“Video” Podcast of HBO’s Game of Thrones, Season 5 Episode 4, “Sons of the Harpy”

And we’re back! I imagine this is going to be a somewhat controversial episode for us book fans…



46 thoughts on ““Video” Podcast of HBO’s Game of Thrones, Season 5 Episode 4, “Sons of the Harpy”

  1. Son of Fire says:

    Before i listen to the podcast ……..NOOOOOooooo
    Ser barri would never go for a walk when his king or queen was holding court,& without his armour in a city with an insurgent uprising occurring…..lazy script writing D&D!!!
    End rant
    Not on to the podcast 🙂

    • Son of Fire says:

      Wait he was never given armour in the show!

    • You can still get killed while wearing armor, but I feel your pain.

      • Son of fire says:

        Yeah from a broadsword,longaxe,or longbow arrow barrage…not a shiv.
        Ah almost 5 weeks later & it still stings!

        • Actually, a shiv is better for dealing with armor than any of those. Especially when plate armor became dominant, you couldn’t easily kill people with swords, axes, or arrows, and instead you primarily used those weapons to knock them down and then used shivs to stab them to death.

  2. Son of Fire says:

    A pleasure as always!good stuff.
    I also got the feeling that stannis feels guilty for unknowingly causing his daughters greyscale,a wonderful scene also they changed the location of the stonemen from the royne to the shores of valyria.
    The jaime/bronn scene’s were great as was jorah/tyrion.
    If bronn gets it this season who do you think will do it….areo hotah or the sand snakes?
    Speaking of sand snakes methinks tyene is elaria daughter & not nym but i don’t really care because the producers just cast obara 3 times!!!!!
    Back to my earlier rant on ser barristan,i’m ok with his death if they cut the battle of fire out of the show,he aced 12 dudes single handed but i won’t be ok with it if they do a twist on the kingbreaker material & give ser barristan’s role to fuckhead daario wannabe han solo naharis.

    • winnie says:

      Well one reason that Ser Barristan may have died just then is that the show runners wanted Dany to be making her next moves *without* his guidance…show she’s now without any good counselors.

      Also Daario may yet play a role in future events we don’t know about….like maybe conceiving a child with Dany by the time she gets to Westeros?

      • Son of Fire says:

        I don’t trust him,he was a bit too quick to speak up about protecting dany from hizdahr,maybe another arrangements was made in yunkai.That said i think those were second son’s getting whacked at the start of the harpy attack so maybe its just a plain ole boring romance story between daario & dany.In ADWD at the end dany definitely has a miscarriage after her flying lesson.I would be ok with tyrion & jorah doing the kingbreaker role though.Time to start watching the show as if i’d never read the books or i’ll go crazy.

    • Agreed about the Battle of Fire thing.

      I’m thinking Areo Hotah.

  3. Winnie says:

    Like your point about beginning the episode with people in boats is a visual cue to it being a transitional episode.

    Jaime’s storyline mirroring Brienne-nice catch there. And just like Brienne, Jaime is likely to soon find the princess he’s searching for doesn’t want to be ‘rescued.’

    We definitely got AFFC style Cersei in this episode. Notably even the Unsullied understood she was courting disaster by allowing the rise of the Faith Militant. It really is a train wreck in slow motion and oh it’s so good to watch. And yeah, Cersei smugly believes that she’s manipulating the High Sparrow and all the time he’s actually playing her.

    I think one reason they went to homophobia in the Faith’s reign of terror, is
    a. Cersei is targeting Loras Tyrell and she names him first.
    b. I saw echoes to the way gays have recently been scapegoated and terrorized in Russia under Putin.

    And yeah, Cersei totally failed to realize the political implications of letting the monarchy be seen buckling to the Faith…because Cersei never EVER thinks things through.

    A tradition of the Wall of people watching Jon Snow practice.

    “The second temptation of Jon Snow.” In between that and all the ‘witnesses’ to Jon, (plus his likely resurrection,) I’m getting distinct Savior storyline vibe here.

    Noting Mel’s mention of the Winterfell tunnels and crypts, (and seeing Sansa down there,) makes me think that Sansa will help guide Stannis and his forces into Winterfell…or maybe Sansa is being set up to make some interesting discoveries in those same crypts regarding Jon’s Mystery Mommy…

    The show definitely gives more backstory to Shireen/Stannis AND really pumps up their relationship…no doubt to break our hearts even more.

    Free Sigmund! As someone whose own kitty immediately starts crying whenever I’m on the phone I sympathize.

    Oh yeah, Sansa is totally going to turn on LF, by the time he sees her again…and Sansa’s status as the “last surviving Stark” is gonna be overturned by Rickon pretty soon.

    Jaime didn’t say “die in Cersei’s arms,” he said “die in the arms of the woman I love.” That could just as easily be Brienne.

    The Sand Snakes and Ellaria bore me. That is all. Well, ok one of the Sand Snakes was her daughter and the other two I think were by different women. But really I can’t be bothered to care.

    I agree with you-Jorah is going to take on Jon Con’s role and contract greyscale. And Dany’s invasion in Season 6 is going to be combined with elements of fAegon’s invasion from the books, only with DRAGONS baby! And good riddance to fAegon who just served to steal Dany’s thunder and give us yet ANOTHER failed regime in KL, which we did not need anymore of.

    • Son of Fire says:

      If he’s real or not Aegon is a fairly nice guy,he hasn’t ordered the slaughter of teenagers or crucified people!Dany’s not fit to sit on the iron throne,she gets pissed off to easily.
      If melissandre goes with stannis then she can’t be there to resurrect jon at the wall,maybe someone else gets resurrected….stannis?What if lady stoneheart in the show is Sansa???yeah big IF’s

    • I’m hoping to write something on Loras for Salon.

  4. Lars says:

    Please do something about the sound quality… The echos at the end made it very hard to understand what Steven was saying.

  5. One point about the valenquor prophesy; Jaime’s line in the show is actually “in the arms of the woman I love”, and with the show giving us a glimpse of Jaime looking off at Tarth longingly, I think there may be just a bit of wiggle room on who that may be.

    • Winnie says:

      That was my thought as well. I hold with the theory that Jaime is destined to be a LC of the Night’s Watch, and I’m hoping that the speculation that he conceives a child with Brienne, is true as well.

      • Crystal says:

        That latter would be interesting in light of the theory that Brienne is a descendant of Duncan the Tall – who, in that case, must have gotten a child on a lady of Tarth outside of marriage, because he joined the Kingsguard. (Unless he was widowed from a lady of Tarth and joined the KG afterwards.)

    • That’s a good point, I hadn’t seen that coming.

  6. Sean C. says:

    Not that I wasn’t expecting this, but I don’t like the show’s cartoonish and rather anachronistic take on the Faith Militant, which has turned what was a genuine populist movement primarily concerned with economic problems into a band of eeevil religious guys who we can tell are evil because they dress all in black, carve tattoos into their heads, and are primarily shown destroying stuff and murdering gay people.

    If you can get past the fact that Ellaria has no resemblance whatsoever to the book version (and what those choices say about the show’s approach to GRRM’s themes), I think the revised Dornish plot works fine. Jaime and Bronn are an amiable duo. I know the Sand Snakes got an unfavourable reception from some critics on the basis of this episodes, but it’s one scene, where only Obara really talks (which, granted, I suppose you could critique as not being a very good introduction).

    The Winterfell plot, conversely, provokes such conflicting responses, because I really like some of the imagery and individual character bits, but the plot that they’re part of is so, so stupid — and Littlefinger’s supposed plan just ramps that up even more, because it makes no sense, and is so clearly a writer fig leaf to get Sansa to replace Jeyne Poole.

    The Wall stuff continues to be unexpectedly strong (if, as the previews suggest, Stannis and co. are shipping out next week, I’ll be sad to see them go, as they’ve added a lot to the setting).

    • In the books, the plight of the smallfolk was given plenty of “airtime” that the show wasn’t able to do. It may be a mistake, but the show is simply re-focusing the Faith Militant to be a misguided tool of Cersei’s attempt to retain power (good TV) rather than Cersei’s misguided attempt to deal with the crown’s finances (bad TV) and simultaneously simplifying the motivations of the High Sparrow.

      I also think the idea of religious zealots willing to do violence in the name of righteousness being lead by a seemingly peaceful and charismatic holy man probably will resonate quicker with audiences.

      I think this is just an example of one medium being able to tell a nuanced story better than another.

      • Sean C. says:

        One could just as easily say it’s more about one author being more interested in telling a nuanced story than another.

        • Except there’s no other author here. There’s only one set of books. I’m surprised that you would discount the strengths and constraints of the two mediums so flippantly.

    • We’ve already seen of their economic focus, and we’ll see more in the future.

      I didn’t have a problem with LF’s plan.

      • Sean C. says:

        It makes no sense to send Sansa to Winterfell. If he wants Stannis to win, she can go to Stannis directly, and play the part that Stannis wanted Jon to play; indeed, going to the Boltons lowers Sansa’s capital, by associating herself with her family’s murderers. If he wants to wait and see which of the two wins, the smartest play is to simply do nothing at all — Sansa is so valuable that the winner will always want her regardless.

        That’s not even getting to how Sansa and Boltons’ participation also makes no sense for either party.

        • I disagree. I think the win-win makes sense – if Stannis wins, Stannis still has a obligation to keep her as the Lady of Winterfell, similarly to how he’s fighting in the name of “Ned’s daughter” in the books. If he doesn’t, the marriage alliance holds.

          • Sean C. says:

            Stannis wouldn’t keep her as Lady of Winterfell if he believes she’s a traitor, which would be just as obvious an interpretation of her presence there, since she came completely of her own free will.

            More to the point, both of those things would be true if she was not at Winterfell. Both Stannis and the Boltons would still want the Stark name as a rallying point. So what do they gain by taking the stupendous risk of going to Winterfell in the middle of a battle and siege? Absolutely nothing.

            And then there’s the ludicrous idea that Littlefinger knows nothing about Ramsay. Did they not talk or listen to anyone whilst traveling hundreds of miles across the North? Ramsay rides around flaying people publicly, and did so to major lords just before they arrived, in fact (they would have had to ride through the Cerwyn lands to get there).

          • Entirely disagree. Look at Stannis’ decisions re: fArya in ADWD/TWOW. Married to Ramsay, but going to rescue her, not “she’s a traitor.”

            And of course LF knows nothing about Ramsay – Ramsay’s only been the Bastard of the Dreadfort for two years, the Hornwood Affair didn’t happen in the show, and there hasn’t been a lot of North/South communication recently.

          • Sean C. says:

            fArya was a captive transported to Winterfell by the Lannisters. She was rather obviously a hostage. Sansa does not have that. She rode their on her own accord.

            Even if you buy the idea that Littlefiner would do absolutely zero research on this guy, they were literally traveling across the North for weeks.

  7. Petyr Patter says:

    At the Wall…

    So, Stannis seems confident in his ability to take Winterfell. Also, with the show telegraphing a fiery end for Shireen, I’m pretty sure she will be safe. Well, alive anyways. Either Stannis refuses, Jon or Davos intervene, or her dormant Targayen blood activates and she walks out of the pyre unharmed. That would be cool. As for Mel, it seems like she was looking to make another Shadow assassin.

    At Winterfell…

    So, Baelish seems like he is betting on Stannis. Except, Stannis would never work with Littlefinger. Littlefinger knows this. The show sometimes screws up character motivations, but I don’t think they would go down that route. I think that really creepy kiss? It was Baelish kissing her goodbye, because he was essentially sacrificing her so Roose could put together the men to beat Stannis. Anything else he told Sansa are just lies to keep her committed.

    It sounds like Littlefinger is on his way back to Cersei. I think he’ll tell her some lie about setting up a whore as Sansa Stark so Bolton could have legitimacy.

    In King’s Landing…

    This was a missed opportunity for the show. The Sparrows are religious extremists, but they are religious extremists reacting to the abuse (which includes rape, pillage, torture, and death) from the nobility, especially Tywin Lannister. Instead the show runners decided to imply one of their number murdering a man for being gay.

    Also, was anyone else put off by Cersei saying the High Sparrow’s lines from the book? It to me was almost a mission statement for the entire movement: the crown is suppose to protect us and the peasants, and instead it heaped terrible abuses upon us. For Cersei to say it is both highly hypocritical (which admittedly is totally in character for her), and denies the movement its own agency. This is the chaos Littlefinger, Varys, and Tywin sowed coming back in way none of them expected.


    So, are they going to kill Myrcella? Why not keep the original plan to Crown her? It works just as well, but makes the group seem less monstrous and more naive. As it is, who is going to side with a group who want to kill a girl for her last name? However, a lot of the fan base could get behind a group trying to give a girl

    • Crystal says:

      On Baelish working with Stannis – LF has to know that Stannis wanted to EXECUTE him should he become King. Stannis would sooner chop LF’s head off than look at him, and LF knows this. And it’s also very un LF-like to have him admit he has no idea about Ramsay or what he is like. I hope it’s not just an excuse to have Ramsay torture and/or rape Sansa on-camera for the titillation of the viewers. I for one will be sorely tempted to saddle up the noble Nopetopus and nope away to Nopetown if that happens.

      • Petyr Patter says:

        I am not disagreeing with this.

        I think by giving Sansa to the Baltons, he is giving the Boltons a way to rally the North to their side and oppose Stannis. Almost anyone else “winning,” would be someone who owes Baelish a favor. The Tyrells, the Lannisters, now Baltons and the Vale. Stannis is the one player he cannot allow to win. Well, Stannis and Tyrion, but he would appear to be neutralized.

        Hence, he is “sacrificing” Sansa so the Boltons can beat Stannis.

        • Sean C. says:

          That really doesn’t work either, though, because in order for Sansa’s presence to help the Boltons win it would have to become widely known, and if that happens the Crown will find out.

          • Petyr Patter says:

            I thought it was pretty clear that the Boltons are going to announce the marriage, otherwise, why bother? They are going to upset Cersei, and hope they are to far away for her to retaliate. Afterall, Stannis is close and coming, Cersei is far away. Plus, Littlefinger sold him on the idea of Cersei no longer being the royal authority, plus the Tyrells wouldn’t march to dispose Sansa.

          • Sean C. says:

            They can’t announce the marriage while Littlefinger is in King’s Landing, seeing as he was the one who took her there, and that would be obvious to anybody who looked into how Sansa got there.

          • No it wouldn’t. A very small number of people know that LF and Sansa have been together, and they’ve got no motives to tell the Lannisters.

          • Sean C. says:

            Like everybody in that inn? And Cersei’s message was (somehow) brought to Littlefinger at Winterfell.

            And for that matter, what exactly are the Vale lords going to think about Littlefinger lying to them and transporting her to the Boltons, and leaving her there?

          • No-one at the Inn both saw and recognized Sansa.

            Cersei’s message was brought to the WF by one of his own men from the Vale, so there’s not a problem there.

          • Sean C. says:

            Brienne said her name out loud for all to hear.

          • Petyr Patter says:

            Of course Roose Bolton can reveal the marriage while Baelish is in King’s Landing. He does not care about Littlefinger’s well being, he cares about getting the Northern Lords to side with him, not Stannis. There is no reason to go through with the marriage without announcing to the North Sansa’s last name. Bolton was openly questioning Bolton’s motives and his continued relationship with the Queen. If Baelish wants to go to King’s Landing, Bolton is fine with letting him deal with Cersei’s anger in person.

            And I suspect Baelish could come up with some whopper lies to distance himself. Such as “she is not really Sansa, just some whore I found who could play the part.”

          • Sean C. says:

            Er, yeah, from Roose’s perspective, but we’re talking about from Baelish’s perspective, if you think he gave Sansa to him in order to bolster the Boltons.

        • Sean C. says:

          Also, in the BTS materials, D&D discuss Littlefinger’s plans as genuine, and that he wants Sansa to be wardeness because he believes it will benefit him.

          • haplo6 says:

            I have to side firmly with Sean C. in this exchange. Show Sansa shed her Alayne identity in the Vale sometime ago. How does that not get out? The incident at the inn reminded me of the scene in which Cat captures Tyrion, which got out immediately. All the sudden secrets as to the last surviving Stark is easy to keep?

            Martin worked hard to construct a narrative that fit with the characters and world he created. The show writers admit that their motivation was to keep Sophie Turner in the action, which is fine, but it has clearly created plot holes. LF is a man who makes it his mission to know everything about everyone but does not know Ramsey Bolton is a monster? Give me a break. Both the Boltons and LF require support from the Crown in order to keep what they’ve gained (Harrenhal and Warden of the North), which is why fArya was a brilliant storyline in the books. When the show removed that component to the story, they removed a lot of the logic LF employs.

    • Regarding Winterfell – I think it’s more a win/win. If Stannis beats the Boltons, he’s marching south to KL, but Sansa will be at his back with the North and LF thinks he can use her to help beat Stannis, so that works for LF. If Stannis loses, not a threat any more.

      Regarding KL – I think we’ll see the High Sparrow being more active soon. Right now, he’s playing rope-a-dope to gain power, and he’s being smart by not showing his cards until he’s got enough.

      Dorne – we’ll see.

      • winnie says:

        Oh the High Sparrow is definitely trying to come across as harmless to Cersei for now….only so he’ll be the better prepared to drop the ax on her later.

  8. Tyene’s now Ellaria’s daughter in the show, which, given that Ellaria’s the main character now in itself I feel is a good change, as it gives the three Sand Snakes varying degrees of loyalty to her cause.

  9. MaybeBronnWillMarriedSpottedSylva says:

    This is my own over reading of Jaime thinking it’s Estermont and the look on his face after being told it’s actually Tarth. AFFC: Cersei VI recalls her dreadful visit to her in-laws at Estermont and Jaime confirms that Robert is sleeping around on her so she decides to have sex with Jaime. I know it’s another episode although I can’t remember which one, but in the show cannon, Jaime and Cersei don’t start having sex with each until after she married Robert Baratheon unlike in the books where they already have. So Estermont is sort of the place that TV Jaime lost his virginity so probably a place he associates with his love of Cersei. So it’s a subtle (so subtle that nobody actually meant it and I’m over reading it) that Estermont=his past love of Cersei and seeing that it’s actually Tarth=his new love (romantic or plutonic) of Brienne.

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