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S08.E04: The Last of the Starks

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Episode Synopsis:

The survivors plan their next steps; Cersei makes a power move.

Edited by SilverStormm · Reason: Title update!
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Heeeere, Ghost. Here, boy! He didn't mean it. If he did, he's a shit and doesn't deserve you. Heeeere, boy!

At least Nymeria got a decent send-off, not tossed like used toilet paper. Hrumphf!!

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Ghost as a consolation prize for Tormund?  Good trade.

Gah - another dragon lost.  

And a lovely Lady.

A show is making me wish for bitter revenge.

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11 minutes ago, walnutqueen said:

A show is making me wish for bitter revenge.

Dany, too. You saw the look on her face at the end. Uh oh. I just hope she doesn't get Drogon killed.

Arya says she isn't coming back to Winterfell. Does she expect to get killed? Or does she think she's gone so far to the Dark Side that she doesn't belong in civilized society?

Betcha Sansa is going to marry Tyrion (again) if he doesn't get himself killed.

Lovelorn Gendry and Brienne. Made me sad. <sniffle>

Too much death. Too much loss. This is getting depressing.

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Jamie is a piece of shit. Redemption arc no longer in effect. Garbage person. Apparently, the person who sleeps after sex is the gullible doof (see Brienne and Gendry). The one not sleeping and staring off has no intention of keeping up with the relationship (Jamie/Arya).

Jon's being a dick to Ghost. Sansa breaking her promise. Tyrion showing uncharacteristically strong loyalty to a crazy person.

wth is happening to this show? Is anyone else really disappointed in how it looks like it's all wrapping up? It seems clear to me that these show runners aren't writers and they ran out of source material. Too much fan service. All that crazy, insane lore? Whatever. We just poofed and it's gone. I completely related with Davos and his confusion about the Lord of Light. Just... what the fuck was all that about? Is the LoL still out there? Did all the red witches evaporate? How did the first men get WW to go dormant for 8000 years? Is there a change they come back in another 8000 years? Where are the spiders that are big as hounds?!? OLD NAN PROMISED!

What's the point? It's just turned into another good vs evil show. Jon's going to end up on the throne. It is known. Aside from him, a bunch of people will die, but that's the only major surprise we have going for us. So disappointed.

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4 minutes ago, janjan said:

Betcha Sansa is going to marry Tyrion (again) if he doesn't get himself killed.

I've determined that no man in this universe is good enough for her.

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That opening scene with the funeral pyres was gut wrenching, the people we the battle it seems aren’t as second tier character ps as I thought, I miss them already, Jorah, Theon and Lyanna especially! 

And as sad as I was, I was elated to see our Ghostie boy, and then sooooo deflated to see Jon not even get him a good pet or even talk to him to say what was going no, it seemed so unlike Jon given how much Ghost has saved his ass. 

Then I was elated to see both dragons...until...fuck you Show.

@DirewolfPup, I feel what you’re feeling, the hurried last two final seasons, the shortened schedule of episodes, the story telling...it all feels frenetic and sloppy. Mind you, the first three episodes have been amazing and glorious in so many ways, and yet this episode was......I don’t know, sort of a cop out? It’s like the show runners ran out of steam and/or interest and said, “Ummm, let’s just kill another dragon and get rid of the last wolf, and oh yeah, let’s kill Meisandee, and uhhhh...what else...? Oh yeah! We can deflower Brienne and then have Jaime choose Cersei over Brienne. Yeah, well give the fans what they want, they rip it away cause, why not, we have no game plan for this ending anyway...” Seriously, the Unsullied here could have written a better episode I think.

Annnnyway, I really was wondering what the hell Jaime was going to do at Winterfell, it felt like gratuitous plot point and when he took off it fell flatter because the initial premise was so weak and so not Jaime. Ditto the Free Folk just up and leaving to go back north of the Wall. I mean, it makes sense and that felt real, because really there is no reason that the Free Folk would want to fight Cersei’s war because they don’t give a shit about not any of that petty crap. They’re going ‘home’, but...after alllllllll the time spent with them, it also felt weird that Tormund just said, ‘see ya!’ and bugged out. I mean where are they going in the dead of winter anyway? Why not stay at Winterfell until the Winter breaks? I guess they roam in all weather? One thing that this made me realize what this - at the end of the day I really mainly give a shit about the North, that part of A Show resonates with me deepest, do any of you feel the same? I mean, I’d put Davos and Tyrion in there, but I really have always been more interested in the stories of the North. And yes, @DirewolfPup, what happened to all the damn LORE?!? Is the magic over? Are there any CotF left? Is There any magic left in the Wall? I mean, HELLO SHOW RUNNERS?! We actually give a shit about this stuff...

Arya pulls a Jaime, albeit kinder and more loving with Gendry. Speaking of, so is Gendry still at Winterfell or did he boogie back to his new manor? These sort of story lapses are annoying to A Viewer. That said, the pairing of Arya and the Hound was poetic and at the same time signaled a cloud of doom because I feel fairly sure that The Hound won’t survive, and it makes me nervous that they’re riding together as they always seem to get into shit situations together...I had thought Jaime would take out Cersei, perhaps he still will when he sees she’s taken up with Urine, but I am now leaning towards Arya killing Jaime, the  taking his face and killing Cersei, the last person on her list. And then what? She said she wasn’t coming back to Winterfell...it’s as if she’s more like the Free Folk now and cannot be confined to one space. I want her to survive and I hope she isn’t being boxed into a Mel scenario where she fulfills her destiny and then dies.

Sansa is so badass right now, I can hardly believe she’s the same doe eyed girl who played with dolls and dreamt of marrying a prince. She’s the best person for leading the North, IMO. If Tyrion survives, I want them together. I know it sounds shallow but I want her to have some peace and some love. 

I'm guessing that Drogon will die before this is over, which sucks, but at that point, again, I wonder if all the magic will be gone? There were Red Witches in, was it Pentos? What happens to them? Is the LoL still around, or was he only there to deal with the NK situation? 

I need to stop typing, I am disappointed with this epi. 

Bye Meisandei, loved her last word...poor Greywom, this does not bode well for him, he’s going to make a mistake because his emotions are in play...

Edited by gingerella
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I'll also touch on the anti-woman conversation between Tyrion and Varys. That conversation was so incredibly tone-deaf to the seasons upon seasons leading up to this moment. NOW, you're worried about a woman ruler? Yet, that didn't bother you for seasons of A Show. Especially, with modern politics going the way it is. I'm so incredibly disappointed that my 2nd favorite character, Varys, was given such abhorrent material to work with. I felt very uncomfortable watching this because of how all the neckbeard douches who watch this show will see that conversation and agree with it.

The scene with Bronn was completely out of place. Why was Bronn even given this role this season. They couldn't find anything better for him to do? I hope he shoots them both with arrows. This Lannister sibling rivalry is so overdone. It's not amusing, intriguing, or entertaining. The Stark siblings are 100x more interesting. Even with coma-brain-Bran. I wish we got that reveal of Jon's parentage on screen.

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8 hours ago, gingerella said:

I really mainly give a shit about the North, that part of A Show resonates with me deepest, do any of you feel the same?

^^This!^^  A Show began in the North, Ned told us that the South is a snakepit, and we learned to *lurve* all the Starks (even Catelyn, whom I never forgave for being a bitch to Jon). It doesn't feel right that they just blew off the North, dumped the Night's Watch guys (SAM!!!!) and the Free Folk (TORMUND!!!) and GHOST!!! and moved all the action south. I'm bummed out. A lot of eps have been shocking and heart-wrenching, but this is the only one that has been depressing.

8 hours ago, gingerella said:

I am now leaning towards Arya killing Jaime, the  taking his face and killing Cersei

This is SOOO gonna happen!

8 hours ago, gingerella said:

Im guessing that Drogon will die before this is over

This does seem inevitable. BTW, when did A Show start to become so predictable?

Missandei's last word is Dragon-speak for "Burn them all!" It looks like Dany will take it to heart and become her father.

So, alas, in this most predictable of shows, someone will have to take her out. Jon, no doubt. (That's a guess, not a full=fledged spitball.)

Edited by janjan · Reason: Added another thought.
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3 hours ago, DirewolfPup said:

I'll also touch on the anti-woman conversation between Tyrion and Varys. That conversation was so incredibly tone-deaf to the seasons upon seasons leading up to this moment. NOW, you're worried about a woman ruler? Yet, that didn't bother you for seasons of A Show. Especially, with modern politics going the way it is. I'm so incredibly disappointed that my 2nd favorite character, Varys, was given such abhorrent material to work with. I felt very uncomfortable watching this because of how all the neckbeard douches who watch this show will see that conversation and agree with it.

Pup, I totally hear what you're saying and feel you. On the one hand, this conversation likely has zero to do with the actual books since we're well beyond that 'wall' so to speak, and if it is indeed completely made up show runner stuff, then it wasn't really necessary. In fact, the show runners could have written in a storyline about women rulers more along the lines of what's happening in our own politics today and the rise of female leaders. However...I did find what Varys said 'realistic' if you will. There are probably more people right now in our world (given it's current political climate), who quietly hope no woman is ever elected President, and who believe fully that women are inferior to men. So in that sense Varys' words rang true, or realistic, if you will. That said, you're right, if this was an issue, why hasn't it reared its head until now? I think it's less about Dany being a woman and more about Jon simply having potential for being a better and more just ruler, a ruler who people naturally gravitate towards and love. Dany? I mean, the Unsullied are still around I suppose because she 'freed' them and they pledged allegiance to her, but it wasn't out of 'love' the way Jon's troops rally round him. The Free Folk didn't fight this war for the Dragon Queen, they fought it because they gained trust in Jon Snow. He was leading them, they were willing to partner with him for a common cause and because they believed in his judgement. Dany? Not so much, IMO. Otherwise they'd have boogied south with the others to take on Cersei. So even though it feels sexist, I think the underlying sentiment is about who'd make a better leader and Varys is using gender as one of his key arguments.

Speaking of Varys, whom I also adore, that scene was one of the few great Varys scenes we've had in a long time! I missed his tete a tetes in the catacombs, his little bird whispers...I wonder if he still has little birds in KL whom he can trust? Or have they pledged their loyalty to Qyburn now? I could see Varys entrusting his little birds to a key task in this next battle, and having them turn on him with Qyburn, perhaps that's how he 'dies in this strange land'? Alas, I think he's a wonderful character and he would be critical if things are to change completely in Westeros at the end of all this.

2 hours ago, janjan said:

It doesn't feel right that they just blew off the North, dumped the Night's Watch guys (SAM!!!!)

I know, right?! What is Sam going to do at Winterfell anyway? Unless he hunkers down and starts documenting all that's happened, for historical purposes, and so the Citadel has a firsthand accounting of it all, then what is he doing there? I suppose if he went back to the Citadel nobody would believe him anyway, so he'd be relegated to shit jobs once again, so thinking about it now as I write, I guess he has more freedom at Winterfell. OTOH, it makes sense if one thinks about it from the fact that both Sam and Bran are in one place right now, with nobody breathing down their necks, and both are historians so to speak. Bran is the repository of all the past memories of Mankind. And Sam is a historian, so perhaps they're left there so that Sam can write down all that's in Bran's memory, so that Mankind's 'history' and 'memories' are never left to one TER ever again? If Sam can capture all that Bran knows, and put it down in writing, then Man's memory will never again be a bargaining chip that anyone/thing can use for destructive purposes...Hmmmm, my decaf coffee is working overtime this morning!

BTW, did anyone else find Jon's voice different when he spoke of why they were gathered to pay respect to their fallen comrades? He sounded more "king-like" to me, and Dany definitely noticed it. That sort of thing is where he shines, and she does not.

ETA:

This episode was titled "The Last of the Starks"...there are 3 full Stark siblings left, though Bran said something about not being the last Stark...I think he feels he is fully the TER now and no longer of their family. So that leaves Arya and Sansa, of which Sansa is the elder so it makes sense that she is really the Lady of Winterfell now, and possibly Wardeness of the North, if it comes to that, assuming Jon survives and goes back North (please please please Show, let this happen...). Arya...I am worried about her...

Edited by gingerella
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1 hour ago, gingerella said:

This episode was titled "The Last of the Starks"...there are 3 full Stark siblings left, though Bran said something about not being the last Stark...I think he feels he is fully the TER now and no longer of their family. So that leaves Arya and Sansa,

I frequently have had problems linking the episode content with the title so thanks for opening this up. I think Sansa has to be the last of the Starks.  Bran is now the TER, Arya is headed south, and whatever happens, she stated she wasn't coming back. She is no longer a "northerner". 

Jon, while an official Stark by blood, is also Targaryen and (as Tormund pointed out) dedicated to a broader view of the north. Not just the Starks and their Bannermen.

I feel Sansa got a little side tracked - perhaps due to having to engage in so much intrigue in her formative years - into betraying her Starkian values by breaking her promise to Jon. Ned would never have done that. And Sansa wasn't doing it for Jon either but to further her people in the north. Both an admirable motive and blatant political maneuvering.

Edited by Anothermi
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3 hours ago, gingerella said:

Pup, I totally hear what you're saying and feel you. On the one hand, this conversation likely has zero to do with the actual books since we're well beyond that 'wall' so to speak, and if it is indeed completely made up show runner stuff, then it wasn't really necessary. In fact, the show runners could have written in a storyline about women rulers more along the lines of what's happening in our own politics today and the rise of female leaders. However...I did find what Varys said 'realistic' if you will. There are probably more people right now in our world (given it's current political climate), who quietly hope no woman is ever elected President, and who believe fully that women are inferior to men. So in that sense Varys' words rang true, or realistic, if you will. That said, you're right, if this was an issue, why hasn't it reared its head until now? I think it's less about Dany being a woman and more about Jon simply having potential for being a better and more just ruler, a ruler who people naturally gravitate towards and love. Dany? I mean, the Unsullied are still around I suppose because she 'freed' them and they pledged allegiance to her, but it wasn't out of 'love' the way Jon's troops rally round him. The Free Folk didn't fight this war for the Dragon Queen, they fought it because they gained trust in Jon Snow. He was leading them, they were willing to partner with him for a common cause and because they believed in his judgement. Dany? Not so much, IMO. Otherwise they'd have boogied south with the others to take on Cersei. So even though it feels sexist, I think the underlying sentiment is about who'd make a better leader and Varys is using gender as one of his key arguments.

This is kind of my point. A show is literally saying the people aren't likely to follow a woman... traditionally. With leaders like Dany, Lyanna Mormont, Cersei, Elyria Sand, and Sansa to demonstrably prove that theory false. There's been indication in the show that men get station before women. Sure. But there's been zero saying that when necessary (no men), woman are very much expected and respected enough to take the job. The writers could easily make an argument for Jon vs Dany. There's plenty to favor Jon over Dany for without bringing gender into it. It's not as though he's her younger brother, so they argue man vs woman.

They do discuss both (vs and woman = bad), but the latter was completely unnecessary and only helps the arguments of mouth-breathing apes that need to feel superior to women at all costs in the real world.

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1 hour ago, DirewolfPup said:

But there's been zero saying that when necessary (no men), woman are very much expected and respected enough to take the job. The writers could easily make an argument for Jon vs Dany. There's plenty to favor Jon over Dany for without bringing gender into it.

To the first part, I assume Lyanna Mormont was next in line and the only available heir to lead Bear Island so indeed a woman - a girl child no less -  was good enough when no male heir was available, so isn't your first sentence implied in just knowing that a female headed up House Mormont? And ditto House Karstark? And ditto Cersei and the Iron Throne? Nobody told her she couldn't assume the throne in the wake of Tommen's death, she took what she felt was hers, what she felt she'd earned and deserved, nobody said "NO, you cannot be on the Iron Throne because it must be a man." Maybe I'm misunderstanding your point Pup, if so, please tell me.

As for the writers making the case for Jon over Dany without bringing gender into it...it seems like this story - at least the part that came from the books - has always had a strong misogynistic thread running through it, otherwise one cannot explain the evil shits Joffrey and Ramsey and the vile and putrid shit they perpetrated on women. Given that, I'm not surprised at all that the show is having Varys try to set it up that Jon would be better because he's a man, but honestly? I don't buy it as A Viewer because as you rightly pointed out, there are plenty of strong women in leadership roles in this story.

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Random things of note from this episode:

While I liked the ritual burning of the dead, (looks like these folks took your advice @Llywela) I looked at the pyres and thought “that's not nearly enough”. And I was left wondering where the AotD re-dead went. And someone had enough energy to rake the snow to hide the blood stains and the dirt and the plowed up-ed-ness? Like it's a Japanese sand garden or something? But the shots of Jorah/ Dany, Theon/ Sansa, Beric/ Arya and Lyanna/ Jon managed to keep me on track. (wipes tears)

Like others, I was very happy to see the battle scarred Ghost there paying tribute to his fallen comrades. And in his usual place... somewhere other than where Jon is. (wink) I, for one, appreciate that Jon thought enough of his direwolf to leave him in the North. That IS where he belonged. They were never that close anyway – except when Jon was killed. He was either locked in some dark space at Castle Black or wandering places North of the Wall out of sight of Jon. Remember, the Direwolves who went south ran into trouble. One was killed (Lady) and the other got chased away but lived to built her own tribe (Nimeria). Not that the north was safe for direwolves either, but north of “the North” seemed safe enough for Ghost. Jon doesn't seem to be the kind of person you'd want to be a pet of. Rhaegal anyone? Perhaps Jon has bad sigil-animal karma.

I was glad to see that Sansa had stored the food she'd gathered deep enough under Winterfell to survive the carnage the AotD and Dead!Viserion wreaked on it. It was also good to see at least one shot of the reconstruction underway. I'm having to assume all this happened some time after the Battle. Weeks? A month or more? I got the feeling that more time must have passed since Jon and Dany headed north because Cersei had time to build a LOT of dragon piercing weapons! (sing it: let's do the time-shift again)

It was a bit crammed with wound up plot threads, but we got to see the new dynamics taking hold that most likely will come into play in the final episodes. We also got to see Gendry get something good out of being Robert's bastard. (Not!Leeches!)  And not Arya (I'm not a Lady. That's not me) Stark. (sadface for him)

And Brienne choosing Jaime. I was disappointed – I was on team Tormund – but it kinda makes sense when I remember how she idolized Renly. She just wasn't into Tormund's type.

I like the Sansa/Hound interaction and the Tyrion/Bran one clarified – if anyone still needed it – that Bran is not really a Stark anymore (so don't make him be a little lord again).

I was happy to see Podrick survived, but in A Show's haste to get Brienne laid, poor Podrick was left looking very alone at the table.

Speaking of uncomfortable dialog (mentioned by Direwolfpup above) I found Tormund's praise of Jon a bit... almost un-typical. Especially when he extolled brave Jon getting on the dragon and fighting – with Dany right there. Jeez. It's not like he commandeered the dragon. SHE made it possible and they fought from dragon back as equals. She even weilded a sword to defend herself by Jorah's side. Follow that with the Tyrion/ Varys conversation in the Dragonstone throne room and I believe we got it. Part of the game for the throne will be the back room gender comparisons. Regardless of what the contenders think. What ever.

On second watch, the scene between Dany and Jon had echo's of the past in it. Dany spoke the political truth to Jon, but he is too much like Ned to put political saavy above his honour. I believe it will cost him dearly. And I don't care who “wins”. There is no winning after you've defeated Death. And I want to point out that Those Who Are Dead CAN (and do) die.

Bronn's appearance? With the crossbow? I saw that as “if Bronn-with-a-crossbow appears in Act one, he's going to DO something with it by Act three.” (move along. nothing to see here)

The Hound's Horse. OMG! What a beauty!!! I had to rewind a couple of times just to ogle it, and then a few more to catch the dialog between Clegane and Arya because I kept getting disracted. It walked like it was a supermodel on the catwalk. Check it out. Knees high and one foot placed directily in front of the other foot. Classy. Someone needs to make a gif of that walk. Ohh, Yes.

The scene between Clegane and Arya was fun and a great throw back too.

Clegane: You gonna leave me to die again if I get hurt?

Arya: Probably

Clegane: (quiet grin/giggle and head shake)

Jon's goodbye to Tormund left me with the phrase “You've got the north in you. The real north.” My brain went a little lateral with that and I wondered if Ygritte had got Jon pregnant? He's died and been brought back. Who's to say it couldn't happen? (I'm thinking it would end in a rudimentary cesarean section so I hope not). Perhaps it was all the other callbacks that led me down that path? Or perhaps Jon will be laid to rest north of Castle Black, near Ygritte?

Dany is not his soul mate as far as I am concerned.

I'm going to stop here cuz I don't want to remember the last bits.

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1 hour ago, Anothermi said:

The Hound's Horse. OMG! What a beauty!!! I had to rewind a couple of times just to ogle it, and then a few more to catch the dialog between Clegane and Arya because I kept getting disracted. It walked like it was a supermodel on the catwalk. Check it out. Knees high and one foot placed directily in front of the other foot. Classy. Someone needs to make a gif of that walk. Ohh, Yes.

I believe that horse was a mighty, elegant Fresian, one of the most beautiful of draft horses due to it's jet black coat and it's Breck Girl fetlocks (furry bits flowing above its hooves), mane/forlock and tail. Pallas can confirm.

1 hour ago, Anothermi said:

I looked at the pyres and thought “that's not nearly enough”. And I was left wondering where the AotD re-dead went. And someone had enough energy to rake the snow to hide the blood stains and the dirt and the plowed up-ed-ness? Like it's a Japanese sand garden or something? 

OMG, yes anothermi, yes! I was thinking the same thing...it was so confusing, and where was Viserion's body praytell? Do the writers think we've forgotten about him? Where did they get all that straw and wood in the dead of winter? It's simple logistics that take A Viewer out of the moment with this stuff.

Edited by gingerella
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2 hours ago, gingerella said:

I believe that horse was a might Fresian, one of the most beautiful of draft horses due to it's jet black coat and it's Breck Girl fetlocks (furry bits flowing above its hooves), mane/forlock and tail.

Thanks @gingerella. I've been ogling googling them. I'm sure I've heard of Fresians before, but clearly didn't retain enough to recognize one when I see it.

Edited by Anothermi
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Yes, it was a Friesian (chimes in the other horse lady). My first thought was, Where did a grunt like Hound get a horse like that?!

They have very distinctive furry fetlocks, and David Nutter (the director of this ep) has a fixation on tracking shots that start low and work up. So we got a face full of furry fetlocks first. [Couldn't resist.] Ken Burns did that kind of shot a lot in "The Civil War." It made sense there because it gave the appearance of life and movement to still photos. But to film a living, moving body (horse or human) that way, as Nutter won't stop doing, seems more like a fetish of his.

Oh well, the sight of that horse was worth it.

The pyres were almost enough to pull me out of the moment. How did they have enough people left with enough energy left to gather up all those trillions of bodies and arrange them so neatly? And where did they get kindling? And why didn't they use dragon fire? Etc. Etc. But then I realized how boring it would have been to see them actually preparing the pyres, so all is forgiven. Dramatic necessity is a Good Thing in this case.

But I still haven't forgiven Jon for ditching Ghost without even a pat. Booo! But maybe it was just an oversight, like the now-infamous coffee cup on the strategy table. Ghost was probably CGI'ed into the scene later, so Jon didn't know he was there (or would be there). Still, a tummy rub would have been nice after all Ghost has done for him.

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9 minutes ago, janjan said:

Still, a tummy rub would have been nice after all Ghost has done for him.

I've don't remember ever seeing Jon be loving with his Direwolf. All the other Starks seem to have had a personal relationship with their Direwolves, but not Jon.

Guess he thought they were both considered the "runts" of the litter/family and Jon was hyper sensitive to things like that so didn't want to form a club with Ghost. They were just associates don't-you-know.

 Anyone know of a scene that would disabuse me of this impression?

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20 hours ago, gingerella said:

I believe that horse was a mighty, elegant Fresian, one of the most beautiful of draft horses due to it's jet black coat and it's Breck Girl fetlocks (furry bits flowing above its hooves), mane/forlock and tail. Pallas can confirm.

The Incredible Dr. Pol could tell you all about Fresians.

And Trevor Noah just showed me a Starbucks cup sitting in front of Dany, stealing the scene.  Now a woman must re-watch.

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5 hours ago, walnutqueen said:

And Trevor Noah just showed me a Starbucks cup sitting in front of Dany, stealing the scene.  Now a woman must re-watch. 

If you've recorded A Show, you'll see it. If you're streaming it, you won't. HBO has erased it.

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11 hours ago, janjan said:

If you've recorded A Show, you'll see it. If you're streaming it, you won't. HBO has erased it.

It truly is the future. Crazy!

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For me, the episode was a greater disappointment than the season opener. Daenerys is being hammered down into one more plot device: Jon Snow's Euron Greyjoy. I fear that the purpose is to set the scene for a formulaic, one-winner-takes-all conclusion and, perhaps, another generation of absolute rule. 

"She's a mad Queen!" "She's a bad Queen!" The showrunners are trying to sow it both ways, realizing that neither supposition has been sufficiently supported up to now, when they need to  prosecute their own show trial, and whisk her off the stage. So they aim to drive her mad or bad or both from anguish, so that she will prove them right by using her (living) weapon of mass destruction to annihilate civilians. The same tactic that ended World War II, except this time, by order of that most fearsome force in any world: an angry woman. 

Two mad, bad Queens in Cersei and Daenerys, neither with a legal right to the crown they both claim, and Dany as well as Cersei now being cast as someone who, in Westeros, would rule only through fear. Each soon to be mourned, despite her faults, by her better -- her younger brother and her nephew, respectively -- more humbled by life and more noble by nature. 

The only scene that moved me was Jaime and Brienne's parting. Both actors were superb and I was moved by Brienne's weeping from the stench of Jaime's self-hatred, and the guttering out of his soul. At the time I thought that Jaime was sincere in his words to her, and was heading to Cersei to die at her side.

But I've always thought that it was Jaime and not Arya who must kill Cersei, for reasons having nothing to do with vengeance. If so, I'm dejected that the show had him lying to Brienne "to protect her." Enough protective lies told in Winterfell, especially to women by men who profess to love them. Especially, in this case, by a man so much weaker than she. 

And then again, perhaps Jaime's headed to Dany's camp because he intends to kill another Targaryen monarch. With a sword in the back, and for the same reason: to prevent a family member's execution and King's Landing from immolation. 

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4 hours ago, Pallas said:

I fear that the purpose is to set the scene for a formulaic, one-winner-takes-all conclusion and, perhaps, another generation of absolute rule. 

Or maybe a spin-off?

4 hours ago, Pallas said:

"She's a mad Queen!" "She's a bad Queen!" The showrunners are trying to sow it both ways, realizing that neither supposition has been sufficiently supported up to now,

Nay nay! Dany has been turning inexorably to the Dark Side ever since she ate the horse's heart. (Yuck.) Later in the same scene, she watched almost gleefully as her brother was murdered. Not that he didn't deserve it, but it was barbaric. Then, locking Duck Sauce and her handmaiden in the vault; then crucifying the slave masters; then burning the Dothraki khals.

None of this was gratuitous -- the victims had all defied or wronged her in some way. But it was disproportionate -- as her hunger for power grew, so did her ruthlessness. That is what will bring her down, methinks.

Till now, she had been a mixture of light and dark (morally speaking). Her ruthless power grabs lived side by side with her love for a select few -- her "children," Missandei, Jorah, and finally Jon. But most have died. And if Jon turns on her, there will be no "guardrails" left to keep her from going full-on BAD. She's almost there now, as we could see in her face after the death of Missandrei. (Kudos to the actress.)

One thing that struck me as odd: When Sansa was sniping at Dany in the crypt, Missandrei said they'd all be dead withOUT her. Huh? Dany did indeed save the expedition beyond the wall but in no way did she save Winterfell. She and the dragons played no part at all (as far as I could see, but it *was* kinda dark. 🙂

Actually, she sort of *caused* the assault on Winterfell, albeit inadvertently.  If she hadn't taken the dragons beyond the wall, NK wouldn't have been able to snag one. And without a dragon, he couldn't have gotten his army past the wall. The Law of Unintended Consequences strikes again.

Edited by janjan · Reason: Fixed serious typo. Added a thought.
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Finally got hold of this episode! Lemme try to assemble a few thoughts.

I was surprised there were so few funeral pyres at the start, especially since the corpses seemed to be quite thinly laid out on them. Seems like there should have been more. I was also surprised that some of the corpses were so...intact and recognisable. I mean, they were all so...trampled, especially those that fell earlier in the battle (poor Edd). Jon's funeral speech was magnificent, and I nearly lost it completely when Sansa gave Theon her wolf pin. That acceptance would have meant everything to him, in life.

My first thought about the after-battle celebrations: what a flourishing candle industry Westeros must have! Seriously, so many candles!

There was a moment during the feast when Dany looked genuinely happy, surrounded by her allies and subjects and fully a part of the celebration. She looked as if she felt like one of them, for the first time...and then a moment later it faded, and she just looked alone, surrounded by all these people in merry little sub-groups she had no part of. Surrounded by such free-and-easy comradeship of a kind she has never really known. It underlined the remoteness of her upbringing and history, as well as the guardness of her character. She was born of Westeros, yet has returned to it a foreigner. These people have connections and history with one another that she can't touch, and she doesn't really know how to deal with it, or how to forge those kinds of connections for herself - the tactics that won her such undying adulation in Essos simply aren't working for her here. She isn't good at letting her guard down with anyone, holds herself aloof, in many ways, even from those she is closest to - that guardedness has become second nature. It protects her, but it also isolates her. And her inner circle is smaller than ever now.

I really like that she went and had an honest conversation with Jon about the elephant in the room - and, you know, she wasn't wrong to fear what could come of Jon's true parentage becoming more widely known, whether Jon wants to press his claim or not. It's just...her unyielding nature makes me really nervous. Every time she doesn't get her own way, I get nervous of how she will react, because she is not a forgiving person, and shock-and-awe tends to be her first recourse rather than a last resort. For all her good intentions, for all the chains she has broken, even her closest advisors are afraid of her - they know how little it would take for her to turn on them, and that isn't a recipe for long-term stability! That duality in her character is fascinating, for sure, because it seems like she is teetering right on the edge right now, talking about herself as a messiah with that dangerous glint in her eye and not much sign of self-awareness of how close she is to becoming the kind of tyrant she claims to oppose. Will she pull herself back from the brink and become a good and stable ruler? Or will she topple over the edge into full-blown madness, like her father before her? As @janjan says above, the seeds of potential madness have been visible in her almost from the start, there has always been that duality, that question mark over which way she would ultimately turn out. How the cards will ultimately fall remains to be seen!

And now I've just seen a weird and unlikely parallel between Dany and Stannis, of all people - he also believed a bit too much in his own hype, and allowed it to justify unjustifiable acts.

The post-battle celebration was fairly fascinating all round - so much joy and revelry on the surface, but visible cracks everywhere you look.

Finally, all four of Ned's surviving children (or supposed children) all together in one scene, having an actual conversation, as siblings! It has only taken four episodes - and then immediately split up into separate sub-plots again. I do hope Arya at least said goodbye to the others before she left, after that big speech about family and them being the last of the Starks.

I'm choosing to believe that Jon had already said a private farewell to Ghost before his conversation with Tormund, since he was clearly not taking him south with the army for the siege of King's Landing.

I would like to know how come poor Rhaegal was so accurately shot down, hit by multiple arrows, when an entire multi-weapon volley fired afterward managed to miss Drogon completely! And, I mean...the allies knew Cersei has a large fleet, they know she has used ambush tactics to great success before, both on land and at sea. Why were they so surprised that her fleet was ready and waiting for them? What else did they expect?

I have not missed Cersei, not one little bit. Her pregnancy is still not showing, I notice.

Tyrion comes across as a man who desperately wants to believe he has hitched his wagon to the right star, but is inwardly wracked with doubt.

I still think my idea of a stealth attack on Cersei would be the best strategy, a small guerilla unit sneaking into King's Landing in disguise to attempt an assassination, preferably with a larger-scale assault staged to coincide by way of distraction. The allies have all these seasoned warriors, how come none of them seem able to come up with any strategy other than 'full frontal assault'?

I really hated seeing Brienne crying over a man.

Poor Missandei looked more frightened as a prisoner of Cersei than she did when the army of the dead were literally fighting right above her head!

Euron should be asking himself right about now just how Tyrion knew about the baby that Cersei has supposedly conceived with him long after she last spoke to her brother.

Oh, poor Grey Worm.

There is going to be no talking Dany down after this.

There is probably loads more I could say, especially in reply to the conversation above, but I've rattled on long enough for one night!

Edited by Llywela
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19 minutes ago, Llywela said:

I would like to know how come poor Rhaegal was so accurately shot down, hit by multiple arrows, when an entire multi-weapon volley fired afterward managed to miss Drogon completely! And, I mean...the allies knew Cersei has a large fleet, they know she has used ambush tactics to great success before, both on land and at sea. Why were they so surprised that her fleet was ready and waiting for them? What else did they expect?

Right-o! And if you have dragons to fly around on, why not use them for forward reconnaissance so you know what you're sailing into? And fly high enough that they don't get shot?

The military tactics on A Show are truly awful (sez me, who knows nothing about military tactics). F'instance, what are walls for? They're for defense. So why, in defense against a siege, do you deploy your armies OUTSIDE the walls? Sheesh. And the Dothraki charge was great spectacle (it's no doubt the only reason the battle was staged at night), but that's not how you use light cavalry. No wonder they lasted about a minute. And there was no defense ON the walls -- not the sweeping scythe the Night's Watch used against the Wildling assault, no flaming pigshit poured down from the battlements. Nothing! Just a trench that they coldn't get lighted. Good thing Deux ex Mel arrived in time.

So I've become resigned to watching the battle scenes as just very expensive made-for-tv spectacle, without rhyme or reason in the story. RIP dear Rhaegal. Jon won't be riding in on a dragon after all.

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There was a lot of name-checking of the various kingdoms that make up Westeros in this episode, which reminded me of my pondering the other week about what exactly is going on in those various sub-kingdoms, given that their ruling houses have been systematically wiped out by years of civil war. Bronn has been promised Riverrun by Cersei and Highgarden by Tyrion - but who is running those places in the meantime? Shouldn't they get a say in the matter? And then, Dany has given Storm's End to Gendry, but how much weight is that going to carry with the people there? I mean, if Gendry rocks up all on his lonesome (because everyone else is off besieging King's Landing) and says, "Hey, my name is Gendry Baratheon and I'm your new Lord, so-named by Danerys Targaryen," are the people who've been running Storm's End in the interrim likely to say, "Right-o, all yours"? Or are they more likely to say, "Danerys who? Bugger off, mate, Storm's End is our by right of us already being here, large and in charge"? I mean, I know it is a very typical thing of the kind of medieval society A Show has always been at pains to simulate - rulers parcel out land to their supporters as a means of buying loyalty and suppressing troublesome natives. But it does make me wonder about the local politics of it all.

Speaking of medieval politics, when Sansa and Dany had their little disagreement about whether the battle-weary troops should be given a breather or marched straight down south to confront Cersei, I couldn't help remembering King Harold of England in 1066. For he too took an army up north and won a resounding victory there, in his case against Vikings, and then he too wheeled right around to march his army back down south again with no time to recover, having received word of another invasion on the southern coast. He rather famously lost that second battle, and it is William the Conqueror's name that has gone down in history, while Harold is all but forgotten. Let us hope Jon and Dany's army does not do likewise, but other than not being a foreign invader, Cersei is definitely in the William position here, her troops being fresh as a daisy while the allies are exhausted and injured.

I was chatting this week to my friend, who helps me to watch A Show, and she said that she is feeling quite let down by the mythology this season - it was her favourite thing about the show, in the beginning, but she feels like it has all drawn to a very woolly end, that Bran's journey to becoming the three-eyed ravens was never really used for anything while Melisandre bringing Jon back to life never meant anything. And that got me thinking about my own view of A Show's mythology, because on the one hand I agree that it has all been quite rushed and woolly at the end - the difference between the seasons guided by actual novels and the seasons with no novels to guide them is very apparent, in both good ways and bad. I imagine there is a lot of supporting detail in the novel that hasn't translated well into the show, and I know enough about how TV adaptations work to guess that a lot of sub-plots will have been contracted or merged or outright deleted, if the showrunners didn't feel they were strictly necessary, and those kinds of decisions can have quite far-reaching consequences in terms of how it all hangs together in the end (I've never quite got over some of the decisions made for Poldark, for instance, I'm convinced the showrunner there hadn't actually read ahead before making some of their early changes).

But on the other hand, I also think A Show has made a decent attempt at tying the mythology together, overall. I think Bran becoming the three-eyed raven has meant something, imo - his journey might not have always been a major focus, and has at times felt like a bit of an afterthought to the main plot, but he was both the primary vehicle for revealing Jon's parentage and the macguffin by which the Night King was successfully lured away from his army, so that he could be killed. He was an essential cog in the machinery, so to speak. And I also think that Melisandre bringing Jon back to life did mean something, because without Jon there would have been no defence against the Night King whatsoever. Jon may not have struck the killing blow, but his role was absolutely critical.

My friend also grumbled about the Lord of Light storyline, and there I agree with her, because I'm not sure I've ever really understood what that was all about or how it worked. I mean, there clearly is power there, but where it comes from and how certain practitioners are able to tap into it is anyone's guess. But maybe that's the point - at the end of the day, it is a religion and we aren't supposed to understand how it works, any more than we are supposed to understand how the Night King really worked. It's the nature of fantasy, I guess. Sometimes you just have to shrug stuff off as magic and have done with it!

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37 minutes ago, Llywela said:

without Jon there would have been no defence against the Night King whatsoever. Jon may not have struck the killing blow, but his role was absolutely critical.

I who know nothing about military tactics don't understand this. I can't see that Jon did anything at all (except keep the audience glued to the screen thinking he was eventually gonna do something). He provided the defenders with armies galore, dragons two, and all the bannermen and Free Folk, but they were all defeated or stalemated and about to be overrun. Splat. Squish. It was a lone stealth assassin who saved the day.

Or maybe I'm missing something?

Anyway, a frontal assault on KL, as Dany seems to be contemplating, doesn't sound like a good idea. The army is depleted and exhausted, as Llywela says, and KL seems to have much more formidable defenses than Winterfell had. If ever there was a job for a stealth assassin . . . Luckily, there's one on the way.

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52 minutes ago, janjan said:

He provided the defenders with armies galore, dragons two, and all the bannermen and Free Folk, but they were all defeated or stalemated and about to be overrun. Splat. Squish. It was a lone stealth assassin who saved the day.

A stealth assassin, on her own, would never have been able to get near the NK.

This story is a jigsaw puzzle that only works when all the pieces are finally in place. Many things that had to happen to ensure a fighting chance against the NK and the AotD:

As Tyrion pointed out, Robert's unwillingness to accept, or even recognize, that the woman he loved did not love him.

Peter Balish's bitterness towards anyone and everyone better than him in any way and his ability to create the chaos he used to rise above them.

Ned's honour. (nuff said)

Sansa's naivete and  Arya's non-conformity. Both pushed beyond limits they didn't know existed and in the process gaining the wisdom to achieve their goals coolly and collectedly  - not in the heat of anger.

Jaime pushing Bran from the tower and paralyzing him. (as Bran mentioned, without that he would never have become the TER)

Jon having to be killed and then resurrected. He won the hearts and mind of the fighters from Westeros and then Dany, herself, who won supporters from the lands of the far east. (not to mention providing Dragons).

That's just the tip of the iceberg.

It's the old hip-bone-connected-to-the-thigh-bone metaphor.

1 hour ago, janjan said:

and KL seems to have much more formidable defenses than Winterfell had

And this is the weakness for Dany and her dragons. When Aegon the Conqueror arrived, no one had ever seen dragons. No one, therefore, had imagined what it would take to defeat one.

That is not true now, and what we haven't seen is anyone in Dany's circle addressing that flaw in the plans.

As far as who takes out Cersei? I can think of a number of options, but for me, the most satisfying would be Jaime - but he would do it to spare her a worse fate (same as she was prepared to do to Tommen) because "you can't choose who you love". She always loved her children and he always loved her. The worst fate I can imagine for him would be that he survives after saving her an ignominious death and bares the name of Queen-slayer/ sister slayer into old age. The show runners might take pity on him, though, and let him die with her.

But on the other hand, it could be Bronn. All set to take out Jaime (or Tyrion) and realizing that she is even less likely to give him the monetary compensation he's been after all these years than they are?

Like I said. There are a number of  vertigo inducing options.

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8 hours ago, janjan said:

I who know nothing about military tactics don't understand this. I can't see that Jon did anything at all (except keep the audience glued to the screen thinking he was eventually gonna do something). He provided the defenders with armies galore, dragons two, and all the bannermen and Free Folk, but they were all defeated or stalemated and about to be overrun. Splat. Squish. It was a lone stealth assassin who saved the day.

As @Anothermi said, without Jon there would have been no defence at all. Without Jon, no one would have been at Winterfell to confront the Night King when his army arrived. Jon was the one who brought all those armies together, he convinced multiple groups of enemies to put their differences aside and stand together to face a common enemy none of them had previously believed existed, and he also negotiated the acquisition of sufficient supplies of a weapon (dragonglass) that could actually be used against the zombonies. Without that, the Night King's army would have simply swept south through one unprotected community after another, and that would have been the end of that. Without the defence that was mounted at Winterfell (and without Bran acting as bait to lure the Night King out), Arya would not have been able to get near the Night King to do her thing - she would never even have known it was coming until it was too late. Yes, Jon's role was critical - but not critical in the way of most traditional heroes, who get to strike the killing blow. This isn't that kind of story. All of these players fitted together in that final battle like cogs in a piece of clockwork, some playing a big part, others playing a small part, but all of them were needed, in the right place at the right time for the living to triumph over the dead.

I mean, if Beric was brought back 19 times just so he could die saving Arya's life during that battle, then Jon was absolutely brought back to life so he could unite multiple warring factions and raise an army to defend the living from the dead. The mistake everyone made, or that my friend made, was in assuming the purpose of his resurrection had to be bigger than that - showier than that. Jon's part was to get all those armies together, to hold the zombonies off while the Night King was lured into a trap. Arya's part, although no one knew it until the very last, was to spring that trap. Beric's part was to make sure she lived to do it. And so on. Cogs in the clockwork, everyone had a part to play.

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Depressing episode. Rushed and nonsensical. Why have air superiority if it can't allow you to see the ENTIRE GREYJOY FLEET lurking near your home base?

On 5/6/2019 at 10:37 AM, gingerella said:

Dany? Not so much, IMO.

Dany gained the trust of the Unsullied by freeing them and asking (rather than compelling) them to fight for her and making them proud of themselves. Grey Worm told Dany “'Grey Worm' gives me pride. It is a lucky name. The name this one was born with was cursed. That was the name he had when he was taken as a slave. But Grey Worm is the name this one had the day Daenerys Stormborn set him free."

She got the Dothraki to ride the wooden horses across the poison water because she showed them strength and leadership.

I am honestly bewildered at where the "Dany is going fully Mad King" "Dany is a bad leader" stuff comes from. I just haven't seen that in A Show. What I have seen is A Show back Dany into a corner and strip away all her power piece by piece so that it appears the only option she has is to go Mad King on KL and "burn them all". Since the end of S6 she has lost two dragons, over half her armies, all the Dornish, and the Yara Greyjoy fleet. I think that Missendei's final word, "dracarys", was less a call to "burn them all" than a call to see a solution that only Dany can see. As she told Dany back in S5... "I can only tell you what I have seen, Your Grace. I have seen you listen to your counselors. I have seen you lean on their experience when your own was lacking and weigh the choices they put before you. And I have seen you ignore your counselors because there was a better choice. One that only you could see."

On 5/8/2019 at 9:01 AM, janjan said:

But it was disproportionate -- as her hunger for power grew, so did her ruthlessness

She was advised to put all the Wise Masters and the Good Masters in a stadium and kill them all. She didn't. She has held off on burning KL to the ground since the start of S7. She keeps trusting her advisers even though the are loosing the war for her.

On 5/8/2019 at 6:50 AM, Pallas said:

So they aim to drive her mad or bad or both from anguish, so that she will prove them right by using her (living) weapon of mass destruction to annihilate civilians.

I am betting she won't. I think a Queen Sacrifice is in the future.

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29 minutes ago, WhiteStumbler said:

I am betting she won't [burn KL civilians]. I think a Queen Sacrifice is in the future.

Whatcha wanna bet? I'll lay you one dragon egg and two Hot Pie wolf cakes (brown the butter first) that Dany goes off the rails this week and torches KL.

The throne room will look like the burnt-out wreck she saw in her vision, but Cersei will escape. She runs to Jaime for protection, but he knifes her. Then he peels off his face and it's Arya.

As Dany is about to burn the whole city and everyone in it, a Kingslayer buries his sword in her back. It's the only honorable thing to do, and we know who's honorable. The LoL brought Jon back for a reason. . . .

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13 hours ago, Llywela said:

All of these players fitted together in that final battle like cogs in a piece of clockwork, some playing a big part, others playing a small part, but all of them were needed, in the right place at the right time for the living to triumph over the dead.

I mean, if Beric was brought back 19 times just so he could die saving Arya's life during that battle, then Jon was absolutely brought back to life so he could unite multiple warring factions and raise an army to defend the living from the dead. The mistake everyone made, or that my friend made, was in assuming the purpose of his resurrection had to be bigger than that - showier than that. Jon's part was to get all those armies together, to hold the zombonies off while the Night King was lured into a trap. Arya's part, although no one knew it until the very last, was to spring that trap. Beric's part was to make sure she lived to do it. And so on. Cogs in the clockwork, everyone had a part to play.

This is brilliantly said! Whether you call it a Rubik's Cube, a puzzle, cogs in a wheel, all of it  - from Robert's decision to go to Winterfell and everything that came after that - happened for a reason. So far, "THE REASON" has been so that everyone can be in their proper places for the battle at Winterfell to defeat the WWs once and for all. That was the battle between the Living and the Dead. Now there is another battle coming, and it is between (wo)men and (wo)men, and it is almost more terrifying in that there are more unknowns in this battle. In the battle between the Living and the Dead, it was pretty clear what would happen - a zomboni army would clamber into, on top of, underneath Winterfell and kill everyone in it's path. There wasn't really any cagey strategy going on, the AotD was always a lumbering shitshow that one could bank on. But mankind? You never know what shite Cersei, Qyburn & Urine have up their proverbial sleeves, so it feels more ominous even though we don't know if magic will play it's part, except for one remaining dragon of course. I think I'm more on edge for this week's episode than the last battle, because I just don't know what to expect, whereas what happened in the last battle I pretty much expected in terms of battle stuff.

57 minutes ago, WhiteStumbler said:

I am honestly bewildered at where the "Dany is going fully Mad King" "Dany is a bad leader" stuff comes from. I just haven't seen that in A Show. What I have seen is A Show back Dany into a corner and strip away all her power piece by piece so that it appears the only option she has is to go Mad King on KL and "burn them all".

I think this is a fair point, and illustrates what we might be seeing. For me, the PoV on Dany is that once she gained control and leadership over the Dothraki, she had an air of entitlement to her that the Iron Throne was hers for the taking. She didn't really seem that interested in it when first we met her bathing for her marriage to Drogo. (SIDEBAR: Who, BTW, I think Jason Momoa needs to move the hell on already, he keeps cropping up here and there and the dude's been dead for how many seasons now?!?) Anyway, once she got her army and took up the mantle of 'the Iron Throne is rightly mine to take back', she has, IMO, waffled. Yes she has listened to her advisors and many times it has not played out well. The one time it DID play out well was in the battle against the Dead. That worked out well, because she and Jon worked together as best they could under the circumstances. And that was probably the most important battle they will have because if they'd lost then nobody was winning and throne of any kind. You say she's been backed into a corner and yes, that's a good description, but I also feel she's got a reckless streak in her that she naturally reverts to annihilation rather quickly. You could see how taken aback the others were at her "root and stem" comment, but then again, she's correct, Cersei cannot be simply removed from the Red Keep, she needs to be permanently removed. So I can see both sides when I think of it like that. Who knows if she'd have gained a more fearsome reputation to KL if she'd done all the things she wanted to do but was swayed otherwise by her counsellors...I guess what I'm saying @WhiteStumbler, is that I see both sides after reading your post. But I do think losing Rhaegal and Missandei will propel her to do something very, very destructive. And she may literally go down in flames.

21 minutes ago, janjan said:

As Dany is about to burn the whole city and everyone in it, a Kingslayer buries his sword in her back. It's the only honorable thing to do, and we know who's honorable. The LoL brought Jon back for a reason. . . . 

@janjan, are you saying that Jon will kill her? Because if Arya uses Jaime's face to kill Cersei it'll mean the real Kingslayer is already dead.

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31 minutes ago, gingerella said:

@janjan, are you saying that Jon will kill her? Because if Arya uses Jaime's face to kill Cersei it'll mean the real Kingslayer is already dead.

Yes, that's what I'm spitballing. (I used "king" in the generic sense of "ruler," not gender-specific.) I meant it as an echo of Jaime's Grecian tragedy: he did the only honorable thing at the time, and spent the rest of his life being reviled for it. I think Jon will do the same -- slay the ruler, most likely with a sword in the back, to save the KL inhabitants from hellfire. But he won't have long to suffer the infamy. He's been dead already, and once he has played his part in LoL's game, LoL will let him go. Fade to black.

Then Sansa will remarry Tyrion. As a cousin and closest living relative of the last rightful King, she will inherit the Crown and maybe even break the wheel.

Edited by janjan
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