Thoughts on HBO’s Game of Thrones, Season 6 Episode 10, “Winds of Winter”

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Well, that was a hell of a way to end a season. Thoughts under the cut to avoid spoilers, as per usual:

King’s Landing:

  • While clearly some parts of this are very different from the books – Pycelle’s death at Varys’ hands being transferred over to Qyburn, Kevan dying of wildfire, Loras not being a member of the Kingsguard and not being on trial, Lancel not being in the Riverlands, Mace not being in the Stormlands – I think I can see what they’re doing in the meta sense. My guess is that they’re combining a few things – Margaery, Tommen, et al. dying at Cersei’s hands/doing and Cersei setitng off the wildfire bomb. Quite sad to see Natalie Dormer go especially.
  • The entire opening sequence, which played out like something out of a horror movie, from the slow burn in the Great Sept, to Cersei’s ironic torture of Septa Unella, to the children butchering Pycelle, to Tommen taking a header off the Red Keep, was astonishing and my hat is tipped and then off to everyone who worked on that.
  • On the other hand, I’m really quite surprised that Cersei is so blase about Tommen’s death. I guess they’re going with her either being dead inside or the prophecy about her children dying and then the Younger, More Beautiful Queen (who at this point is clearly, clearly Daenerys) “tak[ing] all that you hold dear” suggesting Cersei goes completely power-mad before the end.
  • I’m also very, very surprised at Cersei taking the Iron Throne in her own name. Not that I couldn’t see Cersei wanting to, but she’s got no claim whatsoever. Outside of pure despotism, why would anyone obey or acknowledge her rule? Not only is not the case that the mother could inherit from the son, but she just committed what in the minds of the masses is the greatest crime in Westerosi history (the simultaneous murder of the High Septon, the Most Devout, most of the court, her in-laws, and, as everyone will believe, her son).
  • With Jaime’s shocked appearance, it does seem like this is the episode where people leave for five minutes and everything goes to hell.

The Twins:

  • Well, no Lady Stoneheart, which makes the copious discussion of the Red Wedding, Catelyn Stark, Brienne’s storyline for half the season, the return of Sandor Clegane, the appearance of the Brotherhood Without Banners, seemingly completely pointless. Still might get her next season, as Melisandre is heading south as the BWB heads North, but it’s weird.
  • Jaime’s discomfort with the ramifications of his actions I liked Walder and Jaime jabbing at each other I liked.
  • I even liked Arya killing Walder Frey, even if her teleportation was ridiculous.
  • But taking Wyman Manderly’s revenge away from him, and throwing in the Frey pies as a complete afterthought of Arya killing Walder Frey is…HOW FUCKING DARE YOU, BENIOFF AND WEISS. More on this in the Northern section, but talk about wasting enormous potential by completely short-changing everyone outside of the main cast.

The Reach:

  • Yer a wizard, Samwell Tarly. Welcome to Hogwarts.

Dorne:

  • Speaking of characters who get completely slandered by Benioff and Weiss….”Vengeance. Justice. Fire and blood.” YOU MOTHERFUCKERS. You ignore Arianne, pornify the Sand Snakes, 180 degree Ellaria, and then you have the gall to give Prince Doran’s master plan to this crew…and Varys, who might have well stayed in Westeros for all the impact he’s had the last two seasons? Talk about completely and comprehensively misunderstanding theme and character.
  • Also, if I’m understanding Ellaria correctly, Cersei’s declared war on the Reach and Dorne? Which means she’s got, what, all of eight thousand men to fight all of Westeros plus Dany’s invasion fleet? I mean, I buy it from Cersei, but it’s still lunacy.

Meereen:

  • I…actually loved everything here.  I cared about Dany and Daario for the first time ever, I loved Dany and Tyrion together for the first time in a while, I loved Tyrion being made Hand of the King, and Dany’s going to Westeros! The visuals of the fleet were absolutely stunning, some of the best the show’s ever done.
  • What I’m annoyed at is how clearly the seams show on this plotline. Clearly the only good material they had came straight at the end, and Benioff and Weiss decided to just load up Meereen with filler until Episode 10. So much time wasted here.

The North:

  • Melisandre being exiled by Jon for burning Shireen…not happening, for reasons I explained last season.
  • I’m really glad that Sansa said she should have told Jon about the Vale knights. That was something that needed to be acknowledged, and I’m glad that Sansa recognized that what she did was problematic.
  • Winter is here…oh come on, the white raven showed up in Episode 1 of Season 2, and Gilly’s baby has been an infant since Episode 3 of Season 3. Stop with this timeline bollocks.
  • Littlefinger revealing that he wants to be King and basically tries to reshape reality to make Catelyn 2.0 happen fits, as is his attempt to try to get Sansa to take the North in favor of Jon. There was some debate in my watching party about Sansa’s response to this: my feeling was that Sansa rejected Littlefinger’s offer and then was quite pleased to be standing beside Jon as the King in the North, which obviously precludes her being Littlefinger’s queen on the Iron Throne.
  • Benjen can’t pass through the Wall – as expected. Bran communing with the Heart Tree and confirming R+L=J was oddly satisfying, given how long that’s been all-but-confirmed. I missed the whispered bit, which apparently was “If Robert finds out, he’ll– you know he will.” Makes sense. Still thought we’d see her asking Ned to raise her son as his more explicitly.
  • Kind of surprised the Wall didn’t come down this episode…
  • So here’s where I got really annoyed. Jon becoming King in the North is a bit tropey, but not completely unexpected. But while I liked Lyanna Mormont being a pint-sized badass and leading the charge for him to be named as King, I was really really annoyed by the way that secondary houses got slandered in this episode. Wyman Manderly did not forget the Starks – he’s rescuing Rickon, avenging himself on Freys, and raising an army to restore the Starks. Robett and Galbart Glover did not forget the Starks – Galbart is carrying Robb’s will, and Robett’s working with the Manderlys. And all of this is symptomatic of a Northern plotline that lacks all of the subtlety, intrigue, and intelligence of Theon and Davos’ storylines from ADWD. It really feels to me that Benioff and Weiss think that their audience is too stupid to grasp an actually complicated plot.

 

Thoughts on the Season as a Whole:

Well, you can’t say that this season lacked for narrative propulsion. From beginning to end, the show galloped through plotlines and left us with a completely transformed status quo. And along the way, we got some really good episodes, and a major improvement from the trainwreck that was Season 5.

However, I won’t say that there wasn’t a cost to some of this deck-clearing. A lot of really stupid shit happened this season for no reason other to move characters from Point A to Point B, often without doing the necessary foundational work to make moments and changes feel earned. And ironically, at the same time, there was a lot of stuff that now feels like it went nowhere, that was likewise done only to make sure that Point B was reached at the right episode number, which reminds me a lot of the needless box-ticking from Season 2.

Overall, I’m certainly looking forward to watching the next season way more than I was same time last year, but this show remains a flawed interpretation of a richer more intelligence source material. I cannot wait for TWOW to finally come out.

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140 thoughts on “Thoughts on HBO’s Game of Thrones, Season 6 Episode 10, “Winds of Winter”

  1. So, now that the show and the books have departed so dramatically, what predictions do we have for season 7, especially considering that it will be only 7 episodes long?

    What happens to Mel? What about the BWB? Does Dany storm King’s Landing at the beginning of the season? Does it blow up? Does the presence of Oldtown suggest we’re going to get the Eldritch Apocalypse in a condensed form, or at least Euron doing something?

    • Brett says:

      Divided on that. I could see Cersei trying to burn down the Red Keep, but getting killed by Jaime first before he kills himself. But then again, we know from the House of the Undying scene that Daenerys will likely find the throne room devastated and empty, so the Red Keep is getting burned down somehow.

      They haven’t set up Euron being magical at all. Maybe they’ll just retcon that whole thing into a storyline where he does a disastrous raid on Oldtown that forces Sam to flee again (unless the Eldritch Disaster is needed for the Wall to come down).

    • Mel meets the BWB…to do what, I don’t know.

      Dany takes KL pretty soon. Jaime kills Cersei to prevent her from wildfiring again.

      EA I don’t know, but Euron had BETTER do something.

      • artihcus022 says:

        Dragonstone might be an overlap between Dany/North. That island has Dragonglass as Stannis mentioned in Season 5, it’s also her birthplace and an ideal landing point.

      • mshepnj says:

        I agree and despite the lethal “mistake” that cost Shireen her life (and maybe the death that paid for Jon’s resurrection?) I think Melisandre is correct that the living need her help in the war against the White Walkers. It seems that Thoros has seen the same in the flames and BWOB are preparing for that war as well. I think Melisandre will meet up with their band, and I would expect that Arya will meet her again in their company as well.
        Speaking of Arya, I think she’s going to take the place of Lady Stoneheart.

  2. Sean C. says:

    There was some debate in my watching party about Sansa’s response to this: my feeling was that Sansa rejected Littlefinger’s offer and then was quite pleased to be standing beside Jon as the King in the North, which obviously precludes her being Littlefinger’s queen on the Iron Throne.

    I think she was clearly rejecting his offer in the scene in the Godswood, but from the comments in some of the cast/crew videos, particularly this one:

    The show is clearly setting up Littlefinger playing Sansa against Jon next season — with some success, initially, since there wouldn’t be drama otherwise, before his ultimate downfall.

    I’m also very, very surprised at Cersei taking the Iron Throne in her own name. Not that I couldn’t see Cersei wanting to, but she’s got no claim whatsoever. Outside of pure despotism, why would anyone obey or acknowledge her rule?

    Well. with the Baratheon royal line extinguished, nobody really has a claim to it. She’s got House Lannister’s armies, so it seems like, as far as the law goes, it’s merely about who can hold it.

    Which means she’s got, what, all of eight thousand men to fight all of Westeros plus Dany’s invasion fleet? I mean, I buy it from Cersei, but it’s still lunacy.

    I don’t think the 8000 men Jaime brought with him were meant to be the extent of the Lannister forces. Jaime referred to the Tyrells earlier this season as having the second-largest army in Westeros, and the unspoken implication was that the largest belong to House Lannister. The depletion of the Lannister armies in the books doesn’t seem to have happened in the show, which I think fits with the writers eliminating things like Aegon, so the Lannisters have to be stronger. Not that it should really matter. Dany has House Tyrell, House Sand(?), (part of) House Greyjoy, 100,000 Dothraki, 8000 Unsullied, and three dragons; she’s far more powerful than Aegon the Conqueror ever was, and facing a Westeros that is much, much weaker. Unless Euron has some magic tricks up his sleeve, this should be over quickly.

    Well, no Lady Stoneheart, which makes the copious discussion of the Red Wedding, Catelyn Stark, Brienne’s storyline for half the season, the return of Sandor Clegane, the appearance of the Brotherhood Without Banners, seemingly completely pointless.

    I don’t really know what the point of Brienne’s going south was yet (particularly as Jaime is probably going to be in KL going forward), but the rest wasn’t pointless, it just has a different point than LSH. Indeed, once Dondarrion was revealed to still be alive, I don’t see how LSH could have been expected; Catelyn’s corpse would be totally unrecognizable at this point, years after the fact. Though given the storyline the writers appear to be setting up up north, I don’t think the Brotherhood will be heading north all that quickly, otherwise the Hound would get in the way of Littlefinger’s scheming (which will probably be the ultimate resolution).

    Finally, regarding the Northern storyline and the secondary houses, I personally dislike the result of making the North forget, but it’s obvious why the writers did this: because in the books the Northern lords are mobilizing on their own without the Starks, whereas the show plugged not one but two Starks into this story, and wanted them to appear to be losing right up until they won. So if the North rallied to Sansa just like everybody kept warning they would for the past several seasons, the situation would not have been nearly so dire. I would be nice if the writers could have found more of a balance, but the whole plot in the North in Season 6 was built around the moment where Jon’s tiny army gets saved by Sansa bringing in the Knights of the Vale.

    • Winnief says:

      Agreed. Also I think we ARE going to see some impressive Northern Unity in the seasons ahead.

      And all the RW, Riverlands plotting might well be setting up whatever’s going to happen with Arya next season.

      Plus, it looks like Brienne AND the Brotherhood (including Sandor!) are headed up North to deal with the White Walker threat and a good thing too.

      • Brett says:

        You know, if they’ve established that Arya is willing to face-steal in Westeros for assassinations, then maybe they’re setting her up to go to King’s Landing instead of walking north to Winterfell. I doubt it (because as Steven’s pointed out, the show-runners are mostly interested in checking off plot points in the northern storylines), but it could happen.

    • I could still see it going either way with Sansa and Jon.

      Plenty of other people have claims – the Florents, Estermonts, Targaryens.

      Sorry, but I don’t buy that at all. House Lannister still lost Jaime’s entire army then the forces at Oxcross. At full strength they might have the second-biggest army in Westeros, but they’ve been fighting for the entire stretch of the war.

      Ok, so what’s the point? As for Beric, I thought they were setting up to show him bring her back. And who cares how many years she’s been dead when they’re already playing fast-and-loose with the timeline.

      Yeah, but that’s a bad moment to build around.

      • Sean C. says:

        I really don’t see how the Estermonts or Florents have any more claim than Cersei (and more to the point, they are not characters on the show), and there aren’t any Targaryens in Westeros. Cersei’s claiming the throne by right of force, as much as anything, which the show typically portrays as the only thing people go by.

        Referencing things like the Red Wedding, Catelyn, etc. are just characters bringing the show’s own history up in appropriate contexts — and in the former case, the season ends with the houses that carried out the Red Wedding being taken down. The Hound is clearly going to be fighting with the Brotherhood for a righteous cause going forward.

  3. Andrew says:

    Great review as always Steven. The show does make me appreciate the books even more and I think shows that GRRM is right to adopt a gardener approach to writing rather than have a rigid structure that the show has adopted.

    I’ve been meaning to ask this for a while now, are you doing the LGM podcasts for this season as I’ve not seen any since episode 1? I’m sorry if you’ve answered this already.

  4. Steven Xue says:

    I consider Cersei usurping the throne is currently accepted purely on the basis of how much people are frightened of her right now. I mean she just detonated a cache of wildfire and blew up the Sept of Baelor which resulted in the total annihilation of the Sparrow, the deaths of the Tyrells, her own uncle and cousin plus countless other powerful nobles attending the trial. No doubt people will have their eyebrows raised at her taking the throne with no legal claim but given the sheer amount of horror they must be feeling right now, I don’t think too many people are willing to contest her claim.

    I don’t if you know any historical examples from the Western world because Cersei taking the Iron Throne reminds me very much of Empress Wu Zetian of the Tang dynasty. Hope you don’t mind me giving out a history lesson cause there’s just so much parallels to Empress Wu and show Cersei. Like Cersei, Wu Zetian had such an insatiable lust for power. It was through her ruthless ambitions and political maneuvering that she went from a childless concubine to empress, then empress dowager/regent and eventually even ’emperor’ (since empress in Chinese literally means ‘imperial consort’). Of course unlike Cersei she didn’t blow up a building to eliminate her political enemies, then again her rise to power was just as if not far more bloody. And unlike Cersei she didn’t become a sovereign in her own right because her son died, in fact her son was still alive and was officially emperor, even so she had herself declared ’emperor’, took control of the country through fear and coercion and even established her own imperial dynasty during her reign.

    • Brett says:

      That’s what I thought as well. It’s not that anyone thinks Cersei has a lick of legitimacy to her as Queen – she was crowned by Qyburn. They’re just totally terrified that she’ll burn down the rest of the city if anyone challenges her.

      • Steven Xue says:

        Yep, I bet they were all thinking to themselves, “if she is capable of doing something this destructive just to hold onto power, better to appease her than to make her angry”. Qyburn crowning her was a bit out of the ordinary but then again after destroying the epicenter of religious activity in the city, all the important religious leaders must have all perished in the explosion while any septon left would be too disgusted to crown such a person.

  5. scarlett45 says:

    I thought the Raven that showed up in season 2 declared AUTUMN had arrived, not winter.

  6. winnie says:

    Thanks Steve. I found this episode more satisfying than you did, (though I too missed the North Remembers). Partly because while I too look forward to TWOW, I’m increasingly convinced Martin will never complete the series which makes the show the only closure we’ll get. And frankly I’m glad the show cut fAegon.

    LOVE that library!

    Thought the fact that Cersei has NO claim to the IT was really the whole point-her rule is based entirely on fear. Everyone in the throne room looked terrified except Jaime who looks like the scales have *finally* dropped from his eyes.

    It does feel like a set-up to Jon marrying Dany…but Sansa does look awfully good at his side.

  7. winnief says:

    Also as for how Cersei can survive the coming onslaught I think two things are going to happen.

    1. Cersei will flee to the Rock which offers a much better defensive position.

    2. Cersei aligns with and possibly even marries Euron Greyjoy who has ships and more importantly dark magic to bring to the fight.

    • olisimpson88 says:

      The second is exactly what I think will happen s well, since it’s the only way they can make Euron relevant to what comes in season 7.

      Not to mention that they are now pretty much the main villains along with the knight king left on the show.

      Not to mention Cersei is going to need some ally now that she has basically given the finger to everyone else.

      • Winnief says:

        Precisely. Now the Night’s King of course is the most terrifying thing EVER, but still D&D like *human* villains which means Cersei and Euron. Neither one could be much of a credible antagonist to Dany on their *own* but as a team they could give her a run.

        Of course Season 8 WILL switch its focus to the Night’s King, which is perhaps WHY they’re having Dany build up such an awesome coalition and showing the North rally behind Jon, because let’s face it, if/when the Wall does come down, an incredible combined army, whatever info Sam picks up at the Citadel, AND three large dragons is the only way, humanity will even stand a *chance*.

        • olisimpson88 says:

          I just hope that they do Euron justice next season after the lacklustre portrayal of him so far (not form his actor, but the way he ahs been written and his appearance), not to mention that his threat was severely undermined by Yara and Theon taking the best Ironborn ships.

          They need to show the Euron that makes him so damm creepy and loathsome in the books. Hopefully with his actor hinting to the dragon horn, we will see that next season along with whatever else he has up his sleeves.

          Since next season will not doubt have a big focus on the Targaryen’s and the role of magic as well with all the build up this season from the lord of light, sam being at the citadel, Dragons and more bran at the wall stuff.

          I wonder if benjen will appear at some point in the tell-tale game of thrones games, considering what the north grove is and the magic behind all that.

          I imagine season’s six events is why we haven’t heard of when season two will be out or when it would take place. Since the vents of season six would have to be taken into account.

        • gbajithedeceiver says:

          Yes, the plot engines certainly point to Cersei agreeing to a political marriage to Euron, and she’s definitely crazy enough to think she can “manage” him, but it of course undercuts her whole “I won’t do it again” arc re: the political marriage to Loras, who wouldn’t have even tried to sleep with her. Euron brings a fleet and evil magic (he and Qyburn probably rushed the same frat at Miskatonic U), but he also has something else for Cersei.

          Jaime probably won’t even try to interfere, just get back on the ship with Bronn and head for the Summer Isles.

    • Brett says:

      I don’t see Cersei fleeing to the Rock. I think she’s got a crazy attachment to the Iron Throne, and will try and burn it down Aerys’ style before losing it (whether or not she succeeds depends on whether or not Jaime stops her).

    • Crow's Eye says:

      I could definitely see them allying, but would marrying him be something Cersie would do? The whole “me and Jaime are one person, we came into this world together” thing seems to make her marrying Euron a stretch. Also, even though he doesn’t seem to love her anymore, I don’t think Jaime would stand for it.

    • 1. Highly doubt it. With everything she’s now paid for the Iron Throne, she’s not leaving it alive.

      2. Maaaaybe? Don’t really see her willing to share power to that extent, tho.

    • Ser Biffy Clegane says:

      Up to now, Cersei’s MO has usually been to use cats paws to get what she wants. For example, she sent Lancel to kill Robert presumably based on family authority or promises, armed the Faith Militant to strike at Margaery, sent Mace to treat with the Iron Bank, possibly sent Mandon Moore to kill Tyrion, and promised Littlefinger advancement to destroy the Boltons.

      She’s gone full YOLO now, so the rules are off, but my guess is she makes promises to Euron in return for his help, but doesn’t marry him. I could see Euron getting command of and stalling the Royal Fleet like Aurane Waters.

    • HH says:

      B&W love Cersei and the actress who plays her so I expect she will survive. Not sure this is how it will happen, but it will be interesting to see what they do.

  8. gbajithedeceiver says:

    Yah, I’m sure we could find some Baratheon heirs (has Gendry found Sweethaven yet?), if we were so inclined. In fact, after the deaths of Joffrey and Myrcella, it would have been someone’s (Pycelle’s?) job to identify the next in line. Not that D&D care about that.

    On the whole spinning-wheels/positioning-exercise this season has indulged in, I’m reminded of those sci-fi plots where they pack Indispensible Character into a near-light speed ship and send them on a relativistic arc so that they’re ready for the Inevitable Challenge when they return x number of years in the future. Bran Stark, Speaker for the Trees.

    Absurdly, it’s not Arya’s teleportation that bugs me as much as the fact that she got to borrow a Face, after all that disobedience and her final admission/insistence that she was never No One. Insert joke about the House of Black & White and “this lousy T-shirt” here. It’s like D&D knew that they needed to justify wasting two seasons on Braavos, so they contradicted everything Jaquen said without explanation.

    And I really hate that D&D seem to think that LF’s 11th-dimensional cyvasse game is unfolding just as he predicted.

    • Winnief says:

      Actually I think the whole KitN sequence was to demonstrate that LF’s plans are NOT unfolding just as he wanted! He was clearly surprised and aggravated that the North rallied behind Jon, and he thought Sansa would share that opinion. Though, actually Sansa seems quite happy for Jon-but worried now about what Baelish would do.

      Which means next season at WF could be very, VERY interesting. The girl with purple snakes in her hair has yet to kill the Titan…

      • gbajithedeceiver says:

        Yes, properly written, LF is an opportunist, and Sansa’s rejection of him is just another wrinkle that he has to adapt to. But the show has portrayed him as the mastermind who has figured out all the contingencies ahead of time and has Plans B, C, & T all ready to go if necessary. He can’t just go back to the Vale; it would be political suicide in front of Royce and the others to be out-honored by a bastard. So what’s the backup plan, aside from continuing to sow distrust between Sansa and Jon? Why, discredit Jon’s claim to be a Stark, of course! “Lord Royce, you remember Larra, the Dornish charwoman I’ve kept on my household staff since before I became Master of Coin? Funny thing, she was a midwife in her youth, in Kingsgrave near what was the Tower of Joy. Go on, Larra, tell Lord Royce who Jon Snow’s real father is.”

    • Crow's Eye says:

      Sweet Robyn is the real power in the Vale and has clearly been running a long con on all you guys. “That’s how you’re gonna beat ’em, Butch. They keep underestimating you.”

    • The House of Black and White thing ended so absolutely bizarrely.

  9. Ser Biffy Clegane says:

    Who would have thought that out of all Aria’s mentors, Hot Pie would prove so relevant? It was a nice fake-out – when she first appeared and made eyes at Jaime, I thought she was Pia. In hindsight, Jaime’s fidelity to Cersei probably saved his life.

    I didn’t have a problem with Aria teleporting. I generally assume that the various plotlines aren’t necessarily happening simultaneously, so I don’t have a problem saying that Aria left Bravos a few months ago. Seeing Varys back in Meereen surprised me, and for a second I wondered if he was a Faceless Man or something, but I guess we’re supposed to assume that enough time passed that he could return to Meereen with some extra ships.

    If Cersei’s going to put up a fight even against a Dorne/Reach alliance, much less Dany, she’s going to need a lot more muscle. Can Qyburn build a zombie legion or a doomsday weapon or something?

    • Steven Xue says:

      Given that she was crazy enough to destroy the Sept of Baelor and kill a bunch of very important and powerful people in one go, if she has enough wildfire (and she will) she could probably hold the city to ransom. Basically threaten to blow up other parts of the city if she doesn’t get what she wants. Knowing Dany, I doubt she would be willing to let thousands of people in King’s Landing die just to take the Iron Throne.

      • Winnief says:

        Quite possibly, but I think it’s more likely that Cersei will simply abandon KL, (possibly even torching it in the process,) and flee to the Rock, which offers a much better defensive position for a long term siege.

    • If they’re going to do the non-synchronous timeline, they owe it to their audience to at least make that clear. It’s not hard to do – drop a few lines about how long it’s been since X or Y happened, give us a damn chyron if you have to.

  10. imperatorinamorata says:

    One thing I don’t get is, WTF was up with the Dorne storyline this season? It’s pretty clear the showrunners saw the universal hatred of the previous season’s Dorne plot, so in response they had it appear in only two episodes this season.
    On the one hand, it’s good that they respond to criticism. On the other, why the literal fuck did they have the universally hated characters murder the only halfway interesting ones in the setting, and then give the “fire and blood” line to fucking Varys of all people? You know what would have been better? Doran, upon discovering the murder of Myrcella, executes Ellaria and the Sand Snakes (thereby removing the characters everybody hated), chills out for the rest of the season, before he meets with Olenna in the finale, and reveals his secret Targaryen restoration plan. And THEN he gets his famous line.
    It’s such an obvious solution, and so much better than what they went with.
    The show overall, is decently entertaining in a turn-your-brain off sort of way. But the plot has more holes in it than Swiss cheese someone’s taken a shotgun to. I share your longing for TWOW to come out Steve.

    • olisimpson88 says:

      Yes I find I have to turn off my brain to watch the show now with the amounts of fridge logic and holes that keep propping up.

      So now I just enjoy the show for the setting, the music, acting and direction. Everything else like characterization and plotting are just stuff I roll with as best as I can.

      All the while waiting to see how GRM will do it in the final two books.

    • Because honestly I think they don’t care about that plot at all and figured they might as well just give it up for a bad job and cut to the chase.

  11. Tywin of the Hill says:

    Always good to hear your opinions.
    1. The only storylines I liked in this episode were Bran and Oldtown. The last one reminded me of when you go to the library or the city hall and you’re attended by an antisocial public servant 🙂
    2. Apparently, the only reason they say “The North Remembers” is because “The North is a Turncloak” doesn’t have the same ring to it.
    3. I thought Tommen’s balconing was supposed to be comical. In a dark humor sort of way.
    4. There were no “George told us” moments in this week’s Inside the Episode. How surprising ¬¬.

  12. poorquentyn says:

    The aesthetic and overall ambition of this episode deserve nothing but praise, but it felt really unmoored to me from a storytelling perspective. The only part I loved unreservedly was the Citadel. The rest, even with some well-done scenes, didn’t feel earned.

  13. Milk Steak says:

    I’m not a good phone type so sorry for the typos

    I think you may be too invested in your theories of what’s going on in the books to accept what’s going on in the show. All the red wedding mentions etc was set up for Arya. You need reminders in a show that you don’t in a book. The brotherhood is setup for next season. Brienne was both setup for next season and furthering her relationship with Jaime. It also shows how precarious the Lannister’s position is there. Cersei thinks she has the Westerlands, the Riverlands, the Crownlands, the Vale, and will soon have the North as Littlefinger promised her. She also probably thinks the Reach will abandon the Tyrels in order to compete to be the new Lord paramount.

    As for the Manderlys I’m not sure why you default to “don’t understand” rather than “made a conscious choice.” In the show many houses abandoned the Starks. You have to judge if it works for the show as if the books didn’t exist. Personally I would have loved if the Manderlys had been used to improve last episode’s plot mechanics but I can understand not adding another family to track.

    As for Dorne that was probably the best salvage job you could hope for after the earlier screw ups.

    The travel time felt like the first three books where Cat would travel from Riverrun to Renly to Storms End back to Riverrun between chapters without having to hold your hand on the passage of time.

    I love your work and have some of the same problems you do I just think there needs to be more separation between different and works for the show.

    • Milk Steak says:

      Really want to emphasize I love your work and don’t want to come off harsh. More puzzled

    • If it was all setup for Arya, why not have that involve any of her scenes, or have her repeat her list or any of that?

      What setup for Brienne?

      In the show, three houses abandoned the Starks. But almost all of them stayed loyal.

      And while I don’t mind separation between the book and the show, I do think that if there is going to be divergence, it should be as good or better than the book version. And this wasn’t.

  14. gbajithedeceiver says:

    Whomever designed that (dating myself here) Janet Jackson get-up for Cersei deserves an Emmy. I was going from being appalled at how we were being expected to believe that no one of name escaped the Sept of Baelor to dry amusement at the Godfather, er, “homage,” when Headey stole my heart with her take on Unella and Room 101. Even Tommen’s plummet, as shocking as it was, couldn’t silence my cackling.

    “This is Ser Gregor. He’s quiet, too.”

  15. I don’t think D&D believe the audience is intelligent enough to grasp complex plot lines. They are very much following the trope of Viewers Are Morons, and it’s irritating. Simplification is understandable; full blown dumbing down is exhausting. That being said, I was satisfied with this season’s finale despite its foibles. I loved the dramatic irony of us (the watchers) knowing Jon Snow’s truth, while he remains ignorant. Well I love and mourn it. Along that line, I also found poignancy in Lady Lyanna Mormont being Jon’s staunchest advocate and having his unknown mother’s name. This might have been inadvertent on the show’s part, or it might be deliberate.

    Cersei more than likely strong armed her way into the throne. With the king dead along with the small council, who would stop her? I wouldn’t be surprised if she suggested marriage to Jaime as a sort of juxtaposition to what he’d said before. She has the power, so she makes the rules. That also being said, with Dany’s eventual arrival, the power will be fleeting, and Cersei will see the true night of fire and blood.

  16. Brett says:

    I am so done with everything Littlefinger in the show. Did we really need to have him carry over into another season? It feels like the show outpaced itself again, and needs to set up a forced* personal conflict between Sansa and Jon to fill air space until Littlefinger can be sent packing in dramatic fashion in Season 7.

    * As opposed to the real personal conflict that could have happened if they’d not have Sansa and Jon just easily paper over the costs of Sansa withholding that information, and Jon’s disastrous leadership in the Battle of the Bastards.

    I’m also very, very surprised at Cersei taking the Iron Throne in her own name. Not that I couldn’t see Cersei wanting to, but she’s got no claim whatsoever.

    I think Cersei is straight-up in Mad Queen territory right now. You’re right that she has no claim, but nobody wants to challenge her immediately because she just wiped out the leadership of the Faith and the strongest House in the Seven Kingdoms with wildfire – what if she went even further crazy and burned down the rest of the city with it?

    Talk about completely and comprehensively misunderstanding theme and character.

    I’m guessing Poor Quentyn will have enough to write on that, although if you had a longer take in mind . . .

    To me, the whole scene felt like an excuse to have the wonderful Diana Rigg play Olenna Tyrell for just a little bit more.

  17. gbajithedeceiver says:

    Also mystified as to how Qyburn convinced Varys’s network of Little Birds to turn into psychopathic murderers. Perhaps D&D think there’s no difference between impoverished pre-teens and starving hunting dogs.

    • They’re Stabby Birds in the books, too. Just without tongues.

    • It is true that they are stabby in the books, but they’re also pretty damn loyal to Varys.

      • Keith B says:

        I can believe that Qyburn was able to win their loyalty. They were abandoned children and he was kind to them. It’s harder to believe in their loyalty in the books. After all, Varys was responsible for their mutilation, and he was forcing them to work under conditions that caused many to die quickly, so he constantly needed a fresh supply. It’s surprising that they didn’t turn the knives on Varys rather than Kevan.

    • Richard says:

      Qyburn feeds them crack candy. That was in an episode.

  18. John W says:

    My thoughts on this season are, that while there have been a lot of cool “hell yeah” moments overall it feels like watching porn. The show runners are just fast forwarding past the story to get to the good parts.

  19. artihcus022 says:

    I think the opening section of the Wildfire Plot was really creative. A rare example of the show doing variation in style. That whole section of Lancel chasing that kid down to the cellars and getting stabbed and his crawling to the wildfire is the first sequence in the show that captures the feel of an ASOIAF prologue or epilogue. A minor character suddenly tips himself into something big, inches from doing something heroic but then ends up grist for the mill.

    I think the Jon-Sansa rivalry is just a red herring and not something there will be time for. Unless they are willing to have Sansa go full Sand Snake on Jon, which they won’t, there’s just spinning wheels. So that’s something that would change.

    I thought the R+L revelation was a little weak and I hope we have more Branvisions next season.

  20. artihcus022 says:

    You know Cersei taunting Unella reminds me a bit of Euron-Aeron circa The Forsaken Chapter. The whole torturing someone out of their God bit…I can see Cersei and Euron Greyjoy in the show forming an alliance next year. Euron can be Cersei’s Aurane Waters.

  21. Warwick the Wild says:

    This episode (and indeed, this season) was great fodder for the Jonsa shippers, and at this rate they might even be right (though I think Jon is going to die for realsies before the end of the series).

    Re: Cersei taking the throne. I think she’s supposed to have just gone off the deep end. She cannot possibly hold against both Dany and the (largely untouched) might of the Reach. Westerosi Civil War round II is going to be pretty fucking short. (As it has to be, given the small number of remaining episodes).

    One random thought that occurs to me: Dany’s army of ersatz theme park Comanchongols seems like it cannot possibly fare well in Westeros. Most of them seem allergic to shirts, let alone armor, and Westeros is getting colder every day. The only places that don’t seem to have that problem are already on her side, and they seem uniquely ill-suited to fighting blizzard-conjuring frost elves.

    Lyanna Mormont’s speech was cool, but also a bit confusing since apparently the North kind of forgot.

    • Captain Splendid says:

      Eh, the Dothraki hordes can be dispatched south to deal with the warmer, more heavily populated south. The Unsullied can deal with the Riverlands/Westerlands just fine, and 3 dragons should be enough to bring the North to heel.

    • Well, the winter could be one way of dealing with the inevitable culture clash between the Dothraki and Westerosi…

  22. RD says:

    I’m not sure how this season had narrative propulsion. Everything of consequence that happened was in the last two episodes.

    Jon was revived and Dany got the khalasars united with her own burning. Bran left the tree. Euron won the kingsmoot but lost the fleet. Arya was allowed to leave Braavos alive. Sandor joined the brotherhood. That’s about it.

    Tyrion was just drinking and quipping the entire season. Sansa didn’t do anything, and that was a plot point eventually (‘oh sorry i didn’t mention the army i had’). Jaime hasn’t changed at all, he did his Feast impression but there’s no indication he’s anything other than what he’s always been. Sam stole a sword, the Blackfish died for no reason, and Brienne is off somewhere.

    Dany brooded after getting the khalasar until E9. Cersei brooded until E10. Jon brooded after being revived until having an awful battle where none of his plans were even attempted. Sansa brooded after the reunion. Theon brooded in the north, in the iron islands, in Volantis, and in Meereen. His only purpose is to be a male voice backing his sister.

    There’s no reason to think Jon is competent at strategy or tactics at this point, and less to crown a bastard (not even bothering to recognize him as a Stark).

    The books get us directly into the character heads, but the show has plenty of confidants for all the major POVs where they could express their real feelings so the actions don’t seem as mind boggling. Jaime could tell Bronn know his disgust at using his reputation as a kingslayer and oathbreaker. Dany could express more uncertainty with any of her devotees, it’s not like Grey Worm would sneak behind her back to gossip. Jon could express internal conflict by talking with Edd, or Davos, or whoever he trusted.

    I watch the show, I enjoy the visuals and I think the actors do a good job in any given scene. But the writing is just all over the place, and not in the sense that it has highs and lows.

    • djinn says:

      Exactly! It’s a lot of talent and money wasted in bad writing.

      By the way, what was the purpose of Sam story? Make his dad look like a fool?

    • Narrative propulsion in the sense of, at the beginning of the season Jon’s dead, Dany’s a slave, Cersei is humuliated and powerless, etc. and then by the end of the season everything is upended. And a lot of stuff happened early – the deaths of Doran Martell, Roose Bolton, and Balon Greyjoy, for example.

  23. Why is anyone surprised that D&D botched and themes and characters, these are the same pricks who destroyed Stannis Baratheon and ruined everything the King stood for and killed him off in the most humiliating manner. At the hands of Brienne no less who has turned into a real jerk constantly crying about Renly being the “Rightful King”.

    People have to consciously remind themselves that the Shows aren’t based off the books anymore, they made that clear once they killed off Stannis. Even GRRM warned about the potential butterfly effects that would occur because of the subtle changes being introduced in the show. So we need to stop trying to compare the show and books all the time.

    We could see these butterfly effects take hold.That’s why it wasn’t surprising to see many Northerners piss on Robb’s memory when he married Talisa and died at the Red Wedding. To many in the North, Robb squandered all of their good will and got many of his own men killed because Dat Ass. At least in the Books Robb was more sympathetic but in the show it just made Robb like an douche by randomly breaking his vows for no good reason.

    After the death of so many people I wouldn’t be surprised if D&D were doing everything possible just to close up all loose ends and conclude the story just to get away from it all. Not to mention save money on the budget so that they can just throw it all away on CGI effects and stuff like that.

    • I did feel that Robb Stark was getting unfairly shit on this season – part of the North Remembers is Wylla Manderly pointing out that Robb was good and his murder was an ungodly crime. Again, tragedy is not an asshole getting hit by a bus.

  24. Haplo-6 says:

    The wildfire demolishing Baelors was a great sequence. I know most of us were keen on Cersei using it once the trial-by-combat was nixed, but I’m not sure how many people would have guessed everyone from the HS, to Lancel, to Kevan and Mace, to sad/weak/pitiful show-Loras, to Margaery (NO!) get vaporized all at once. Well played psycho. At least the show had savvy Marg correctly predicting everyone’s demise. Kind of dumb the sparrows wouldn’t let her leave, since she wasn’t on trial, but hey, there is usually way more nonsensical stuff than that.

    It’s also nice to see Lancel’s realistic struggle with a single knife wound to the side; Arya took half a dozen without a fraction of the fuss.

    I was expecting to see the Blackfish making his way north, and thought he would appear at Winterfell to relay that King Robb had intended to legitimize Jon as heir to Winterfell because, besides Sansa Lannister, he was the last remaining child of Eddard Stark. Seems like it would be an easy thing to do, and one that would totally make sense.

    • I’ll say this for the wildfire, I really didn’t see it coming the way it did.

    • I love Robb’s letter and think that it would have meant a lot to Jon, but it turns out that it really didn’t matter. Like Robb, Jon is King in the North based not on history or ancestry, but because he’s who the people of the North support. (Approximately the same was true for Robert, Renly, and Dany).

  25. Dr. Toboggan says:

    “Melisandre being exiled by Jon for burning Shireen…not happening, for reasons I explained last season.”

    I tried but couldn’t find your explanation. What’s what?

  26. Matt says:

    I’m kind of bewildered by venom thrown at D&D over Manderly. I really love your chapter recaps Steven but this has me shaking my head. Do you not understand that this is a ten hour a season – soon to be seven and six if rumours are true – show that has a ton of problems servicing its main characters as is? Outside of the Easter egg of a merman badge at the Red Wedding the Manderlys haven’t been acknowledged as existing prior to this season – dedicating an entire subplot to Wyman Manderly when he hasn’t been established as a character was never in the cards and anyone who expected otherwise was just setting themselves up for disappointment. The same holds for complaints about the Glovers.

    Screen time is a zero sum game. Bottom line. There’s simply no way to delve into the secondary houses and have laser focused region specific political intrigues like GRRM can do in the books. It’s not dumbing it down for audiences, it’s a concession to the realities of television production.

    • Brett says:

      That’s just not true. It was a major point of this season that Sansa and Jon were wandering around trying to raise support against Ramsay, and the show wasted an incredible amount of time as well.

      • Bronstin says:

        Yeah, while it’s true that the show does have to struggle with finite screentime, they also waste an incredible amount of time on stupid garbage like the whole Dorne affair and Jon’s return to Craster’s Keep.

        • The Dorne affair was limited to parts of two episodes and Jon at Crasters was not this season.

          They had time to meet a few houses not enough to do justice to Wyman in DwD. They didn’t even have time for their original plan for episode 9 let alone a whole new subplot that ends up at the same place.

          • djinn says:

            What about cutting some scenes in Mereen, Braavos or the Riverlands? Was it really nessessary for two stickfighting montages, multiple sitting comedy scenes, outlaw ass grabing sequence?

          • Bronstin says:

            Well what I mean is they’re paying the price now for dragging their feet in previous seasons. Like Jaime’s entire adventure in S5 was a ton of screentime that could have gone somewhere else

          • The stickfighting scenes were about 90 seconds a piece. The play set up Arya’s decision that her true place was Westeros. The Riverlands was absolutely needed to set up Arya’s revenge, the BwB, and Jaime.

            Manderly doesn’t just need to give a speech or two, he needs to set up falsely killing Davos, ingratiating himself to Ramsey, a feast, and a betrayal. That’s a lot of screen time none of which could be spread over multiple seasons. It just not how it works.

    • They were able to introduce and definite Lady Mormont as a character who everyone loved in a matter of minutes. It’s not a question of possibilities – it’s a question of priorities. They could have done Manderley justice if they’d wanted to.

    • If you’re going to cast Wyman Manderly, you might as well use him.

      And if screen time is a zero sum game, why all the scenes of Arya getting her ass kicked when you could have done a montage? Why all the wasted screen time with Tyrion, Missandei, and Grey Worm.

      • … because Tyrion and Arya are major characters and Meereen is a primary setting?

        (Don’t get me wrong: I love the Manderly plot and Northern Conspiracy. I was counting on it up until the end as Rickon and Shaggydog’s salvation. But I read the inclusion of Manderly and Frey Pie in the finale as an acknowledgment that B&W know how beloved those elements are, not that they hate them.)

  27. thatrabidpotato says:

    “who at this point is clearly, clearly Daenerys”

    Can i just say that I called it?

  28. DavidW says:

    So, now that the season is over, let’s see how things stack up:

    – House Baratheon is extinct.
    – House Martell is extinct, and usurped by women.
    – House Tyrell is nearly extinct, except for the last remaining member, a woman.
    – House Lannister is usurped by a woman. (Because no one really thinks Jaime is going to step up and lead the family, and Tyrion is MIA).
    – House Targaryen is headed by a woman. (Ignoring Jon here).
    – House Greyjoy is headed by a woman. (Ignoring Euron here).
    – House Stark should be headed by a woman (because everyone thinks Bran is dead, Sansa should come before Jon).
    – House Arryn is headed by a boy that looks like a woman.
    – House Tully is headed by a man that acts like a woman (OK, I’m just being mean here. But after Edmure, next is Sansa).

    The wheel is smashed. Women rule. I guess D&D tried to overcorrect the misogynist criticisms and have Westeros run by Amazons.

    P.S. Scene I wanted to see: Lyanna Mormont looking at Jon saying, “Nice sword! My family had one just like it, but with a bear hilt instead of a wolf. Where did you get your sword?”

    P.S.S. Why haven’t we seen Ghost since Episode 2? Shouldn’t he have been fighting along side of Jon in Episode 9?

    • thatrabidpotato says:

      Actually, given GRRM’s far left tendencies, I don’t think this is too far off from how the books will go.

      • HH says:

        “given GRRM’s far left tendencies”

        Don’t see it. I know he was a conscientious objector and is a liberal democrat, but that does not a man of the hard left make.

    • “Acts like a woman”

      huh

    • djinn says:

      Arya killed Walder Frey, Lord of the Twins and Riverrun, so she the ruler of both. Her sister, of course rule the Dreadfort. There’s also Brienne, Lady of Dragonstone.

    • Grant says:

      Far as I can tell, they seem to just hate the wolves and want them offscreen as much as possible. Only reason I can think of for killing Bran and Rickon’s off like that.

      Maybe it’s because animals are hard to work with and computer graphics aren’t easy to do with fur.

    • They said in an Inside that they had to choose b/w Wun Wun and Ghost.

      • Though, again, there’s a stupid easy fix for that – give Jon a line saying he’s leaving Ghost with Sansa for her protection… which is what I’m assuming happened anyway, as Ghost would have been turned into a pin cushion.

  29. unknownfinger says:

    Ian McShane was right. GoT is a tits and dragons show and there is no need to over think it. That being said I loved everything about that opening (except Lancel following that Little Bird for no reason. He was like a dog getting distracted by a squirrel) from the score to the custom design to the way Sapochnik built suspense it was put together like an operatic horror film.

    My guess is we will see Euron team up with Mad Queen Cersei next season which is a terrible idea and will not happen in the books. I guess D&D simply don’t think the audience can handle Dany and/or Sansa being tempted by Euron and LF before defeating them.

  30. Keith B says:

    The trial scene and the wildfire really were done well. Previous episodes had given the impression that Margaery had some plan for saving Loras and thwarting the High Sparrow, but evidently she had nothing.

    Jon screwed up the battle so badly that he can’t be trusted as the North’s leader, but the show doesn’t seem to realize that. Meanwhile, Sansa’s failure to tell Jon about the Vale army was such a huge betrayal that a simple apology is totally inadequate, but the show doesn’t seem to realize that.

    Is Carice van Houten out of the show now? I remember that in Season 3 Melisandre met Arya in the Riverlands (they combined her character with the Ghost of High Heart) and told her they would meet again. If that’s the case, Arya might kill her next season for kidnapping Gendry. Also, if she’s out of the show, I don’t understand the purpose of the reveal in episode 1 that she is actually an extremely old woman.

    The Dothraki and the Ironborn aren’t U.N. peacekeeping forces from Sweden. They don’t liberate, they don’t govern, they don’t even conquer. Their business is raiding, plundering, and massacring. I get the impression from the books that GRRM knows that when Daenerys uses them to attack Volantis and Westeros, they will act as Euron did in the Shield Islands and Khal Drogo did in Lhazar. That’s consistent with his anti-war theme. Somehow I’m much less confident that the show has the same understanding. But maybe I’m wrong.

    The whole Riverlands plot seems to be only about (1) getting Jaime out of KL so that Cersei is free to screw things up, (2) letting Jaime meet up with Brienne again, and (3) wiping out some characters that otherwise would be left dangling.

    No Stoneheart. I suppose I’m the only one here who’s happy about that. Even so, I agree that it’s a bit odd to bring back Dondarrion without her. Maybe they just wanted to find a way to give Rory McCann more screen time.

    Oldtown was great. It’s the San Francisco of Westeros. I’d like to move there, but I probably couldn’t afford the housing costs.

    • Arya meeting Mel I could see. Why I don’t know.

    • eagrierson says:

      Marge did have a plan – she made a deal with the HS that he would release Loras if he confessed, repented and all that. Remember she protested that mutilating him wasn’t part of the agreement?

      And I know this is a stupid thing to get hung up on, but how does an explosion of that magnitude NOT set off the rest of the wildfire caches?

      • Keith B says:

        But before that happened, he said he would give up his claim to Highgarden and devote himself to defending the Faith. That has to be unacceptable to the Tyrells, since he’s Mace’s only male heir. So if that was the plan, it amounted to total surrender.

        I don’t think there are any other hidden wildfire caches in the show. Even in the books, it’s only a fan theory.

        • eagrierson says:

          Until he was out of KL (and the dungeons) and back at Highgarden, where they’re in a better position to have their army defend them. It’s a dicey proposition, but better odds then Loras being in jail or dead, which seems to be the alternative.

          And the wildfire is all over King’s Landing, at least in the books – and it is in the text, it’s not just a fan theory. It’s under the Sept, the Red Keep, what’s left of the dragon pit…I don’t remember whether show!Jamie was as explicit about how much of it there was, but it was clearly meant to be enough to blow up the whole city.

          • Ser Biffy Clegane says:

            I think you’re right that Margaery’s plan was probably just to run for Highgarden with Loras.

            1) Generally, the writers have preferred more direct plans over complicated tricky ones for most characters. Varys might be the only one playing cyvasse more than one move ahead.

            2) It fits with her reaction – Margaery was outraged not that Lancel gave up his title and rights, but that he was “mutilated.” That’s pretty consistent with planning to run at the first opportunity.

          • Keith B says:

            You think that Loras should simply repudiate all the vows he took in the Great Sept, in front of all the gods, in front of the High Septon and virtually every Septon, Septa, Lord and Lady in King’s Landing? That’s not a plan. He would be an outlaw. Even his father would have to disown him.

            That the wildfire is all over KL is a theory. What we know is that Aerys had Rossart put a large amount of wildfire all around the city. We know that from Jaime. We also know that the Pyromancers found large amounts in the Dragonpit and the Great Sept and removed it. We know that from the Tyrion chapters in ACOK. What we don’t know is how much remains elsewhere. It could be that the remaining Pyromancers gathered most of it up after Tywin sacked KL. It could be that much of what remained was discovered and removed over the years. Maybe most of it is still hidden around KL, maybe it isn’t. We don’t know.

  31. Protagoras says:

    Cersei has a claim to Casterly Rock, right? The show seems to go out of its way to eliminate heirs left and right, so after Tommen it seems likely that the next in line for the Iron Throne according to any legitimate calculation will be very distant indeed (if we ignore Targaryens, as of course those in King’s Landing will be). I don’t find her claiming the throne on the strength of being Lady of Lannister and everybody knowing it has been the Lannisters running things anyway all that implausible against the current background.

    • thatrabidpotato says:

      Cersei is the current Lady of Casterly Rock in her own right, in both show and books.

      • Protagoras says:

        Yes, exactly, Cersei leads the Lannisters. So against the (admittedly illegitimate) royal claim of the leader of the faction that everybody knows has been in charge for some time, you have the possibly legitimate but questionable and confusing royal claims of probably multiple competing nobodies without power bases. Cersei has been left as really the only logical choice. Admittedly because the showrunners have railroaded us, but that’s where we are.

      • djinn says:

        Wasn’t Larry kicked out of the KG? Wouldn’t that make him the Lord of CR?

    • She does, because she’s Tywin’s daughter, but it’s not an exclusive claim. Kevan or other Lannisters could have challenged her for it.

      But she doesn’t have a claim for King’s Landing, because she’s not the descendant of anyone on the Iron Throne.

      • Protagoras says:

        The point is that nobody else has a claim for King’s Landing either, or at least nobody else has a power base and a clear, unambiguous claim (again, excluding Targaryens, because the powers that remain in King’s Landing all have too much history of siding with the traitors to be interested in seeking a restoration). Being leader of the faction that everybody knows has been running things anyway seems good enough in that situation. And as for her claim to be leader of the Lannisters, are there any other Lannisters in any position to challenge her left (other than Jaime, who renounced his claim when he became a Kingsguard, and has a bad reputation of his own, and even with his increasing hostility to his sister may not be willing to turn against her that openly)? I know there are endless Lannisters in the books, but the TV show has kept the families considerably smaller and had a very high attrition rate.

  32. Fabrimuch says:

    Now that the season is over I have to say: I loved the King’s Landing stuff with Cersei. Every other plotline was mishandled in one way or another, but everything involving Cersei was gold. And oh gods, the music this episode was top notch! The music that plays during the trial and during Cersei´s coronation sent chills down my spine! Now I’m even more pumped for TWOW to come out so I can find out how the whole Valyrian Explosion and Tommen’s suicide and Cersei´s coronation will play out in the books.

    But I have to agree that when Ellaria gave Doran’s speech to the queen of thorns I loudly yelled “FUCK OFF” at the screen and my mom couldn’t understand why because she thought it was a pretty cool scene (if only she had read the books…)

    Also, what’s up with Varys being in Dorne only to teleport back into Dany’s ship for that final shot of the Targaryen fleet?

    • There were some slow stuff with Cersei in the early season, but otherwise ok.

      Yeah, that apparently is supposed to indicate time passing, but it’s not very clear at all.

  33. Everyone who’s read the books has been busy trying to work up and down family trees to understand the line of succession. But beyond the gold/black of hair inheritance crisis that started the War of Five Kings, the show has never concerned itself with the particulars of inheritance; so it is not completely insane that Cersei would inherit as Robert Baratheon’s last living heir.

    • djinn says:

      Actually going by the show sucession rules, Mrs. Bolton rules the Dreadfort, Carol rules Storm’s End and KL, Arya rules the Twins and Riverrun and Karhold and Last Heart are up for the grabs.

  34. kylelitke says:

    Cersei taking the throne right now doesn’t particularly bother me, because the Baratheon line has essentially been completely wiped out, they’re obviously not considering Dany (the only surviving Targaryen as far as they’re aware), and even going by the Lannister line (which on its own has no claim to the throne, of course), it’s really just Jaime and Cersei now. Beyond that, the Tyrell leadership was essentially completely wiped out, so who is honestly left (in Kings Landing, which for these purposes is the only thing that matters, since the show hasn’t gone beyond that scene yet) to tell her no?

    In the long term, would the lords stand for this? I sincerely doubt it, especially considering militarily she’s somewhat screwed, with Dany on her way, a Dorne/Tyrell alliance (possibly backing Dany), the North leaving the Seven Kingdoms again, this time with the Vale, the Iron Islands rebelling again with Euron sailing off somewhere, and the Riverlands a mess right now (even moreso with Walder Frey dead). But for the purposes of what we saw in the show, all we know is she crowned herself, and I don’t see who is going to tell her no at that point.

  35. djinn says:

    Can anyone explain why did Qyburn lured Pycelle away from the Great Sept? Why did FrankenGregor inform Tommen about the time of the trial and why are the Valemen acclaiming Jon?

    Was Catelyn right in distrusting Jon?

    • Grant says:

      In order

      Because they wanted the last scene from ADWD even if the characters and circumstances aren’t at all the same.
      I don’t know.
      Fanservice.
      Heck no. Her reasoning might have been based on justifiable fears, but this specific case was not at all like others and if she hadn’t felt that resentment of his existence and fear for her own children she might have been able to understand that.

      • djinn says:

        Ok.

        But in this case he did usurp Winterfell from her children(true that her daughters have gained Lordships of their own, but Bran didn’t, yet…). Not intentionally, but the result was the same.

        • Grant says:

          At this point the only Stark still around is Sansa, who doesn’t seem too unhappy about things. The two of them have no idea where Arya is, or if she’s even still alive, Robb’s dead, Rickon’s dead and Bran’s someplace in the very far north above the Wall if he’s still alive.

          So Jon is, so far as he knows, the eldest living son of Eddard Stark and one of the two last children still at Winterfell, plus he’s going by the argument that since he died it means he isn’t held to his oaths.

          So Jon never intended or even considered the kind of deposing Catelyn feared of him and he only went on this path after another seemed to close for him. Or: If Joffrey hadn’t ordered Ned Stark executed, Tywin hadn’t gotten Roose and Walter to kill Robb, Arya hadn’t completely disappeared (though with Arya I doubt she’d contest the succession against Jon), Rickon hadn’t been shot to up the ‘oh noes’ and Bran hadn’t chosen to go off to be a wizard Jon likely would still be hanging back.

    • Winters king says:

      well, it should be remembered that Robb was king of the trident, not just the north. presumably, jon will be king of the vale as well. why do they declare him king? well there are several reasons. for one thing, the die have been cast for the valemen. they fought with the starks in the battle of winterfell, and that means theyve effectively declared war on the iron throne. they presumably decided to declare for jon, because the only other option, would be to declare independece for the vale as an ally of the north, and that would mean putting a young, weak child on the throne as king of mountain and vale. then there’s the fact that a young, skilled, strong, lead from the front general is very appealing to the valemen, who are deeply rooted in a martial culture. it should also be remembered that in the books at least, there were many vale lords who wanted to declare for robb, despite the fact that technicly he had no better claim as king of mountain and vale than jon.

      • djinn says:

        I’m sorry but ” young, skilled, strong, lead from the front general” wasn’t at all my impression of Jon this season. And a bastard, deserter of the NW, worshiper of the Old Gods and friendly to wildings should have raised serious objections from the traditional Vale Lords.

        • Winters king says:

          well, its not like the vale lords know jack all about whats been going on in the north this season, i mean yeah, undoubtedly theyve had to heard something of whats going on, but the vale army and lords have effectively been sitting on moat cailyn for at least a couple of months. they havent really been privy to jons actions other than charging in and saving his ass during the battle of winterfell, where as far as they can tell, jon was leading from the front. they werent there to witness the massive mistakes jon did during the battle.

          as for religious differences, there has never been shown any massive religious hatred against the old gods from seven worshiper in newer times. if you want religious tension, look at the followers of the red god or drowned gods, and youll see a faith that the valemen would never be able to accept in a ruler.

          as for the crap regarding leaving the watch and letting wildlings into the south…. yeah ive got nothing. im assuming that itll be much better explored int the books, but in the show no one, not once brings up the fact that he’s a former nightswatch man. im assuming they could get somewaht behind the wildling idea because they did fight for house stark, and hasnt shown any signs of betraying them, but its still pretty silly that its only brought up once in what is effectivly robbs riverrun council 2.0.

          also, this is a pretty idiotic argument to justify what happens in the show, but itll probably be far more logical in the books(where robb used royal decree to name his brother crown heir). cause if there is one thign we can be pretty sure of regarding the northerns storylines dubious changes, its that this is probably where the books are heading as well. im presuming that in the books, there will probably be some sort of proof laid before the lords that the others really are here, hence why the vale lords are far more eager to choose one supreme commander to lead them in this war.

          in the show, its like “a vague terrible enemy is coming, we cant wait it out, im not going to explicibly say who it is, but you guys can probably guess” “Jon is the son of eddard stark, lets make him king!!!” “Yeah!!! King in the NORTH! KING IN THE NORTH! KING IN THE NORTH!”

          the main probelm here as i see it, isnt the conclusion itself, but rather how we get to it. they literarily jump from jon making vague warnings about the true enemy and then lyanna deciding on naming him king. that(or sansa becoming queen) is really the only realistic outcomes to this council, because independence for both the north and vale are the only possible outcome, and sweetrobin sure as hell isnt going to be named king by the very martial focused valemen. but we arent given enough time to get shown every side of this council. tormund could easily have pointed out that they were there when the so called “true lords” of the north was hiding in their castles. that would have been a a pretty good argument, because the northern lords would be massive hypocrites to try and reject that argument, and everyone would know it. instead we basicly did what we did in robbs council in season 1. we skip most the actual discussion, and essentially skip to the end. that wasnt really so notable then, because the most important part of the discussion was kept(that there was no king the northerners could really get behind). here however its glaringly obvious that they only have the barest outline for how its going to go in the books, so they had to invent completely new lines for their actors. which worked out great for lyanna mormont, not so much for everyone else.

          so like most of the problems of season 5 and 6, its that they know where the story is going, they just isnt sure how to get there the best way possible.

    • Qyburn lured him away so that he could assassinate him personally.

  36. “Queen you shall be… until there comes another, younger and more beautiful, to cast you down and take all that you hold dear.”

    The prophecy says nothing about the “another” being a queen, or even a woman – just another person.

    While in the show due to all the story squashing it might indeed be Daenerys, it could still very well be Brienne the Beauty; especially now that Jamie has finally reached his book level distaste for his twin.

  37. Henry says:

    What this season seemed to lack was foresight. Since you know Jon is going to be proclaimed king in the North, why not have the Manderly’s and Gloves declare for Jon/Sansa so that we actually have the north remember, Then have Jon make some good decisions during the pre council and during the battle, then it would make sense why they would proclaim him as the king in the North rather then Sansa. We could still have them out numbered but then at least it wouldn’t feel like everyone hated the Starks (Why do people hate Robb? and blame him for all the deaths? he was betrayed by a house who should not have asked for anything and are not owed anything + the other house (Bolton) that betrayed the North and murdered thousands of Northerners, in one of the worse flouting of Taboos. There is no possible way to spin it, the Bolton/Freys are in the wrong the Starks are in the right, so why any in the north would be on the Bolton’s side is beyond me?, who are good guys, and people would fight for them. because a lot of big houses sided with them. Which makes sense. Then have the north be like why Sansa, would you not tell us about the Vale Knights and that be why they choose Jon instead of Sansa.

  38. Henry says:

    Don’t get me wrong I really enjoyed episode 10 but I feel like this season suffered from a lack of foresight. Why not have the Manderlys and Glover’s on the side on Sansa/Jon? Have Jon make some great decisions that makes them win the battle. As such it makes way more sense why they acclaim Jon instead of Sansa. And then as the kicker have the North be cut that Sansa didn’t tell them about the Vale knights so much so that they go with Jon rather then Sansa.

    Overall feeling on the north:

    Seriously I’m not even basing this off the books but just general feeling, there is no way you blame the deaths at the Red wedding on Robb more then you blame them on the Freys/Boltons. I’m sorry but there is just no way I’m not chafing under the neck to get back at those responsible for it which are Roose and Walder. Even when the chief instigator is dead (Roose) I do not side with the son of the betrayer when i have a Stark on my side. its an artificial raising on the stakes which is not necessary.

    I’m not a writer and even i can make a stronger plot line that makes overall sense from the blue print unfortunately. It shows what rank amateurs Beinoffand weiss are.

  39. Winters king says:

    so, i thought idd just give my thoughts for which of these plot points i think we are going to see in the winds of winter.

    Brans storyline will probably be the same with some small variations.

    Stannis will die at some point, my guess is that he’ll take winterfell, and then have the northern lords stabb him in the back. or he loses and jon actually does have to march on winterfell.

    shireen will get burned by mellisandra(confirmed) but reasons unknown. maybe same as in the show(melting the snows and heat up the north for a period).

    Battle of the bastards(or a variation thereoff) might happen in the case of a baratheon defeat in the battle in the snow.

    rickon probably will die, but assuredly not by way of arrow from ramsay snow.

    cersei will set fire to parts of kings landing to ridd herself of enemies(will probably be after her trial though).

    jaime will survive his date with catelyn tully.

    sansa will travel north with a vale army at some point.

    Jon will become known as the white wolf(probably because of ghost).

    Jons shot at kingship will be greatly aided by robb declaring him his heir.

    Jon will be declared king in the north as well as king of mountain and vale. king of the trident might be included among his titles, but in effect only the north and vale are under stark controlled.

    Manderly will be the first northman to bend the knee before Jon.

    lyanna mormont might become the new lady of house mormont.

    dany will rally the dothraki. no idea of the rest of her storyline though.

    Arya will leave the house of black and white at some point and murder Walder frey.

    olenna tyrell will be the last of her house, but rather than cersei killing her whole family, it’ll be a mix of ironborn, kings landing shenanigans, and Aegon’s army that’ll do it.

    house seaworth will follow house stark following baratheon exinction. they’ll mirror house manderly coming to the north.

    tommen will die at some point(suicide is a possible reason) and cersei will lose it, and just declare herself queen.

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