Thoughts on HBO’s Game of Thrones, Season 6, Episode 6


Thoughts below the cut, as per usual, to avoid spoilers:
Beyond the Wall:

  • Bran’s visions went by very fast, so I had to go to another site to find a frame-by-frame:
    • Bran sees the shadow of the dragon over King’s Landing again – pointing to Dany’s arrival at King’s Landing (which, c’mon, no way she’s going to Oldtown or some bollocks like that) being a big deal, since he’ll be needing her dragons sharpish.
    • Bran sees Aerys II, the wildfire, and Jaime killing him – what with Jaime bringing up killing the kinslayer earlier this season, his likely intersection with Lady Stoneheart, and the need for something to shake up King’s Landing, I’m guessing they’re setting us up the wildfire bomb.
    • Bran sees Ned dying, Robb dying, Catelyn dying, and a blood-covered hand which I’m guessing is young Ned at the bloody bed. So more foreshadowing for R+L=J and maybe a bit of a reminder for LSH?
    • Bran sees lots of White Walkers, emphasizing the present threat.
    • Bran sees himself falling. Just the catalyst for his awakening, or are we getting more weird time-travel?
  • Benjen turning up with a meteor hammer with a fire damage enchantment was pretty damn cool. On the other hand, this is probably the most blatant example of the show contradicting the books there has been yet: GRRM says Benjen is not Coldhands; Benioff and Weiss say he is. Death of the author be damned, I’m going to take GRRM’s word for it and say that Benioff and Weiss just merged the characters for a bit of cool imagery (although still no elk…) and a handy source of magical exposition, since they’d just killed the only other one.
  • Benjen says at one point that “the three-eyed raven is dead and now he lives again,” and Bran basically confirms he’s acquired the power of Brynden Rivers without any of the control. What wasn’t as clear, and what the showrunners explained afterwards, is that the Three-Eyed Raven essentially warged into Bran and is now a voice in his head. Which is as handy a way to do the whole Obi-Wan ghost thing as any, I suppose.
  • According to Benjen, you can reverse wighting by introducing dragonglass to the chest – which, given the show’s origin story of the White Walkers, makes sense. So why didn’t we have accounts of this happening before, given that the Children gave dragonglass to the Night’s Watch? Something to keep an eye on.
  • Bran’s going to face the Night’s King at the Wall, eh? Calling it now, this is going to be his Belly of the Whale/second act setback moment, where the Night’s King brings the Wall down at the end of Season 6 and sets up the final battle at Winterfell.

Horn Hill:

  • I liked most of this – Sam’s mom and sister being the kind of genteel ladies who don’t let class make them a bad person; Rickon being his father’s son but not fundamentally a bad person; Randyll Tarly having a face like a slapped arse and being a giant proponent of the patriarchy.
  • Gratuitous mention of the Umbers for some reason.
  • On the other hand, Sam changing his mind about Gilly and child kind of undercuts this whole scene. And stealing Heartsbane is just a weird WTF moment.

King’s Landing:

  • Very interesting political machinations here, but it’s impressive to see how carefully the High Sparrow played it by making Tommen desperate enough to do anything to settle the crisis, and then using Margaery as his way into the vulnerable boy-king. Again, kudos to Jonathan Pryce for just acting rings and rings around people.
  • I thought it was very ambiguous whether Margaery has become a true believer, is just acting like it, or somewhere in the middle. Certainly her speech about having been “good at seeming good” seems like something of a genuine sentiment. On the other hand, she’s still working Tommen throughout and it’s still not clear whether out of conviction or quid-pro-quo.
  • I suppose it all comes down to how you interpret “a new age of harmony, a holy alliance.” Is the seven-pointed star on the breastplates of the Kingsguard merely symbolic, is Tommen taking orders from the High Septon, or is the High Septon moderating his radical sentiments? The symbolism of the agreement seems like a very Margaery role – very focused on public opinion, doing good by doing well – but does it represent a real change of heart, or Margaery doing the best she can in the moment so she has an opportunity to shift when she (and Loras?) are no longer in custody?
  • Cersei’s going to have a trial by combat, which gets us closer to the death-by-Frankengregor I’ve been predicting.
  • Jaime’s going to Riverrun! Telling you folks, LSH in the house!


  • A bit like the play – which is becoming more and more a meta-commentary on the play, complete with the troupe master telling critics to shut up – I didn’t have a problem with the content of what I was seeing here, just the execution.
  • Arya’s spilling the rum and the appearance of the Waif behind the scenes were really poorly blocked and framed, and I have to say this has been a running problem for the House of Black and White plot since Arya got to Braavos. Neither the writers nor the directors seem capable of showing how a Faceless Man would infiltrate anywhere in an unobtrusive and subtle fashion. A case of underestimating the intelligence of the audience there.
  • Arya getting Needle back was a nice visual, but the BUILDUP TO DRAMATIC MUSIC AND THEN…nothing smacked of clumsy editing.

The Twins:

  • Great to see David Bradley back as Walder Frey, doing what he does best: berating his relatives, being old and gross, having a huge inferiority complex.
  • So not only has the Blackfish retaken Riverrun, but the Mallisters and the Blackwoods have risen up against the Freys as well! Sounds like the Riverlands rebellion I’ve been predicting got started a bit earlier than anticipated.


  • This whole bit with Dany winning over the Dothraki on the back of a giant damn Drogon dragon is exactly what I wanted out of Episode 4.
  • So did she just go as a slave voluntarily and could have called Drogon at any time, or what?

85 thoughts on “Thoughts on HBO’s Game of Thrones, Season 6, Episode 6

  1. I think Drogon in the show at least is reacting to her change of plan and attitude. No more half measures and locking up dragons to try and make people safer. Fire and blood. I believe that’s what they were getting at with Dario posing the conqueror vs ruler question.

    LSH is certainly more likely with Jaime going to the Riverlands but there is still plenty of people who could hold a grudge against Brienne for her part in freeing Jaime, the Blackfish for one. I would still guess 60/40 against but the odds are getting better.

    • I guess the reason I’m skeptical of LSH is that you can have too many Starks back from the dead and undermine the threat of death. I also think the threat of coming back wrong works better before Jon comes back.

      • Keith B says:

        The problem with LSH in the show (on top of all the problems with her in the books) is that Brienne is now in a completely different position. She can’t be accused of failing in her promise to take Sansa to safety. She’s already done it. She’s not wandering around with a commission signed by Tommen. She’s carrying a message from Sansa to the Blackfish asking for help. She’s now Sansa’s sworn sword. She no longer has any oath to Catelyn that she might be forced to break. How is LSH going to demand that Brienne abandon a mission assigned by her own daughter, in order to pursue a private act of vengeance?

    • I could see that. Still think my version works better.

      Given my past history with bets, 60/40 is not bad odds!

  2. beto2702 says:

    Nice post as always. Is it too bad if I am hoping for more Dorne screentime? I want to get some sort of resolution there.

    Also, I’ve read your predictions for the last two books, very well thought and am sure more than a few will come true. However, I did notice your lack of Arya in last book? What do you think will be her endgame? I mean, she is a very important character but doesn’t seem to tie to the overall final arch? Do you think she will go and die at the big event? Or will she confront one of the characters you left in the air (Boltons, Walder Frey, LSH)?

    • Arya is one of the ones I’m not sure about. The most I feel confident about is that “Batman doesn’t join the league of shadows,” and will probably reunite with Nymeria.

      • Andrew says:

        In the books, when she does, that is when I think she will stop using false identities an finally be publicly revealed as Arya Stark given direwolves’ strong connection with the Stark identities.

        • Andrew says:

          I think she pulled a Nymeria 2.0 and conquers the shit out of the South, starting in the Riverlands. She’s being set up to be an old school Stark leader- a warrior queen.

          I also think she gets a flaming sword out of mercy killing Lady Stoneheart, maybe Beric in the show, and fights Others in the final battle.

          • I don’t think that’s what the Riverlands trip will be about. I think it’ll be more about identity (reclaiming it by reuniting with Nymeria) and vengeance (being confronted with the ultimate cost of same).

          • Andrew says:

            Thats a big part of it yes but Arya’s more about justice and rebellion against authority/struggle for agency in the face of oppression. Her list isn’t about revenge, it’s about control, and that includes protecting the weak and innocent. Like Dany she immediately identifies with the weak and abused and strives to protect them, and when , not if, she gains political power through her name she will try to use it to fix things for the betterment of the little guys. That’s what her whole arc is about from Mycah to Joffrey to Harrenhall to the BwB and Braavos and the Faceless Men and he’ll even Nymeria name. They’re all rebels against tyranny.

            She’s basically a cross between Stannis and Daenerys IMHO and her time with the the Faceless Men makes her very well suited to play the game. I think she’s this generations Aegon the Unlikely. That no one considers her for the role of ruler or leader because shes not been involved before now is extremely limiting and likely part of why no one really predicts her future substantially despite her massive significance towards the plot.

            She has the name and the talents (hardworking, smart, educated, pefceptive, brave, strong sense of justice and personal responsibility for her “pack”, can read lies and act, said to make friends with anyone) to be a fairly phenomenal ruler.

            I will note that in addition to the Iron Bank-Stannis connection Arya is heavily tied in with the riverlands right from the get go.

            Further with only a single death any Stark could conceivably inherit Harrenhall, Riverrun, and claim the Twins by right of conquest. Arya could well be that Stark. I even sometimes think she could be the Younger More Beautiful Queen due to the Lyanna parallels- and if any woman could make Cersei feel inadequate it would be Lyanna 2.0.

    • olisimpson88 says:

      For some strange reason this episode gave me a vibe that Arya will kill Cersei at the end of season six from the way she viewed the play and talked with the actress back staged, just as she thinks she’s won or found a way out of her mess. Bam Arya is there to end her, something that wouldn’t be out of the woods for D&D to do.

      Though it wouldn’t have much impact due to Arya having nothing to do with Cersei directly throughout the series.

      But at this point who knows, Arya’s role compared to the other stark children as the events reached the final stage feels like it could go either way. Kill a few characters like the freys, Cersei etc. but get killed in doing so, or something else all together.

      Since it feels a little disconnected overall compared to say bran’s role, Jon’s and even sansa’s which no doubt is coming together in the sixth book.

      For some reason I get this vibe she won’t be reunited with the other starks, or at least not until the very end. Why I feel this I don’t really know, but i can’t shake this feeling.

      • I don’t think Arya’s going to kill Cersei – the prophecy makes it pretty clear that it’s going to be Jaime – but I do think she’ll meet her again.

        • beto2702 says:

          If she goes to KL I think she will have Ser Ilyn as a consolation kill. Maybe Arya confronts LSH and neither get out of it.

          • Andrew says:

            This sort of thing annoys me.

            Arya has the third most chapters of any PoV, is the only character to appear in all books, and the second youngest character. No way is she limited to just shanking a few people then dying, she’s far too important for that. Martin spent five books building her character for a reason.

          • Keith B says:

            I heard somewhere that GRRM’s wife told him he wasn’t allowed to kill off Arya.

  3. stephendanay says:

    Sam stealing Heartsbane makes perfect sense. He knows they need Valyrian steel to stop the Others. Also, “face like a slapped ass” is a great expression.

  4. Grant says:

    Yep, that Riverlands renewed war that should be so big! And had no setup and it doesn’t really make sense what with the Lannister and Tyrell armies on hand.

    And the Seven plot has problems because apparently no one was actually keeping tabs on either Sparrow or Tommen.

    Personally I don’t mind the Benjen/Coldhands fusion, just wish they’d done more to put the pieces in place instead of it being explained in part of one episode.

    • Well, the Lannister and Tyrell armies have been a bit distracted by events in KL.

      Actually, I loved that. Jaime et al. have been so used to thinking about Tommen as an empty suit that they forgot to keep an eye on him.

      • olisimpson88 says:

        Jaime is quite impulsive after all and generally doesn’t think his actions through. Not to mention he isn’t aware of the high sparrow has been doing with Tomen.

        For me I’m glad Jaime is finally heading to the riverlands after being on ice for two seasons while the show moves other storylines along, hopefully he will get to do his own stuff now and not just be around to advance other characters or plotlines.

        • Andrew says:

          The timing just reinforces my belief that Arya is going to be returning there for the finale. Too many loose ends even with the BwB excised… though why they fridged Gendry and just left him is… odd. I eppuld think like Rickon the fact he is alive suggests his future importancell but with these writers who knows.

          Also Light bringer was said to be forged in the heart of a Lion….

    • Punning Pundit says:

      I wonder if “coldhands” is a process, rather than a name?

  5. djinn says:

    Whoa, isn’t Jaime the worst Kingsguard LC ever! Kills Aerys, leaves a ticking wilfire bomb rest bellow KL, betrays Robert, loses the tourney of the Hand, fails to beat Ned, gets captured by Robb, defeated easely by Brienne, has Joffrey being poisoned on his watch, let’s lose his fathers killer, outsmarted by the Sand Snakes and now completely misses Tommen whereabouts.

  6. Tywin of the Hill says:

    This episode is one of my favourites, especially because the 2 storylines I find less interesting (The North and Meereen) are not in it.
    1. I think they way they told Benjenhands’ backstory felt forced. It would have been better to see it through one of Bran’s flashbacks. “Show, don’t tell”, D&D.
    2. I hated Horn Hill (the castle)’s design. It looks like a Renaissance palace, or a small Italian city. Not exactly the place where Randyll Tarly will live.
    3. The Mad King has no beard (a minor nitpick of mine).
    4. I’m pretty sure Margaery is faking it.
    5. Regarding Braavos: So any street actress can hire the Faceless Men to kill her rival? I was hoping that the poison turned out to be fake, and that it was just a test by Jaqen to see how far Arya’s training had gone.

    • 1. Eh, didn’t bother me.

      2. It fit the Reach quite well, just not the Tarlys.

      3. Yeah. Or bandages, or long nails.

      4. We shall see.

      5. She did some form of sacrifice, apparently.

    • Keith B says:

      I loved Horn Hill. The family who once owned the Castell de Santa Florentina, near Barcelona, could have been much like the Tarlys. It’s exactly where a powerful Marcher Lord might live.

  7. Punning Pundit says:

    I made the same comment to my wife about Drogon showing up a couple episodes late. She said that she preferred Dany being able to do things on her own, and that this is the first time we’ve seen her do something big without help. I don’t think I agree, but it’s certainly an interesting thought.

    I found it kind of hilarious that Book Dany goes through the entire final sequence of Dance to realize that “Dragons plant no trees”, and in the show Daario just basically tells her. TV as a medium has a hard time with interiority, so I’m going to let this pass…

    Sam: “Fuck you, dad! I’m gonna be a Maester _and_ wield Heartsbane!” Which. I mean. He’s going to have much more use for a Valyrian Steel sword than his dad would.

    Related: there’s no way in hell Randyll Tarly doesn’t chase Sam down. Maybe bringing an army that will end up at Oldtown at a convenient time?

    How many people watching the play in Bravos will connect the Tyrion character to the guy ruling Meereen in Dany’s name?

    • Tywin of the Hill says:

      Regarding your last point, I think news from Meereen travel very slowly to Braavos. Remember, as of Winds of Winter, Barristan still thinks Joffrey is the king in Westeros.

    • Keith B says:

      “Dragons plant no trees” is almost exactly the same as the Greyjoy words “we do not sow.” It’s not a good sign for anyone who thinks Dany might be the hero in this story. The books and show started her out to be the great liberator, but she’s become more and more like Tamerlane and less like Abraham Lincoln.

      • olisimpson88 says:

        I would love it if they did go with Dany becoming almost villain like conqueror and not being a hero. With the final showdown between fire (her) and ice (jon) with her and her dragons, army of her followers etc. With Jon and his legion of free folk, the north, vale and whatever he has to fight the dragons.

        Very unlikely to happen, but it would be more interesting and complex than the whole the two and their zoidberg friends, allies save the world from ice zombies and so on.

        • John G says:

          An army of freedmen being the “bad” guys would be really weird.

          I don’t think “fire and blood” is necessarily a bad thing. Aegon I used fire and blood to conquer and unite a kingdom. Dany will use it to crush the slavers and defeat the white walkers.

          • olisimpson88 says:

            Freedmen is a loose term I feel for the people that dany has claimed to “freed”.

            Really she has just replaced the slavers as the person at the top. She’s at best a benevolent dictator who lays downs what she believes is best for the people.

            They have no real say in where their lives go or what happens in Dany’s council, Dany is still part of the wheel she claims she will break.

            And we have seen her more and more show qualities that her father had in the last two seasons what with feeding people to her dragons, burning people alike and smirking about it.

            After all its easy to claim you are righteous when you have the weapons (in this case dragons), army and the power to implement your vision.

            The ironic thing is that Dany’s ancestors were partly responsible for the slave trade coming about in slavers bay, due to their dragons burning down all the trees and lands that once inhabited the area.

            Dragons plant no trees as you said above.

            I have no doubt the show at least intends for dany to be the person who saves the world and this and that.

            It’s been there form the start and it’s why I have never found dany interesting as a character.

          • Andrew says:

            Dragons and krakens appear constantly together in the books in various contexts, often asversarial. Don’t know how it will turn out aside from “bad for everyone involved” but methinks Dany is going to work with Euron on at least some level and almost certainly fight him at some point.

  8. Jim B says:

    My current thinking is: Tommen’s conversion is sincere; Margaery’s isn’t. And the High Sparrow knows it.

    Margaery is getting a pretty sweet deal out of this so far: she’s released from church custody without having to do a walk of shame or other significant sacrifice. She’s deepened her bond with Tommen, thus increasing her control over him, while removing one of Tommen’s trusted advisors (Jaime) from the board. Notice how we didn’t see any punishment to House Tyrell for marching an army up to the steps of the Great Sept? Mace didn’t have to give up his seat on the small council.

    The only thing Margaery didn’t get is her brother’s freedom, and I suspect that’s because the High Sparrow knows or suspects she’s playing him, and doesn’t want to give up his remaining leverage. Otherwise, he’s happy to play along, because all of these developments — Tommen and Margaery’s public declarations, the precedent of punishing Jaime for challenging the Sparrow — benefit the Faith.

    What I haven’t decided is what this means for Cersei’s trial. Presumably Margaery would like her to lose, so if there’s any helpful intelligence she can pass on to the Faith (does Frankengregor have a weakness?) I would expect her to do so.

    • olisimpson88 says:

      That’s my line of thought as well, though it would be interesting if some of what the high sparrow has told her has sunk into Margery’s head without her even realising it.

      How Cersei’s trial will go is anyone’s guess at this point. If the faith’s champion ends up being who many suspect it to be. Then it can go either way or I suspect it will end up being interrupted in some way.

    • beto2702 says:

      I know an open attack was not in the Tyrell’s best interest, but it feels weird how the whole “We came for Margeary and Loras, we have this huge army to make a point” turned to “It is okay if we don’t get Loras for now, we’ll just leave.”

      • Jim B says:

        But the original idea was that it was House Tyrell taking care of House Tyrell business, and the King (via Jaime) was basically letting them do it.

        When the King is standing there on the steps saying the High Sparrow is my friend, no problem here, then Jaime’s authority is overruled, and Mace can’t act without committing treason.

        I guess you could have had Mace yell out “what about Loras,” but presumably the answer would have “he has not yet atoned” or something like that. The explanation doesn’t really matter, because at that point Mace is toothless and everyone knows it.

      • Lann says:

        Yes but at that point they would have been attacking the king as well as the sparrows. That’s treason.

  9. Jim B says:

    Benjen’s comment about the dead not resting gave me a disturbing thought that I’m sure others have thought of, but I haven’t seen mentioned yet:

    Is there a Hodor wight roaming around now?

    • David Hunt says:

      I hadn’t even thought of that. Absolutely. You are correct. I don’t know if we’ll ever see him, but Hodor is still out there shambling around. He just has even less of a vocabulary.

  10. Keith B says:

    So Jaime is going to the Riverlands. I’m not usually a show basher, but this is just dim-witted. Has Tommen forgotten that the Sand Snakes murdered his sister and are now traitors and usurpers in open rebellion against his kingdom? Has everyone else forgotten that Tommen has a Regent and a Hand? In the books, when Cersei got into trouble with the Faith, she begged Jaime to come back. In the show she’s willing to send him away. Events in the show have moved the story far beyond the point where the Riverlands plot might have made sense. Now the show is simply dumping those events down a memory hole and resetting the plot back to book 4 when it should be well along into book 6.

    The idea that the Blackfish would be able to send help to the North because he’s retaken Riverrun from the Freys is just as silly. The show really wants to put Brienne and Jaime together, no matter how stupid it is at this point.

    By the way, if Jaime is no longer in the Kingsguard, isn’t he the Lord of Casterly Rock now?

    Does anyone else think Daenerys is completely insufferable? Someone needs to kick her ass, then give her the “this is why you suck” speech.

    Back in Season 5, Littlefinger was going to help Olenna to save her grandchildren from the High Sparrow. We’re now more than half-way through Season 6 and Littlefinger is in the North. I guess this is something else we’re supposed to forget about, along with Dorne.

    Samwell’s attempt to pass off Gilly and her baby as his mistress and son lasted less than a day. It’s surprising that they ever thought they could keep up the deception. (And the books have the same problem. Sam and Gilly have to deceive his entire family at least until baby Sam is fully grown. Not gonna happen.) What was wrong with the truth? He could have kept Gilly in Oldtown as his servant. And what makes him think he can get away with walking off with his father’s sword?

    I remember David Rintoul, who plays the Mad King, as Mr. Darcy in the BBC production of Pride and Prejudice, my favorite version (though not particularly because of him).

    Whatever happened to Bronn?

    • Jim B says:

      Interesting points.

      1. Dorne: yeah, not sure what the show is planning there. I could justify Tommen not taking any immediate action because Dorne is notoriously hard to invade and subdue, so it’s not clear what can be done other than to denounce the Sand Snakes, declare a price on their heads, offer other Dornish houses the chance at promotion to Prince if they take them out — none of which really requires Jaime’s particular skills. But still, a mention of some action being taken or discussed would probably be nice.

      2. At the time of Tywin’s death, Casterly Rock presumably passed to Cersei (as I believe was mentioned in the books?) It might be that, once the title vests in her, she can’t be “disinherited” by Jaime’s expulsion from the Kingsguard.

      3. Danerys: I’ve always viewed her as a mixed bag, not the unconditional hero of the story. She’s overcome quite a few hardships and shown some skills at exploiting whatever power was available to her, but her motivations are largely selfish. She wants the Iron Throne because it is “hers,” and if she has to unleash a horde of Dothraki to take Westeros apart to get it, so be it. When she was conquering Slaver’s Bay, it seemed like she’d finally found a legitimately selfless cause, but now we see that she appears content to leave that job half-finished or worse in order to get on with claiming her “birthright.” And I wouldn’t be surprised if Tyrion gets to deliver that speech you’re hoping for.

      4. I felt like the whole Horn Hill story was a waste of time. I think Sam’s exposition to Gilly pretty much covered it: mother and sisters are nice, dad’s an asshole with obsessive ideas about masculinity. Didn’t really need to see that illustrated. Plotwise, I think the only thing it accomplished was getting Heartsbane in Sam’s hands, but it did it in a dumb way.

      • Keith B says:

        Agree, in a season that’s far too crowded already, they could have left out Horn Hill. Worth it to see that castle, though.

    • olisimpson88 says:

      Personally after all the fuck ups with dorne stuff, i would be happy for it to not appear again on the show outside of the deaths of the remaining characters left in it.

      But yes they really should have done the riverland stuff in season five when it would have been relevant and easier to do. But what we got is what we got.

      Next episode i suspect will make it clear on Jaime’s position in the Lannister chain now hopefully. But as always this may be ignored all together.

      Dany is just Dany, speech, fire, freedom, mother, dragon, repeat. She’s a running track and will be one til the day the show ends.

      Was for Tarly stuff, apart from how long the scene went on for and for seemly like it was just for sam to get the sword, I did enjoy how Jaime Falknur go sam’s dad down, as much of a wanker as he is in the books.

      • Keith B says:

        There’s hardly been a bad actor in the entire show. That’s what keeps me watching, no matter how frustrating the plot becomes.

        • olisimpson88 says:

          The acting has been the strongest element to the show I feel. It’s allowed some of the weaker writing in places to be covered, along with some screens working that wouldn’t have worked otherwise with lesser actors.

          Not to mention that some nailed their parts so well that it’s impossible not to hear their voice while rereading their characters parts in the books. Especially for me Gleeson as Joffery, Dance as Tywin, Mark as Robert, Stephen as Stannis, Farley as Cat, Hill as Varys and Peter as Tyrion.

    • Sean C. says:

      Back in Season 5, Littlefinger was going to help Olenna to save her grandchildren from the High Sparrow. We’re now more than half-way through Season 6 and Littlefinger is in the North. I guess this is something else we’re supposed to forget about, along with Dorne.

      He gave her Lancel (somehow), which lead to Cersei’s arrest.

      • Keith B says:

        Didn’t help Margaery and Loras, though.

      • Steven Xue says:

        I’m pretty sure it was Olyvar who Littlefinger gave up. He was the one servicing Loras thus confirming his homosexuality and would have stood to testify against Loras in court. Although removing him as a witness didn’t seem to help the Tyrells anyway as Loras is still locked up with no way of getting out.

        • Sean C. says:

          The fact that there’s been no mention of that since rules out if being Olyvar, otherwise there’d have been some explanation for the effect of it.

  11. artihcus022 says:

    I have a feeling that the Tarlys are going to be composited with the Hewetts and that Euron’s Shield Islands attack will instead be an attack on Horn Hill. That’s the only reason Sam took Gilly and Heartsbane out, otherwise they would be in the range of Euron’s attack.

    I think instead of LSH, Blackfish will take over, and order Brienne to kill Jaime…

    • Sean C. says:

      If Euron attacking the Reach is in the show at all, they’ll just have him attack Oldtown directly (and Horn Hill is conspicuously inland anyway).

    • John says:

      Why on earth would Brienne have any reason to accept orders from the Blackfish? And why would we, as an audience, be invested in such a confrontation?

      Of course it’s going to be Lady Stoneheart.

      • Keith B says:

        Why would she have any reason to accept orders from LSH? She’s already under orders from Sansa Stark. Why would any Stark or Tully, even Zombie Catelyn, try to overrule those orders?

      • artihcus022 says:

        It’s just that George RR Martin has said repeatedly they cut that character.

  12. Will Rogers says:

    Any episode where Mace Tyrell does Mace Tyrell things is okay in my book.

    I still don’t know what GRRM wants to do with Benjen if he’s not Coldhands.

  13. gbajithedeceiver says:

    With public kinslaying no longer in disfavor in Westeros, I was kinda hoping Sam would grab Heartsbane* off the wall during dinner.

    I’m coming around to the theory that Danerys is going to go full-Aerys II on Slaver’s Bay, but will then (like Stannis) drive on Kings Landing with a self-righteous fury, only to (like Stannis) suffer a crushing personal defeat before she accepts that her destiny is in the North.

    * Not having read much other source material, I originally parsed this as “Hartsbane” for some interesting Baratheon symbolism.

    • John G says:

      Can you honestly blame her if she did go Aerys on the slavers? All those scum deserve to die a painful death.

  14. So how much of KL plot from here on out can be viewed as a riff on the Aegon VI sitting the Iron Throne in TWOW? Since it seems like GRRM is setting up a Sparrow-Aegon alliance after the Lannisters fall, will we be getting hints of that plot or is this just B&W trying to paint themselves out of the corner?

  15. Jared J. says:

    Are you going to do a review of the new Aeron Greyjoy chapter? It’s… intense, and pretty much cements Euron’s role as the human antagonist of the final act.

    It’s fully transcribed here:

  16. Brett says:

    his whole bit with Dany winning over the Dothraki on the back of a giant damn Drogon dragon is exactly what I wanted out of Episode 4.

    That’s what makes the scene so weird. Both it and the “House of the Dosh Khaleen Fire” scene are halves of a truly fantastic scene, but instead we get Daenerys awing the Dothraki with her dragon power . . . after she’s already awed them with her naked fire resistance, and gotten them to follow her anyways.

    Some serious misfires on execution this season, coupled with some very good scenes. So strange.

    I’m glad we’re finally getting the Riverlands, although it’s making it weird that they felt the need for a massive Dornish detour in Season 5 now. Why not just have Myrcella come back to King’s Landing with her fiance because of “danger in Dorne”, and then have her go down at the same time as Tommen (along with Trystane to throw Dorne into open rebellion)?

    • It did seem a bit repetitive, didn’t it?

      The Dornish detour seems to be about A. misunderstanding why people liked Oberyn, B. needing time to get both characters in place.

  17. Steven Xue says:

    After all this time I am glad they are finally doing the siege of Riverrun. For the past couple of seasons this is really what I’ve been looking forward to. Although now I can’t help but wonder what Blackfish has been up to the whole time. Since him taking Riverrun was a very recent development rather than immediately after the Red Wedding, I guess that’s something we might find out next episode.

    The King’s Landing plot was a bit anticlimactic. I was really expecting the showdown between the Sparrows and the Tyrell army to get ugly but instead we get Tommen removing the wall separating church and state and then firing Jaime from the KG. Seriously why anyone would allow him to continue to visit the High Sparrow without any supervision was just stupid beyond comprehension.

    • Apparently, the Blackfish has been taking history’s longest piss.

      I liked the lack of climax, it was so unexpected. And it totally makes sense, they’re so used to treating Tommen like a figurehead that they stopped paying attention to him.

  18. SpaceSquid says:

    The Needle points west.

  19. AWargDownMemoryLane says:

    “his whole bit with Dany winning over the Dothraki on the back of a giant damn Drogon dragon is exactly what I wanted out of Episode 4.” – here here!!! Seemed strange to split these scenes up. The Temple of the Dosh Khaleen fire would have been more effective if they mixed in aspects of this scene with it and then cut this scene entirely. It seemed needless when the Dothraki were already on her side.

    Other than that though I thought it was a good one. Brans visions and the prominent imagery intercutting wildfire, wights and Aerys booming “burn them all” was great if a little too on-the-nose in terms of fore-shadowing. Bring on the Riverlands plot!!!!

  20. Ser Biffy Clegane says:

    1. The playwright’s rant was exceptionally meta; I’ve always thought that the show’s weaker writing for some of the characters was saved by exceptional acting, especially in the case of Stannis and the High Sparrow.

    2. Speaking of which, without Brienne and Pod’s road show, I think the High Sparrow loses some of his oomph – by first showing us how the Gentry was failing to protect the people and the clergy, GRRM set the stage for the Faith Militant much more sympathetically than B&W.

    3. If we assume that the show has much less taboo against kinslaying, would it even arguably be a good idea to put Gilly and Little Sam with Randall? If Little Sam grows up to be the Bastard of Horn Hill, he’s always going to have a grievance against Dickon’s kids.

    • 1. Agreed, in a really passive aggressive way.

      2. Yeah, we don’t really see the motivation up front.

      3. It’s still relative safety, compared to the alternatives.

  21. John says:

    Benjen being Coldhands does not contradict the books. It contradicts a marginal note Martin wrote to his editor. Marginal notes to your editor are not book canon.

    • I think they are – they’re Word of Author in any case.

      • jreinatl says:

        Why does everyone assume that “No” is GRRM’s answer to the question, as opposed to an abbreviated note to the editor along the lines of, “No, we’re not going to deal with this right now,” or “No, I don’t approve any changes you may be suggesting”?

        Given that basically the only things we’ve seen him write on the manuscript is “OK,” “No,” and “STET,” I think it’s a big assumption.

  22. Punning Pundit says:

    I’m doing a rewatch of episodes 5 and 6, and I just realized that the leaders of both King’s Landing and Meereen have made deals with local religious leaders in an attempt to stabilize and legitimize their rule. I wonder if that’s a significant and point of comparison, or just a coincidence of story point?

    Certainly, looking for help from a powerful religious group is a time honored ruling class move when facing political instability. Even Stalin cut a deal with Patriarch of Moscow- and in exchange the Russian Orthodox Church became a de facto arm of the KGB.

    I do fear that Kinvara’s appearance will mean that we don’t get to see the delightful Morroqo on the show.

  23. Keith B says:

    I read the Mercy chapter again, and I have to say that the show is doing it much better.

    In the show, Arya has a genuine conflict between her desire to continue her training and her moral principles. You can see her struggling with it. In the chapter, there’s no struggle at all. She shows no hesitation in going after Raff as soon as she sees him. She knows it will mean the end of her training, and that she has not yet acquired the skills that will make her more effective in the future, but she doesn’t care. She goes directly for the immediate reward. For an author who proclaims his interest in “the human heart in conflict with itself,” GRRM seems to be trying deliberately to suppress any sign of that conflict.

    In the show, she’s very much aware of the play’s connection to herself and to people she knows, and she reacts accordingly. It’s true that the show makes the connection much more explicit by using the real names of the characters, but even in the chapter there’s enough similarity that she should be able to understand what it’s about. But she seems completely oblivious. In fact, she hardly seems to have any opinion about the play at all, except to notice that Bobono’s lines are better than hers.

    In the Mercy chapter, we have direct access to her thoughts, and they’re utterly banal and common until she sees Raff, when she immediately starts planning the assassination. We have no access at all to what’s inside Maisie Williams’ head, yet we are clearly witnessing a mind at work, thinking, feeling and judging.

    The show gives us a real, engaging human being. In the chapter, she’s almost an automaton. It idles along until something presses a certain trigger, when it suddenly switches into terminator mode.

    • Jim B says:

      I agree that the show gives us more of a direct conflict between Arya’s ethical compass and her training. But I think that makes for a less interesting story.

      The show is presenting a more black and white (no pun intended) view of the Faceless Men. Arya is sent to kill the Cersei actress, and essentially told not to worry about why. She then learns that (apparently) this woman is a nice person who is to be killed because another actress is jealous of her. There’s really no way to justify carrying out the murder other than (1) “just following orders”; or (2) a cynical willingness to do anything just to obtain the skills to kill the people who “deserve” it. Right away she’s being tasked with something that is pretty much an ethical point of no return, and honestly, was there much doubt in your mind that she would balk?

      In the books, it’s more of a gradual seduction. Arya is given assignments (or gives herself assignments) that she can rationalize morally. She’s sliding down a slippery slope of morality, and it’s much more of an open question in my mind as to where she chooses to stop.

  24. Bbq_HaX0r says:

    I’m wonder more about Samwell’s storyline and curious to your thoughts.

    How does any of Sam’s plan make sense? Isn’t he admitting his is an oathbreaker by admitting he fathered a child, especially with a Wildling. That’s a pretty explicit part of the oath (father no children). This doesn’t even factor in his introduction of a rival heir for Dickon, even an illigitimate bastard.

    As for his theft of Heartsbane what is he attempting to do? Sam said he never wants to leave Gully and Lil Sam, so does he plan on abandoning his maester quest and go run off to Essos? I get it’s cathartic for the audience to see Sam stand up to his father (sorta) and care for his family, but it seems an awful lot like Sam is cheating and I’m not sure the show is going to show us that.

  25. Chinoiserie says:

    You wrote Rickon instead of Dickon, in was little confused for a second. Maybe tinfoil but Hearthsbane could be how Sam gets Randyll to fight against te White Walkers, if he sends the sword to North Randyll might go with a army to get it and end up getting involved.

    I thought it was ovious from Natalie’s acting that Margaery was acting too. Her reaction expecially when the unexpected Tyrell army showed up shows that. But does High Sparrow know she is acting? And is Margaery willing to genuenly work with High Sparrow now to protect Loras and being Cersei down?

    I think still that while Benjen is not Coldhands (that never made sense, why would be not tell Bran) he might have experienced the same and will show up later. At least that has been my book theory for a while anyway.

  26. Ser Biffy Clegane says:

    Unless GRRM does something amazingly surprising to cut the WOW knot, it seems increasingly unlikely that he’s going to be able to wrap all this up in two books.

    Is WOW really going to have the Battle of Fire, the Battle of Ice, the Frey wedding, Jon’s resurrection and subsequent drama, Sansa in the Vale, Arya’s plot, the Dance of Dragons, Euron’s dread pirate ritual, Sam’s plotline, and an ice zombie invasion?

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