what he really wants anyway, which is to range north and forget all about the Kingdoms.

      … the showrunners needed to eviscerate the plot Martin gave them and convert Scouring into Aleppo…

      Martin has said all along he wrote “A Song of Ice and Fire” with reference to “Lord of the Rings,” and therefore a “Scouring of the Shire” ending was important. Having the producers end the tale in a way not faithful to the original artist’s vision would have horribly maimed their work of art in the name of mere fan service.

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    36. Sean C.: There is no suggestion of this in the narrative.Jon tells only because he feels he cannot lie to his family.

      True. And he also yacks because he naively thinks his sisters will keep the secret (though Dany correctly warns that Sansa won’t).

      And even while reaffirming “you are my Queen” and that he won’t pursue a claim to the throne, he disregards his queen’s express wishes to say nothing, and blabs to his sisters right away. [Query: Does a vassal have the right to second-guess a monarch’s reasoning, and then do whatever he wants?]

      Though Jon disagreed, Dany explained that what Jon wants or doesn’t want won’t matter once the secret is disclosed, as people would use it (and use him) to further their own agendas. Dany was right about that too: Sansa, Varys and Tyrion all sought to depose her.

      Jon did not tell his sisters to preempt their learning of it from another source.* His decision to do so was short-sighted, naive, and contemptuous.

      Frankly, once Jon learned that his “father” Ned Stark had kept the secret for so many years, even though it meant lying to his wife and children, I thought Jon might be a little more circumspect about his need to tell his sisters.

      Ned had considered the repercussions of disclosure, including the threat posed to the current monarch’s legitimacy. I thought Sam had made that clear to Jon, i.e., Ned had told nobody for Jon’s own protection. I don’t understand why Jon was in such a rush to not only countermand his Queen, but to blithely disregard the prudence of (the man he knew and admired as) his father.

      * I too am unaware of anything suggesting Sam’s knowledge of the truth “forces Jon to tell because he knows Sam will tell if he does not.” To the contrary, I thought Sam was safeguarding this confidence, and it was up to Jon to decide whether and when to divulge it.

      • If anything. I questioned the urgency in telling Jon to begin with, i.e., Bran insisting to Sam, “We have to tell him,” or [something like] “he has to know the truth.”

      Why? What was the rush? The WWs were on the move. Dany was on her way with Jon to defend against this existential threat. Why did Bran believe it was so imperative to throw a hand-grenade into the Targaryen line of succession at such a perilous moment?
      Under different circumstances, and at the right time and place, I can understand a brother would want to let his bastard half-brother know that he wasn’t a bastard after all, and that they were really cousins. But that is not what motivated Bran.

      So, what was it?

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    37. Tensor the Mage, Still Loving the Ending:
      Ten Bears,

      Hey, if you can’t make a dark personal statement in a conversation with Sandor Frickin’ Clegane, then when can you make it? 😉

      Seriously, Sansa’s sardonic take on her travails was pretty consistent. Telling Tyrion “you were the best of them,” and saying the Purple Wedding “had its moments” — each time with a smile on her face! — showed how well she’d survived. (Sansa was the major character I liked least, but that line about Joffrey’s death was my all-time favorite of hers.)

      Yeah, I liked Sansa’s line that the Purple Wedding “had its moments,” and its droll delivery by Sophie. I think I may have voted for that as Funniest Quote in the wotw Awards.

      Oh, and let’s not forget Sansa telling the Hound how she dispatched Ramsay – by feeding him to his hounds. That got a little smile out of Sandor.

      Still, I didn’t like the rest of the Sansa-Sandor exchange. First of all, their reunion was delayed too long and it was too brief. I am definitely NOT a “SanSan shipper.” However, given their established history together from the beginning of S1 through the Battle of the Blackwater in S2e9 (and the callbacks to their relationship in Sandor’s S3-S4 travels with Arya), I thought the Sansa-Sandor reunion warranted more emotional heft and screentime.

      I also cringed at the dialogue. Though Sandor is not Mr. Sensitivity, he would not greet her after all that time by volunteering that he’d heard she had been “broken in rough.” That was ugly.
      His observation that she would’ve been spared the harrowing experiences she suffered at the hands of LF and Ramsay had she accepted his offer to take her away from KL, was in SandorSpeak an expression of regret and compassion.

      Her response was ugly. I understand there are different perceptions about how she responded, i.e., she’d still be a “little bird” were it not for those harrowing experiences. I don’t want to reignite the debate whether it played into the stupid cliche of rape and abuse as a plot device for female empowerment. I’ll just say that because there were varying perceptions, that suggests the dialogue could have been refined so it couldn’t be construed as asserting “getting raped made me a strong woman.”

      Damn it. I guess I’m just a little disappointed that their reunion scene was so abbreviated and short on compassion. Caveat: That’s just my take. Maybe you’re right: A conversation with Sandor Clegane is the ideal occasion for making “a dark personal statement.”

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    38. Ten Bears: I don’t understand why Jon was in such a rush to not only countermand his Queen, but to blithely disregard the prudence of (the man he knew and admired as) his father.

      I think Jon should have kept silent, even though I know it potentially meant withholding the truth from his family about who he really was forever. Dany’s warnings proved correct and it led to chaos. It seems to me Jon didn’t want to choose, thinking that he, Dany, Sansa, and Arya could live together with the truth. That once he vowed Sansa and Arya to secrecy, neither would betray the truth of his parentage. I think he had some blind spots where both Sansa and (in the end) Dany were concerned due to personal feelings. Jon saw them in different ways than Sansa and Dany saw each other, which is why I think Dany could see this situation more clearly. She didn’t have that attachment or relationship with Sansa, not like Jon did, who still viewed Sansa as his younger sister who he could trust to keep this secret to him once she swore it, somebody who he felt he also owed the truth to in addition to Dany.

      And I think that’s why he hesitated to forgive Sansa in the end. The finale script says he hasn’t entirely forgiven Sansa for breaking this promise while Dany views Jon telling his sisters to be a betrayal. I think both feelings are reasonable.

      However, I agree it was a short-sighted, naive, and a non-pragmatic decision.

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    39. Mr Derp,

      ”To be fair, pretty much every single plot point in the show’s run in the end boiled down to being just another push for Dany to go over the edge.”

      Hard to disagree with that. Missandei was killed off to cause Dany further agony over the loss of another loved one, not because of the color of her skin and not because of insensitivity that the character’s death would ruffle some feathers among the fandom.

      I have not been reluctant to chime in when I’ve felt the show was tone-deaf or non-inclusive, whether in its casting, on-screen portrayals, directing or writing. This was not one of those occasions. F*cking with Dany’s emotional equilibrium was an equal opportunity offender.

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    40. Ten Bears: Why? What was the rush? The WWs were on the move. Dany was on her way with Jon to defend against this existential threat. Why did Bran believe it was so imperative to throw a hand-grenade into the Targaryen line of succession at such a perilous moment?
      Under different circumstances, and at the right time and place, I can understand a brother would want to let his bastard half-brother know that he wasn’t a bastard after all, and that they were really cousins. But that is not what motivated Bran.

      So, what was it?

      To get the domino-effect in action that Wimsey referred to! 😉

        Quote  Reply

    41. Adrianacandle,

      “…[Jon] still viewed Sansa as his younger sister who he could trust to keep this secret to him once she swore it, somebody who he felt he also owed the truth to in addition to Dany.

      And I think that’s why he hesitated to forgive Sansa in the end. The finale script says he hasn’t entirely forgiven Sansa for breaking this promise while Dany views Jon telling his sisters to be a betrayal. I think both feelings are reasonable.”

      Well damn. For Jon to view Sansa as someone “who he could trust” has me flashing back to their scene at the end of S6e9 when she apologized for concealing the KotV (apparently for her own selfish reasons*) and he implored her [maybe not verbatim] “We have to trust each other.”

      Either he was an idiot for blindly trusting her again, or she was incorrigibly untrustworthy for breaking her promise and betraying his trust in order to advance her own agenda. Neither one of them seriously considered the wisdom of discretion and the ramifications of blabbing.

      In any event, if the finale script says Jon hasn’t entirely forgiven Sansa for breaking her promise, that’s not surprising.

      * I forget. Did the show ever provide Sansa’s rationale for concealing the KotV from Jon? (I am NOT talking about fans’ extrapolations or Sophie’s speculation.)

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    42. Adrianacandle: To get the domino-effect in action that Wimsey referred to! 😉

      So… Bran’s rush to disclose Jon’s parentage did not have any in-universe motivation, but rather, was reverse-engineered from the “Crazy Dany vaporizes a city full of people” ending?

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    43. Ten Bears,

      Good memory, I believe that is verbatim from 6×10.

      But yeah, I don’t think it was a smart decision. I think Jon has an issue with blind spots (in the books too. He doesn’t really anticipate the consquences of some of his actions, especially when he’s LC. He was blindsided by his assassination when he read the Pink Letter aloud and announced he was going to march on Ramsay, publicly breaking his neutrality as LC — despite his officers’ clear unhappiness with many of his decisions, despite Melisandre warning him of “daggers in the dark” and to keep his wolf beside him. He didn’t prepare himself for reprisal or really think through the consequences of this action).

      I forget. Did the show ever provide Sansa’s rationale for concealing the KotV from Jon? (I am NOT talking about fans’ extrapolations or Sophie’s speculation.)

      No, the show never gave a reason as far as I can recall :/ Sansa just apologized and Jon said, “We need to trust each other,” and that was that.

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    44. Ten Bears: So… Bran’s rush to disclose Jon’s parentage did not have any in-universe motivation, but rather, was reverse-engineered from the “Crazy Dany vaporizes a city full of people” ending?

      Personally, I can’t think of a great in-universe reason why Bran-Not-Bran wanted Jon to know ASAP. Like the KotV conundrum. I don’t think the intention was to portray Bran as masterplanning Dany’s downfall but I can’t think of a great in-universe reason for Bran’s urgency.

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    45. Part 1 of 2

      This is only tangentially related to a discussion about diversity. To be candid, I was looking for an excuse to shoehorn in comments about two actresses who I thought were impressive in brief scenes, and had hoped we’d see again.

      #1 Rila Fukushima

      Rila Fukushima was the Volantis Street Priestess in S5e3 who gave Tyrion that penetrating look that kind of freaked him out.

      • I had seen Rila Fukushima in “Wolverine” (2013). I thought she was terrific. She stole the show from Wolverine (Hugh Jackman). Here’s a brief clip from that movie (the only decent one I could find):

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zSBIvvFl7CA

      (I think she’s also be in the TV show “Arrow.” I’ve never seen it, so I can’t be certain.)

      • … And here she is in S5e3 of Game of Thrones, as the Red Priestess on the streets of Volantis who preaches to the assembled people about the Dragon Queen as their savior, before staring right at Tyrion (at 1:11 – 1:27).

      Was I the only one who hoped we’d see her again?

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    46. Part 2 of 2

      #2 Ania Bukstein, as Kinvara, the High Priestess of the Red Temple

      Here’s Kinvara’s only scene, in S6e5. It was a good one. She’s the only one who ever spooked the usually unflappable Varys.

      She left off with questions we never really got answers to: Whose voice spoke to Varys in the flames when the sorcerer burned his private parts, and what did the voice say to Varys?

      Kinvara seemed to know an awful lot about Varys. That was weird enough. She also talked about the dragons as gifts to Dany from the Lord of Light to burn nonbelievers by the thousands, and mentioned the great war(s) to come. (In retrospect, I hope she was not referring to the burned KL civilians as the nonbelievers or infidels…)

      I thought for sure we’d see Kinvara again. I had also expected a payoff to the questions about the voice in the flames, either from Kinvara or Varys himself.

      Anyway, I thought Ania Bukstein was excellent in her only scene as Kinvara: exotic, mysterious, and unsettling. So here is that scene from S6e5 when she visits Tyrion and Varys in Mereen at Tyrion’s invitation….

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    47. Ten Bears:
      * I forget. Did the show ever provide Sansa’s rationale for concealing the KotV from Jon?

      Because the plot required it!

      Adrianacandle: Personally, I can’t think of a great in-universe reason why Bran-Not-Bran wanted Jon to know ASAP. Like the KotV conundrum. I don’t think the intention was to portray Bran as masterplanning Dany’s downfall but I can’t think of a great in-universe reason for Bran’s urgency.

      That really is the in-universe explanation. The show is explicit that Bran knows everything that’s going to happen and is nudging things here and there to make sure they stay on track. If he wanted to stop it, he could do…anything, basically, other than what he does.

      The problem fans have is that this is really an incredibly dark notion that the show doesn’t even begin the reckon with.

      Nick20:
      This diversity talk is a little excessive at this point. There was no issue with diversity on Game of Thrones. Several characters that are white in the books were black in the show. Areo Hotah, Salladhor Saan, Xaro Xhoan Daxos, and others.

      Grey Worm and Missandei were two very prominent characters of color. Many Dothraki were played by actors of Middle Eastern, Indian, and African descent (see a couple of Somali girls who were cast in Season 6 as former Khaleesis in Khal Moro’s Khalasar).

      The Martells were also played by actors of various backgrounds. Indira Varma is part Indian, Pedro Pascal is Chilean, Alexander Siddig is part Sudanese, and Jessica Henwick’s mother is Chinese Singaporean, while her father is part Zambian.

      There are many other examples as well.

      Game of Thrones had a very international cast, and we need to stop exaggerating this so-called lack of diversity. It really wasn’t that bad at all.

      Grey Worm and Missandei were not “very prominent” characters. Missandei barely had any lines in the final season, most obviously.

      On the general question of diversity on camera, the showrunners did make sporadic efforts to diversify minor characters, but the show was overwhelmingly white in its focus, which you can tell simply by looking at the central cast.

      However, at the end of the day that is reflective of the source material, and it’s one of the more obvious areas where GRRM and ASOIAF “show their age”, so to speak. If you look at ASOIAF in the context of early 1990s genre fiction, GRRM made a credible effort in some areas — in particular, a roughly gender-balanced cast of central characters, something that wasn’t exactly typical. Racial diversity wasn’t a topic on his radar (nor was sexual orientation, another area where ASOIAF is definitely a bit behind the times now in relegating it to the margins).

      Joe Abercrombie talked about this in an interview last year about how some of these things really weren’t discussed in the writing circles he ran in when he started writing The Blade Itself in the early 2000s; but now it’s something he’s thought about a lot more, and also reflected on what he regards as shortcomings of his earlier work.

      You can see this to an extent in the later ASOIAF novels where GRRM seems to be trying to add in a bit more of things that weren’t in the earlier novels, but there’s only so much you can do when you’ve already set the foundations.

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    48. Ten Bears,

      Missandei was killed off to cause Dany further agony over the loss of another loved one…

      Her death was perfectly in line with many other of Cersei’s pointlessly antagonistic — and, ultimately self-defeating — actions. Yes, it caused Dany further loathing of the population she had intended to rule, but did any viewer actually think Missandei would survive her captivity?

      Also, let’s recall Missandei was captured because of Dany’s blithe ignorance of her enemies, and what they could do. There was absolutely no need to send Missandei on that journey in the first place, and that failure of leadership was entirely Dany’s. She, too, had a history of poor leadership causing her some easily-avoidable problems.

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    49. I fully appreciate this is a sensitive subject and I am not for a moment going to suggest diversity is a bad thing or something which should not be aimed for but people complaining that Missandei shouldn’t have died simply because of the colour of her skin is ridiculous. Sorry to start on a negative note but that irks me.

      For me diversity should be organic and not forced irrespective of gender or skin colour. Game of Thrones I felt largely did that, for example it had a lower representation of Asian/Oriental people because according to the History of Westeros those people live largely in the far East of Essos. Equally up North by the wall should be largely white people and in Essos or Dorne more darker skin tone, I felt the show managed that. The show also gave strong female leads in Cersei, Dany, Yara, yes some turned out evil but so did some of the guys.

      I do like your point about female directors, there really does seem to be under representation in this space and I see no logical reason why. If the show runners can find someone with the right talent I would fully endorse they are given the chance.

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    50. Jon Snowed,

      If the show rarely killed character’s then all of a sudden killed one of the only characters of color I could see people being irritated about that. The show however is notorious for killing characters so complaining GOT killed of a character is like complaining steak is on the menu at a steakhouse. Complaining how they died is fine even if I disagree but saying they killed of a person of color therefore it’s problematic is ridiculous.

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    51. Ten Bears: Was I the only one who hoped we’d see her again?

      I would have liked to see much more of the Lord of Light cult in general. Perhaps they could be worked into this new project, with links to the Targaryens, or perhaps the state religion of Valeria. It would also be great to see Dorne re-done and expanded. So much potential with this prequel!

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    52. Sean C.: There is no suggestion of this in the narrative.Jon tells only because he feels he cannot lie to his family.

      I took it as inferred, and reinforcing his belief he needs to tell his family. (He and Sam know each other pretty well, after all.) If you have a different interpretation, that works for me. As you wrote, there’s no hard evidence from the narrative on it one way or the other.

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    53. I get points about “positive discrimination” and how many minorities are made uncomfortable by it. I get it…but….
      1) It is about removing the blocks from personal perceptions and trying to see where automatic judgments are unconsciously inefficient and then deliberately seeking to rebalance and move to more efficient outcomes. It acknowledges that it is almost impossible to be automatically neutral – we all have biases.
      2) I think if done thoughtfully, it is not “discrimination” at all. It is an effort to improve selection and makes good business sense. Among other things, it is a deliberate effort to correct for unconscious biases, to defeat the “halo” effect, to produce a better product/service by having variety among the creators and thus improving your business performance and help you to find uncommon talent where it is hidden in untapped places.
      3) Without care, it is like having a party and just inviting people around you every day. Not because you are a bad person, it is just quick and convenient. But if you thought about it more, then you may have remembered others that are “out of sight” and put together a more fun group of people.

      More on another post…

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    54. Ten Bears,

      Thank you for mentioning Kinvara and her spooking of Varys (and, to a lesser extent, Tyrion).

      She left off with questions we never really got answers to: Whose voice spoke to Varys in the flames when the sorcerer burned his private parts, and what did the voice say to Varys?

      Kinvara seemed to know an awful lot about Varys. That was weird enough.

      First she refers to Tyrion having heard her claims already, in Volantis — where he had heard Dany preached as a savior by another Red Priestess (mentioned in your earlier comment). This rattles Tyrion a little. Then, a bit later in the scene, she hits Varys with her knowledge of the sorcerer. But, as you noted, she never reveals whose voice it was, or what it said. Then I recalled how the story of Varys’ getting mutilated by a sorcerer was known to someone other than Varys — and that person was standing right there, in the room with Varys and Kinvara!

      Tyron was well-known, both for being a rich and powerful man from a rich and powerful family on Westeros, and for the reward his own sister had placed on his head. As a dwarf, he’s also easier to spot than most persons. (Varys specifically warned him about this as they travelled to Volantis.) During his voyage to Meereen, he’d drank heavily. He has a reputation for talking — talking a lot.

      The simplest possible explanation for Kinvara’s knowledge of Tyrion and Varys was that Tyrion had drunkenly babbled Varys’ tale of the sorcerer, and it had gotten back to Kinvara. Once she saw how rattled Tyrion was at her recollection he’d heard a public sermon in a public place, she figured — correctly — she could spook Varys with the story Tyrion had told. She was bluffing, pure and simple.

      Ten Bears,

      Still, I didn’t like the rest of the Sansa-Sandor exchange. First of all, their reunion was delayed too long and it was too brief. I am definitely NOT a “SanSan shipper.” However, given their established history together from the beginning of S1 through the Battle of the Blackwater in S2e9 (and the callbacks to their relationship in Sandor’s S3-S4 travels with Arya), I thought the Sansa-Sandor reunion warranted more emotional heft and screen time.

      As you noted, they hadn’t seen each other in years; furthermore, they’d each been through a lot since then. Their time together back then was not pleasant, so neither had any reason to recall it fondly. And they’d just survived a battle with an enemy that a southerner like Clegane would have grown up regarding (to quote Wimsey) as nothing more than a Northern fairy tale.

      Although each had suffered horribly before fighting the Army of the Dead, even the greatest human suffering pales before a supernatural onslaught. Hence their “ugly” dialog: they now had the luxury of being brutally honest with each other.

      (Although I hate the “rape makes you stronger” trope almost as much as I hate rape itself, there is a possible parallel at work in their dialog and its context. Rape has sometimes been called “a fate worse than death” for the victims of it. What better description could there possibly be for getting re-animated as zombie slave cannon-fodder for the Night’s King?)

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    55. We don’t know what book Missandei’s fate will be (and her book version differs somewhat from the show form of her character). I had begun to find “the little scribe” somewhat annoying by the end of ADWD (well I was finding a number of characters irritating by the end ADWD). Book Missandei’s end (if she does die) may be different to show Missandei’s.

      Still, I’m digressing. It’s true Essos may provide an opportunity for a variety of skin tones among the cast of characters. Though some (not all and I mean in general now and not necessarily on the WoTW website) people have complained about “The Witcher” and “The Wheel of Time” being TOO diverse in the range of ethnic origins of members of their cast. I mean – really!!! The lady who played Triss in TW had ONE black grandparent out of four and if someone hadn’t mentioned her ancestry I would assumed she was wholly white but there were still some folk who grumbled about her casting. It’s impossible to satisfy everybody.

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    56. Fully agree that Missandei is one character we can be relatively confident will be different in the books to how they were portrayed in the show. For example she is a young girl and there is no romance with Greyworm. Of course it’s possible that she will die in the books but I would imagine it would happen very differently.

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    57. Tensor the Mage, Who Knows A Tavern-Told Tale or Two,

      About your explanations for Kinvara’s knowledge of Varys’s mutilation by the sorcerer, and what I described as the unanswered questions posed by Kinvara, you wrote:

      ”First she refers to Tyrion having heard her claims already, in Volantis — where he had heard Dany preached as a savior by another Red Priestess (mentioned in your earlier comment). This rattles Tyrion a little. Then, a bit later in the scene, she hits Varys with her knowledge of the sorcerer. But, as you noted, she never reveals whose voice it was, or what it said. Then I recalled how the story of Varys’ getting mutilated by a sorcerer was known to someone other than Varys — and that person was standing right there, in the room with Varys and Kinvara!

      Tyron was well-known, both for being a rich and powerful man from a rich and powerful family on Westeros, and for the reward his own sister had placed on his head. As a dwarf, he’s also easier to spot than most persons. (Varys specifically warned him about this as they travelled to Volantis.) During his voyage to Meereen, he’d drank heavily. He has a reputation for talking — talking a lot.

      The simplest possible explanation for Kinvara’s knowledge of Tyrion and Varys was that Tyrion had drunkenly babbled Varys’ tale of the sorcerer, and it had gotten back to Kinvara. Once she saw how rattled Tyrion was at her recollection he’d heard a public sermon in a public place, she figured — correctly — she could spook Varys with the story Tyrion had told. She was bluffing, pure and simple.”

      —————
      – As for Kinvara knowing what Tyrion had “already heard before” on the Bridge of Volantis, you’re right. In S6e5, Kinvara’s attendant introduced as the High Priestess of the Red Temple of Volantis. It would make perfect sense that the Red Priestess preaching on the streets of Volantis would report to High Priestess Kinvara that she’d spotted “the most famous dwarf in the world,” and debrief her superior about all of the details of the encounter – the substance of the street priestess’ speech to the crowd assuring them that the Lord of Light hears their prayers, and has brought the Dragon Queen as His instrument of their salvation. So it would make perfect sense that Kinvara could throw in that tidbit to impress Tyrion, without being a mind reader or possessing magical powers. (We wouldn’t need a separate Kinvara-street priestess debriefing scene to make that connection: A Volantis street preacher reporting back to the Volantis High Priestess at Red Temple headquarters in Volantis would hardly be a stretch; such a scene would arguably be redundant.)

      – However, as to Kinvara spooking Varys with apparent detailed knowledge of his backstory about his mutilation by the sorcerer and the voice Varys heard in the flames…

      [To be continued. Sorry. Real world responsibilities beckon. 😡]

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    58. Tensor the Mage, Who Knows A Tavern-Told Tale or Two,

      [Cont. from 10:25 am]

      …. However, as to Kinvara spooking Varys with apparent detailed knowledge of his backstory about his mutilation by the sorcerer and the voice Varys heard in the flames: I am impressed with your creativity in suggesting that a drunken Tyrion, while in Volantis, may have babbled Vary’s backstory to someone, and it got back to Kinvara; and she then used that information spook Varys into thinking she had mystical powers, when in fact “she was bluffing, pure and simple.”

      I thought about that for a while. I’m not so sure we can make the assumption that Varys ever told Tyrion about what the voice in the flames said, and whose voice it was. We were never shown that Varys imparted those details to Tyrion. I’m not so sure Varys knew whose voice it was.

      It is possible that Kinvara was boasting or bluffing. Here’s a recap of Kinvara’s unanswered questions to Varys: “Do you remember what you heard that night when the sorcerer tossed your parts in the fire? You heard a voice call out from the flames. Do you remember? Should I tell you what the voice said? Should I tell you the name of the one who spoke?”

      Note: I have not rewatched the scene(s) in which Varys told Tyrion about his mutilation, and then showed him the sorcerer-in-a-box, to see how much detail Varys imparted to Tyrion, or how much Varys knew himself about the voice he heard. (My memory is faulty; I didn’t recall that Varys recognized the voice or could make out what exactly it said to him..)

      – Going back to the street priestess scene, by way of comparison here’s an excerpt of Kinvara’s later scene recital of the Red Temple’s talking points (propaganda?) about Dany as the Lord’s Chosen.
      (You were right that Kinvara expressly reminded Tyrion he’d previously heard those talking points on “the Long Bridge of Volantis.”)

      I’m still wondering whether Kinvara was giving a sanitized version of Dany’s S8e5 rampage, when Kinvara predicted that Dany’s dragons “will purify nonbelievers by the thousands, burning their sins and flesh away.”

      The three dragons vs. Masters’ Armada in S6e9 only involved flame broiling one ship and its crew; the S7e4 “loot train” attack by one dragon (Drogon) + Dothraki roasted a bunch of Lannister soldiers, but were they “nonbelievers” purified “by the thousands”? I doubt Kinvara was referring to mindless wights roasted by dragonfire at the Frozen Lake (S7e6) or during the Long Night (S8e3) as “nonbelievers” who would be “purified,” and have their “sins and flesh burned away.” Those thousands of wights were not atheists and had no consciousness of “sin.”
      What do you think? Was Kinvara clairvoyant, or just spouting the absolution-by-fire party line like Melisandre did at the bonfire on the beach in S2e1 when she (and Stannis) burned people alive for refusing to renounce their gods?

      *** Excerpt [from S6e5] ***
      Kinvara: “Daenerys Stormborn is the one who was promised. From the fire she was reborn to remake the world.”
      Tyrion: “Yes.”
      Kinvara: “She has freed the slaves from their chains and crucified the Masters for their sins.”
      Tyrion: “She did indeed.”
      Kinvara: “Her dragons are fire made flesh, a gift from the Lord of Light. But you’ve heard all this before, haven’t you? On the Long Bridge of Volantis. The dragons will purify nonbelievers by the thousands, burning their sins and flesh away.”
      ***
      Kinvara: “I will summon my most eloquent priests. They will spread the word: Daenerys has been sent to lead the people against the darkness in this war and in the great war still to come.”

      ———————————-
      For ease of reference, here’s the link to the video of the scene (again) followed by the complete dialogue. Apologies for any transcription errors.

      Ania Bukstein as Kinvara, High Priestess of the Red Temple of Volantis, on Game of Thrones, Season 6 Episode 5:

      • Link to video of Kinvara scene in S6e5 (at 1:05 to end)

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZVkMY8UXHNU

      • Dialogue of Kinvara scene in S6e5 [Mereen Pyramid reception hall; Kinvara has arrived in response to Tyrion’s invitation. Tyrion and Varys stand on platform at top of steps. Kinvara’s attendant introduces her.]

      Kinvara’s attendant (in Valyrian): “You stand in the presence of Kinvara, High Priestess of the Red Temple of Volantis, the Flame of Truth, the Light of Wisdom, the First Servant of the Lord of Light.”

      Tyrion (in Valyrian): “Welcome to Meereen.”

      Tyrion: “That’s about the extent of my Valyrian.”

      (Kinvara doesn’t respond)

      Tyrion: “Thank you for traveling all this way. I know from personal experience how uncomfortable the journey can be.”

      (Tyrion gives Varys a perplexed look as Kinvara still says nothing)

      Tyrion: “The truth is we need your help. We had hoped that we could somehow persuade you to –“
      Kinvara: “You don’t need to persuade me. I came to help.”

      (She walks up a few steps.)

      Kinvara: “Daenerys Stormborn is the one who was promised. From the fire she was reborn to remake the world.”

      Tyrion: “Yes.”

      Kinvara: “She has freed the slaves from their chains and crucified the Masters for their sins.”

      Tyrion: “She did indeed.”

      Kinvara: “Her dragons are fire made flesh, a gift from the Lord of Light. But you heard all this before, haven’t you? On the Long Bridge of Volantis. The dragons will purify nonbelievers by the thousands, burning their sins and flesh away.”

      Tyrion: “Ideally we’d avoid purifying too many nonbelievers. The Mother of Dragons has followers of many different faiths.”

      Kinvara: “You want your queen to be worshipped and obeyed. And while she’s gone, you want her advisors to be worshipped and obeyed.”

      Tyrion: “I’d settle for obeyed.”

      Kinvara: “I will summon my most eloquent priests. They will spread the word: Daenerys has been sent to lead the people against the darkness in this war and in the great war still to come.”

      Tyrion: “That sounds most excellent…”

      Varys: “A man named Stannis Baratheon was anointed as the Chosen One by one of your priestesses. He too had a glorious destiny. He attacked King’s Landing and was soundly defeated by the man standing beside me. Last I had heard, he’d been defeated again, this time at Winterfell, and this time for good.”

      Tyrion: “We’d be most grateful for any support you could provide the Queen.”

      Varys: “I suppose it’s hard for a fanatic to admit a mistake. Isn’t that the whole point of being a fanatic? You’re always right. Everything is the Lord’s will.”

      Kinvara: “Everything is the Lord’s will. But men and women make mistakes. Even honest servants of the Lord.”

      Varys: “And you, an ‘honest servant of the Lord,’ why should I trust you to know any more than the priestess who counseled Stannis?”

      Tyrion: “My friend has a healthy skepticism of religion, but we are all loyal supporters of the Queen.”

      (Kinvara comes closer)

      Kinvara: “Everyone is what they are and where they are for a reason. Terrible things happen for a reason. Take what happened to you, Lord Varys, when you were a child. If not for your mutilation at the hand of a second-rate sorcerer, you wouldn’t be here helping the Lord’s Chosen bring his light into the world. Knowledge has made you powerful. But there’s still so much you don’t know. Do you remember what you heard that night when the sorcerer tossed your parts in the fire? You heard a voice call out from the flames. Do you remember? Should I tell you what the voice said?”

      (Kinvara touches Varys’s arm)

      Kinvara: “Should I tell you the name of the one who spoke?”

      (Varys, spooked, gets troubled look on his face; Kinvara smiles back)

      Kinvara: “We serve the same queen. If you are her true friend, you have nothing to fear from me.”

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    59. House of the Dragon is going to have black characters. At least 66% of the Triarchy are black, and they take part in the biggest battle of the war. The Battle of the Gullet (which is like a westeros version of battle of midway but with armies fighting and dragons). Also an important supporting female character is black (Nettles) that will appear in 70 or 80% of the seasons. Also, Rhaenyra’s master of whispers is mix raced.

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    60. Iul,

      Lul, I took Sansa’s statement about no longer being the little bird as not referring specifically to the rape but to her negative experiences since the death of her father in general. The naïve girl who believed in romantic and courtly love becoming more savvy will obviously happen differently in the books. Luckily for me I never had the experience of being raped (not that I didn’t have a few scary experiences in my younger days) but from what I’ve heard such a nasty experience can cause the victim (I hate using the word ‘victim’ but can’t think of a more appropriate one) to be distrustful of men in general at least temporarily, though it doesn’t mean she can’t find a life’s partner and be happy.

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    61. Ten Bears,

      I just re-watched the scene with Varys, Tyrion, and (eventually) a sorcerer in a box. Varys does not merely tell Tyrion about the flames and the voice; those details are the focus of his entire story. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bn5pOYa-aQ0)

      So, how did Kinvara obtain her information? It could have been directly from the Lord of Light (who apparently provided a real-time HD video image of the Army of the Dead to Sandor Clegane, who wasn’t exactly a high priest of that faith), or it could have been a tavern/brothel rumor, courtesy of drunken Tyrion. Either way, she sold it like it was the former. 🙂

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    62. Who knew that a TV series based on the war of the roses in western europe would have white ppl! How wacist. This needs to be fixed.

      I also heard that a series on the Wu dynasty in China is only going to have Asians, so racist.

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    63. Tensor the Mage, Who Knows A Tavern-Told Tale or Two,

      Hey thanks! I’ll watch that clip of Varys, Tyrion and sorcerer-in-a-box later to see how much detail Varys imparted to Tyrion about the voice in the flames (or how much additional detail we can infer Varys conveyed to Tyrion off-screen.)

      In the absence of a follow up scene identifying the source of Kinvara’s intel, I’d prefer that Kinvara got it directly from the Lord of Light – to preserve her mystique. Kinvara repackaging second-hand reports of tavern rumors originating from a drunken Tyrion in an alcoholic blackout wouldn’t be as … interesting.*

      *As Melisandre admitted to Selyse, part of a Red Priestess’ bag of tricks is passing off naturally occurring phenomena as divinely empowered magical events. So yeah, I could envision Kinvara using info gathered by her subordinates in Volantis to buttress her own reputation as mouthpiece of the Lord of Light, and amp up her Red Temple propaganda at the same time.
      Her presentation to Varys made for a better story than “FYI Lord Varys: your buddy Tyrion was blitzed out and wouldn’t shut the f*ck up; he told a hooker and anyone else who’d listen all about the second-rate sorcerer who chopped off your junk and tossed it into a fire.”

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    64. Dame of Mercia:
      Iul,

      Lul, I took Sansa’s statement about no longer being the little bird as not referring specifically to the rape but to her negative experiences since the death of her father in general. The naïve girl who believed in romantic and courtly love becoming more savvy will obviously happen differently in the books….

      I along with many others perceived Sansa’s statement differently, while others shared your interpretation. I perceived Sansa’s statement as playing into the tone-deaf (and fallacious) cliche “rape made me a strong woman.”

      Neither of us is wrong or right. Let’s just say that as scripted and filmed, the intent of Sansa’s statement was ambiguous. That was reason enough for another pair or pairs of eyes – preferably from a woman’s perspective – to alert the showrunners that the scene might be misconstrued. (The same could be said about the Jaime/Cersei rape-not rape scene in S4.)

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    65. Who cares about the color of the actors skin. As long as people keep on caring about irrelevant things like this, racism will go on.

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    66. Savitar,

      That is quite honestly the most ignorant thing I’ve ever heard. Like much of the comments on this thread.

      Who cares? The people who are underrepresented care. It must be nice being able to see your face in literally every character on tv. Some of us don’t have that luxury.

      I’ve definitely disagreed with some of you during the time I’ve been involved with this blog, but this is the only time I’ve been embarrassed to a part of it. It’s disgusting the way some of you people think. God forbid we have our own heroes and stories… We shouldn’t always have to adapt to yours. If you don’t think EVERYone deserves their own, you’re exactly what’s wrong with the world.

        Quote  Reply

    67. Why do people expect diversity everywhere? This is a fantasy world, it’s not our world. Why should characters that are what they are turned into something else? Do people complain the lack of fungus-based creatures in Star Trek? Or black borgs? Or white klingons?

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