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Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 4 photos, featuring funerals & war councils!

Drogon looks healthy and Dany is happy. Good news, for once? Photo courtesy of HBO.

Drogon looks healthy and Dany is happy. Good news, for once? Photo courtesy of HBO.

After the mind-blowing, ratings-shattering (and apparently divisive) Episode 3 of Game of Thrones’ Season 8, “The Long Night,” the fandom is reeling. What will happen in the last three episodes of the final season, now that the threat of the army of the dead has been dispatched? We can’t answer that yet, of course, but we can glean what we can from the newly-released official Episode 4 photos and start to formulate some theories.

Photo courtesy of HBO.

Photo courtesy of HBO.

We see Tormund, Sansa, Arya, Jon, Grey Worm, Dany and Sam preparing to light funeral pyres for those who fell in the Battle of Winterfell. It’s interesting that the North is burning their dead, which — before the threat of the White Walkers hit close to home — was only undertaken by the free folk. Are they just being cautious? Or have they learned something important?

Photo courtesy of HBO.

Photo courtesy of HBO.

Dany’s forces are on the move again, with their few remaining ships, likely heading to King’s Landing to confront the threat of Cersei and the Lannister forces.

Caption. Photo courtesy of HBO.

Photo courtesy of Helen Sloan/HBO.

This photo and the following two seem to be from the same scene of lighting the funeral pyres — and it may just be the angle or the way the scene is shot, but you can clearly see that the Northern forces are looking pretty depleted.

Photo courtesy of HBO.

Photo courtesy of Helen Sloan/HBO.

Photo courtesy of Helen Sloan/HBO.

Photo courtesy of Helen Sloan/HBO.

Photo courtesy of HBO.

Photo courtesy of Helen Sloan/HBO.

Another war planning council in the library, it would seem, but who are Missandei, Dany and Varys listening to?

Photo courtesy of HBO.

Photo courtesy of Helen Sloan/HBO.

Cersei is looking self-satisfied as usual, and Euron looks happy that his Queen is happy…although he’s also looking a bit sly. These two are quite a pair, but they’re also a force to be reckoned with.

So what do you think about these photos? What do they mean for Episode 4 — and perhaps for the story going forward? Let us know in the comments!

The post Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 4 photos, featuring funerals & war councils! appeared first on Watchers on the Wall.

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Curtain Call: Carice Van Houten

Melisandre

“The Long Night” was dark and full of terrors, but Melisandre was instrumental in burning them all away. Whatever your feelings about the mysterious red priestess, she certainly knew how to make an entrance – and an exit. From her stunning introduction in season two on the windswept beaches of Dragonstone, to her poetic death as dawn broke over Winterfell, Carice Van Houten made a powerful and unforgettable impression.

Funnily enough, Van Houten was almost cast as another character – Cersei Lannister. She was initially approached to audition for our favorite villainous queen but had to decline as she was filming the movie Intruders at the time. Fortunately she was able to join the series for season two in the role of Melisandre instead, and I think we can all agree it worked out for the best in both cases.

Playing a challenging character like Melisandre wasn’t easy, and Van Houten has admitted it “was a struggle in the beginning. The things I’d done before, in film or theater, were tragicomic roles where the focus was on human flaws, fears and doubts. This confident, religious, extreme character seemed to lack all of that. So I really had to work hard.”

melisandre

The beauty of Van Houten’s performance, however, is that despite her confidence and intimidating presence, Melisandre did have fears and doubts beneath the surface. She was able to express them beautifully in season six when all hope seemed lost. Despite her terrible sacrifice of Shireen a season earlier, Stannis was defeated and killed – and mankind’s other great hope to defeat the long night had just been brutally murdered by his Night’s Watch brothers.

It was an interesting time for Van Houten, who went from receiving death threats by fans after burning Shireen to receiving marriage proposals for resurrecting Jon Snow. While the audience may take the show a little too seriously at times, she revels in the impact her character has made. In an interview with The Guardian, she recounted a story of telling a fan “the night is dark and full of terrors” when the girl couldn’t quite place how she knew Van Houten. “[She] almost screamed – not just because she recognized someone from TV, but as if she really thought I was scary. Which was fun!”

Scary she may have been, but no one could deny that Melisandre’s focus was on the greater good – despite the sometimes horrific acts she committed. It is fitting then, that her last act was to help defeat the threat she’d been warning against since the beginning. Van Houten gave an inspired, understated performance during the battle of Winterfell, and the final shot of her walking out into the snow, removing her glamour, and falling peacefully to the ground as her incredibly advanced age overcame her was one of the most moving of the episode. Her long night is now at an end.

Besides Game of Thrones, Carice Van Houten is best known for her lead roles in the highly successful Dutch film Black Book, the Jesse Owens biopic Race, and playing opposite Tom Cruise in Valkyrie. An accomplished singer as well, Van Houten provided vocals for the Black Book soundtrack and has released two albums of her own. Her next project is the upcoming movie Domino, in which she stars with her husband, Guy Pearce, and fellow Game of Thrones castmate Nikolaj Coster-Waldau. Hopefully Van Houten will continue to grace our screens with her magnetic presence for years to come.

Carice van Houten

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“The Long Night” breaks overnight ratings record for Game of Thrones and HBO!

The Night King is so happy about the ratings he may just explode

The Night King is so happy about the ratings he may just EXPLODE

“The Long Night” was as close to a mid-season finale as a show with such short seasons could possibly get. As the much-anticipated, fiery, harrowing climactic battle in the war between the living and the dead, how did this episode do in terms of viewership?

As reported by Deadline, “The Long Night”, the third episode of season eight, was viewed on 12.02 million American TVs during HBO’s first airing, almost matching the record held by the season seven finale, “The Dragon and the Wolf”, at 12.07 million viewers.

Game of Thrones Ratings Detailed by 803

At 12.02 million viewers, “The Long Night” is the second most-watched Game of Thrones episode on the first US broadcast. Will the final three episodes break the seeminly insurmountable record set by “The Dragon and the Wolf”? We’ll have to wait and see. Meanwhile, here’s a chart showing how season eight is, overall, ahead of the pack:

Game of Thrones Ratings by Season by 803

Finally, accounting for overnight airings as well as a partial streaming count, which is how increasingly more people are watching TV, “The Long Night” had 17.8 million viewers in the US. This is a new high for Game of Thrones and HBO overall, breaking the record of 17.4 million set by the season eight premiere, “Winterfell”, a few weeks ago.

Though by the traditional broadcast metric season eight has broken no major records, the show’s being watched more than ever before; it’s just spread out among platforms.

The post “The Long Night” breaks overnight ratings record for Game of Thrones and HBO! appeared first on Watchers on the Wall.

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The Writing on the Wall: An Ode to Spectacle

 What do we say to the God of Death? Not today.

What do we say to the God of Death? Not today.

The spectacle of Game of Thrones is famed and infamous. We can never forget the wildfire that spread across Blackwater Bay, our wide eyes reflected in Tyrion’s (Peter Dinklage) shocked horror at what the “pig shit” was capable of. We were quietly terrified when the Night King raised his army at Hardhome. We were sure that Jon (Kit Harington) might very well drown in a sea of stampeding bodies at the Battle of the Bastards because that’s the kind of show this is. Now we have the Battle of Winterfell, perhaps the biggest battle to rule them all.

What makes battle sequences tick from a writing perspective are the characters within them. It is one thing to write pure spectacle and that in and of itself is quite difficult. Ask a plethora of writers, whether they are writing fantasy, historical fiction, or even a nonfiction recreation of a battle and most if not all will note the immense difficulties that come with that responsibility. There has to be a cohesion in the battle sequences, an ability to visually construct a scene that is thrilling yet not so overwhelming that it becomes a byzantine mess. I have no desire to knock writing that is based on spectacle, for that on its own can be quiet enjoyable.

The visuals are often stunning on Thrones, accompanied always by a gorgeous score from Ramin Djawadi. It’s often a pleasure to look from one scene to the next, just seeing exactly how many screensavers you can garner from just one episode. In “The Long Night” alone there are a plethora of simply gorgeous scenes. The opening charge of the Dothraki is stunning. The shot of Rhaegal and Drogon descending through the full moon lit clouds with Jon and Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) is breathtaking. The colors of Drogon encircling a mourning Daenerys and the body of Jorah Mormont (Iain Glen) are haunting in their elegiac quality.

Brienne of Tarth Jaime Lannister Season 8 803 The Long Night

That aforementioned sense of catharsis comes from when writers are able to focus on a character within a battle sequence. That first and foremost requires an ability to understand who these characters are. Would Bronn (Jerome Flynn) be in a particular battle? Why would he be there? How would he act besides self-preservation? Samwell (John Bradley) killed a White Walker but in spite of his bravery at Castle Black, he is not a warrior at heart. Would he be out there, stabbing wights left and right? Probably not. Would Edd (Ben Crompton), in spite of all his camaraderie-laced snaps at Samwell, save his friend’s life and die in the process? Yes, he would.

The Battle of Winterfell ended in ways that I simply did not expect, but what made its internal mechanics click from a writer’s perspective is how the writing weaved characters in and out of the technicalities of the battle sequences and largely in an organic manner. I was tense and stressed not necessarily out of the sheer “ooh and aah” of what was on the screen before me, but out of a concern that far too many of the characters I had come to know and love were going to perish at literally any given moment.

I was the most concerned for Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson). Writing-wise, Grey Worm was in an incredibly difficult position. He was, in a failure of writing to be quite honest, the only member of Dany’s armies we had come to know. He had been given a truly touching romance with Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel), a romance that had become all the more truly enriched when you remember the sheer trauma and suffering the two of them had gone through together. On a personal level, I wanted this Black love to succeed in spite of all the narrative odds that said a resounding ‘no’.

Grey Worm Unsullied Season 8 803 The Long Night

There were several moments when I thought that it was it for Grey Worm. At his heart, Grey Worm is a kind and honorable man with a deeply rooted sense of loyalty and commitment. He is committed to his Unsullied brethren, his Queen in Daenerys and his love in Missandei. His sense of personal attachment to them all is intertwined with his sense of duty towards them. Those moments where I thought he would die worked as the writing required. Grey Worm would absolutely sacrifice himself to light the trenches because that meant that the two most important women in his life would have a better chance at surviving to dawn. It makes sense that he would do so for a tactical reason as a military man, lighting the trenches when the men trying to do so were all falling rapidly bit by bit. I was terrified that he was going to light the trench himself and die after giving the living a better chance at making it to the next day. That’s good writing.

Lyanna Mormont (Bella Ramsey) was intended to be a one-scene character before the showrunners realized just how powerful of a character they had on their hands. The Lady of Bear Island is a child in years, but she is a fierce warrior at heart who stands shoulder to shoulder and indeed quite often, ahead of the grown men who have a socially accepted grip on warriorhood. She is a warrior who would never back down from a fight, but not for any reasons of machismo or wanting to just prove her mettle. She was in a position of leadership and she took that position quite seriously – and if she was going to lead the people of Bear Island, she was going to do it from the battlefield, goddamnit. Plenty of grown adults would have run from that giant, but not Lyanna. She knew that she could muster the strength to take down that giant wight who was going to kill countless others and she did with all of the strength she had left. It was a fitting end for a giant of a leader.

Lyanna Mormont Season 8 803 The Long Night

Arya (Maisie Williams) would always be at the front and center of a battle. She has been a warrior of prowess since the beginning of the series, fighting back literally and figuratively against a patriarchal system that did not have any space for who she wanted to be. So she carved out that space. She trained with the fierce Braavosi Syrio Forel (Miltos Yerolemou), she went on a terrifying journey of survival with Yoren (Francis Magee), and fought through the war-ravaged countryside with Sandor (Rory McCann) by her side. She trained to the degree of almost losing her sense of self and for a while her literal sight under the auspices of the House of Black and White and the literal God of Death. It makes complete sense from a writing perspective for her to be the character who, after facing so many variations of Death, is ready to meet its most terrifying harbinger yet head on.

In a story where the narrative was just as obsessed with prophecies and traditions as its characters, it would be Jon who deals the killing blow to the Night King. That may be what a lot of us expected, but it is not what Game of Thrones is. There are certainly plenty of questions that “The Long Night” leaves behind but the writing is more concerned with the living characters than anything else. Game of Thrones is a subversive show in many ways and it certainly challenged the audience yet again with “The Long Night”. But it may have committed its most subversive act yet amidst the spectacle, terror, and melee when a young girl who had been fighting her whole life to be who she truly is was able to become her true self in spite of all the trauma that life had seen fit to throw in her direction. Expectations and prophecies be damned.

Moments like Arya ending the Night King by the same trick she used with Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) in “The Spoils of War” work because the spectacle of it all is lifted by true character heft. This surprise would not have worked if we had not gone on this long, traumatic journey with Arya and watched her learn, fail, and grow. It would not have worked if the writers hadn’t combined those lessons, failures, and growth and applied them to her fight choreography. Seeing Arya victorious works because it combines the best of what Game of Thrones has to offer: layered character work that builds to an earned payoff and the simultaneous subversion of what we have come to expect, even from a show that thrills in writing the unexpected at most of its narrative turns.

Valar Morghulis.

The post The Writing on the Wall: An Ode to Spectacle appeared first on Watchers on the Wall.

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The Night’s Cast Episode 21: “The Long Night” Recap and Reactions

l

I don’t know about anyone else, but seeing Daenerys wield a sword (albeit shortly) was a thrill.

Episode 3 of Season 8 of Game of Thrones, “The Long Night,” may go down as one of the most divisive episodes in the series’ history — and just like everyone else, The Night’s Cast, the official podcast of Watchers on the Wall, has opinions!

This week, Petra and Samantha weigh in on the halfway point of the final season of the show and what worked, what didn’t, and how this might affect the final three episodes.

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Don’t forget — The Night’s Cast is going live for Season 8! Every Sunday until May 19th, you can find us livestreaming at 5 p.m. EST on the Watchers on the Wall YouTube channel.

The podcast is available on iTunes and SoundCloud, and you can follow us on Twitter as well. Happy listening!

The post The Night’s Cast Episode 21: “The Long Night” Recap and Reactions appeared first on Watchers on the Wall.

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Game of Thrones Post-Mortem of “The Long Night”

Daenerys Dany Targaryen Jorah Mormont Season 8 803 The Long Night Header Zoomed In

The Game of Thrones episode we had all been anticipating (and dreading) has come and gone, and it was full of action, horror, heartbreak, and triumph. “The Long Night” kept us on the edge of our seat as Winterfell’s fate hung in the balance, before delivering a victory for our heroes in a rather unexpected way. As always, the cast and crew have plenty of thoughts to share, so let’s go behind the scenes with today’s interviews and videos!

The episode’s MVP was definitely Arya Stark, but Maisie Williams wasn’t sure how fans would react to her killing the Night King. She tells Entertainment Weekly that she “immediately thought that everybody would hate it; that Arya doesn’t deserve it. The hardest thing is in any series is when you build up a villain that’s so impossible to defeat and then you defeat them. It has to be intelligently done because otherwise people are like, ‘Well, [the villain] couldn’t have been that bad when some 100-pound girl comes in and stabs him.’ You gotta make it cool. And then I told my boyfriend and he was like, ‘Mmm, should be Jon though really, shouldn’t it?’” Maybe it’s time for a new boyfriend…just saying.

Williams came around to the idea quickly, however. “When we did the whole bit with Melisandre, I realized the whole scene with [the Red Woman] brings it back to everything I’ve been working for over these past 6 seasons…It all comes down to this one very moment. It’s also unexpected and that’s what this show does. So then I was like, ‘F—k you Jon, I get it.’”

Arya Stark Night King Season 8 803 The Long Night

For his part, Kit Harington was willing to let someone other than Jon have the glory. “I think it will frustrate some in the audience that Jon’s hunting the Night King and you’re expecting this epic fight and it never happens — that’s kind of Thrones. But it’s the right thing for the characters. There’s also something about it not being the person you expect. The young lady sticks it to the man.”

For all of her training, Arya has never been in a real battle, and Williams had no idea how grueling it would be – but the reward was well worth it. “You try and you train but nothing can prepare you for how physically draining it is. It’s night after night and again and again and it just doesn’t stop…But the sense of achievement after a day on set is unlike anything else. One of those really tough days, you know it’s going to be part of something so iconic and it will look amazing.” That it did.

For more on Arya’s big moment, head over to EW.

Melisandre Arya Stark Season 8 803

EW also brings us an interview with Carice Van Houten, whose character had a significant role in the Winterfell battle as well. Van Houten wasn’t sure where Melisandre’s storyline would end, but she admits she didn’t have high hopes. “I had a bit of a feeling it was not going to end well for me. I was a bit emotional. I really like that we finally know what she came for, and it’s the end of her journey. ‘I can go now, my work is done’ — without it being really dramatic. It’s a life that’s been hundreds of years that’s come to an end now.”

We don’t know much about Melisandre’s story, and Van Houten wishes the show could have explored it more. “I would have liked to know a bit more about her past. Because she was a slave. It would have been a nice moment to show she is human and connect her to to others. As an actor it’s more interesting to play doubts and secrets. And it’s nice to tap from your own s—. I wish we knew a bit more about her s—.” Perhaps we will find out more in the books?

As to how the series ends, Van Houten is unsure of how fans will react. “People have had so much time to make up their own story. I guess they become attached to something they wish or fear for. Some will be surprised. Above all, they’ll say that it’s over. It’s a pretty f—ing unique show, let’s face it. This is freeing in a way. You need to jam in life a bit. Now I’m going to try another instrument.” It seems the best way to view the finale is with an open mind – much easier said than done of course!

Read the rest at EW.

Samwell Sam Tarly Season 8 803 The Long Night

One character who didn’t have a pivotal moment last night, was Samwell Tarly, who was just trying to survive. Actor John Bradley doesn’t mind, though; he tells Esquire that “you need a character like Sam to represent the man on the street, because then that contextualizes all of the threats and all of the stakes. You need a Sam for Jon Snow to make sense. In order for Jon Snow to appear above and beyond the regular guy, you need to see the regular guy. And as much as a lot of men don’t like to admit it…Sam’s coping with it is probably how they cope with it.”

Even thought Sam is a “regular guy” and not a warrior, he felt a responsibility to stay and fight. “He wouldn’t have been able to live with himself if Jon or anyone else died while he was safe in the crypts.” As he sees the woman and children heading to those “safe” crypts (ha), Sam “decides that these are the people he’s fighting for. He decides to fight for his own sense of duty. I think that’s a really powerful moment.”

Like Van Houten, Bradley is also unsure how the audience will feel about the show’s ending. “One word that I always use to describe how people feel about the show is satisfying. Happiness isn’t something that this show goes about too well, because they’ve never bothered about keeping an audience happy. So when people say, ‘Am I gonna be happy with the ending?’ It’s like, well, maybe not. Because everybody’s got a different way that it wants to end.” Truer words were never spoken.

Check out the entire interview here.

Daenerys Targaryen Jorah Mormont Season 8 803 The Long Night

Speaking of ends, Ser Jorah Mormont met his during the battle. Iain Glen tells the Making Game of Thrones blog that he “went through a real range of emotions” when he read the script. He admits he “felt at peace with it. Because in some ways Jorah has been offering himself, his life, to Daenerys for six or seven seasons. So there was a completeness to it.”

In the episode prior to Jorah giving his life, he gave Daenerys advice – to make amends with Tyrion and win over Sansa. Glen explains, “Whatever you say about Jorah, one of his good qualities was that Dany’s best interests were always paramount…Jorah realizes that people do need to compromise and come together. He’s very persuaded that Tyrion has Dany’s best interest at heart. He trusts him. With Sansa, he’s trying to encourage a unified front and stop any instinct Dany might have to separate herself. He feels quite strongly that’s not the way to win the war.”

On a personal note, tragedy almost struck Glen in real life as he filmed his final fight. As he was rehearsing on set, he received a message from his wife. “She was in the hospital —  she had suffered a brain hemorrhage. The nature of it, after it was all said and done, means it’s never going to happen again, and she’s fully recovered, but I was completely on the floor at the time, a total mess. And of course there was a connection with Emilia, who I know has spoken publicly about her medical issues, and she was brilliant, and she, Miguel [Sapochnik] and [executive producer] Bernie Caulfield told me to go, get on a flight.” Thankfully his wife pulled through and he was able to finish his scene two weeks later.

For more on Jorah’s journey, read the full interview at Making Game of Thrones.

Lyanna Mormont Season 8 803 The Long Night

House Mormont lost another member (and the last one we know of) last night, as Lady Lyanna fell during the battle as well. Bella Ramsey doesn’t mind, however, since she got to go down fighting. She tells Making Game of Thrones, “I was so excited to get going and full of gratitude to even be asked back. I didn’t expect it. So when I read Episode 3, I was shook. But in a good way.”

Although filming the battle was difficult, Ramsey rose to the occasion. “Intense is an understatement. There were weeks after weeks of night shoots in very cold weather. It was one of the toughest things I’ve had to do, but I love a challenge so I’m not complaining. There were these massive wind machines, tons of fake snow falling, lots of battle cries, and a mass stampede of people…It was thrilling, for me as an actor. I was completely immersed in it.”

As Lyanna died, Ramsey states that director Miguel Sapochnik helped her imagine what her character was experiencing in that moment. “And then the battle cry. That was the best bit. I had this song in my head which we sing at church quite often which goes, ‘There is victory in the end, your love is my battle cry… every giant will fall.’” She may be gone, but Ramsey has no regrets. “If you’re going to die on Game of Thrones, at least die well. That final scene took ages, lots of green screen, lots of long night shoots, but it’s all worth it. RIP Lyanna.” RIP indeed, fierce little bear.


In this week’s “Inside the Episode,” David Benioff and Dan Weiss break down the climactic battle between the living and the dead.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZJ1yC3yESLQ]

The next two videos are from HBO’s website and are only available in the United States. In “The Great War” several cast members discuss their characters’ roles in the battle.

In “An Act of Love,” Emilia Clarke and Iain Glen share their thoughts on Jorah’s death (keep the tissues handy for this one).

 “The Game Revealed” is a fascinating look at the incredible efforts by the cast and crew to bring Game of Thrones biggest battle to life.
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_3M0Xt97aFI]

What happens now that the Army of the Dead has been defeated? Check out next’s week preview below!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ksTqLXLUvQ4]

The post Game of Thrones Post-Mortem of “The Long Night” appeared first on Watchers on the Wall.

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Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 3 “The Long Night” Written Recap Round-Up

Grey Worm Unsullied Season 8 803 The Long Night
The Long Night’ has come and gone, but one thing’s for sure: Criticism lasts forever. Heading into this roundup, I had a distinct feeling that this would be the most divisive episode yet. And reading over the reviews, boy was I right. For some, it was the action-packed epic it was promised to be, and nothing ill can be said against it. For others, it was a massive letdown, in which the lighting played no good part.

Every week, I’ll be deconstructing the multitude of reviews out there, boiling them down to one short summary sentence that will perfectly encapsulate what the original author was saying, no questions asked…and by that I mean that I will deconstruct whole essays down to one sentence apiece. What I will do is attempt to summarize the original review as best I can, and if my tease whets your appetite for their style of review, you are encouraged to head over to their site and let them know…after of course letting us know your thoughts in the comments below. All squared? Jolly good, let’s dive in.

Here at Watchers on the Wall, we encourage you to ‘Always Support the Bottom.’ This naturally extends to your support of our editor-in-chief Sue the Fury, and her ‘Sullied recap’ of the episode, in which her background knowledge of the books informs her perspective on the episode. Once you’ve done that, you would do well to support our peerless Oz of Thrones‘s ‘Unsullied recap,’ in which his fearless determination to avoid reading the books has outlasted all others, continuing on for 8 full seasons. After this, you can check out what these Internet critics thought of ‘The Long Night:

Akhil Arora, Gadgets 360 – In which he thinks that if you don’t think too much, the moment works quite well.

Alan Sepinwall, Rolling Stone – In which he does a deep dive into climactic killing of the Night King and why it fell flat for him.

Alex McLevy, The A.V. Club – In which he states the surviving members of this conflict were almost comically limited to identifiable characters.

Alyssa Rosenberg, The Washington Post – In which she calls it a visual comprehensibility problem, whose persistent technical devilment culminated in what feels, at least on a first watch, like a nearly unmitigated artistic disaster.

Dave Gonzales, Thrillist –In which he argues the crypts end up being the least consequential thing in the episode, unless it was a way to set up a Sansa/Tyrion opposition to the upcoming Targaryen rule.

David Malitz, The Washington Post – In which he thinks that all things considered, this was a pretty straightforward episode without any left-field twists and turns.

David Rosenblatt, Squinty Overanalyzes Things – In which David – Hey wait, that’s me! I wrote this review. No free peeks. Go check it out!

Erin Keane, Salon – In which she thinks there was more than a solid hour of fighting between the living and the dead, some stretches more relentless than others, but punctuated with highly satisfying moments.

Hillary Kelly, Vulture – In which she says that this time we get the deus ex machina we deserve.

James Hibberd, Entertainment Weekly – In which he calls the relentless and mammoth battle a super-sized series of setpieces that never wore out its welcome and generated constant dread and nerve-wracking suspense.

Jeremy Egner, New York Times – In which he believes the episode exceeded all expectations.

Joanna Robinson, Vanity Fair – In which she questions whether Lyanna really needed to die.

Josh Wigler, Hollywood Reporter – In which he goes over why the deaths matter.

Julia Alexander, The Verge – In which she says that there were few mic-dropping one-liners, but the number of people who could deliver those snarky comebacks was literally cut down, and most of the rest of the cast didn’t have the breath for wisecracks

Kathryn VanArendonk, Vulture – In which she tallies up the dead.

Kelly Lawler, USA Today – In which she found the battle deadly, beautiful, and disappointing.

Kim Renfro – Business Insider – In which she goes into detail on details you caught and details you missed.

Laura Hudson, WIRED – In which she questions the necessity and truth of prophecies.

Laura Stone, Hey Don’t Judge Me – In which she fittingly sends up the heroic Ser Jorah Mormont.

Lauren Sarner, New York Post – In which she goes over how the dead characters will inform the living characters’ forward momentum.

Lindsey Romain, Nerdist – In which she whittles down the characters to select the MVP of the episode.

Mark Perigard, Boston Herald – In which Bran telling Theon was a good man was the emotional highlight of a bloody, brutal episode.

Michael Rogeau, Gamespot – In which he thinks the long years of expert groundwork amounted to basically nothing.

Mike Bloom, Parade – In which the Battle of Winterfell is reported in the Westeros World News.

Neela Debnath, Express – In which, despite his gripes, he thinks there was never a dull moment and this is how you make a compelling, narratively cohesive battle sequence.

Rob Bricken, io9 – In which he notes that while the battle was incredibly epic, it was not quite perfect.

Ron Hogan, Den of Geek –In which he thinks the Dothraki torches being lit, only to be quickly extinguished was a brilliant shortcut to avoiding a lot of difficult horse combat.

Sarah Hughes, The Guardian – In which she says that the moment the Dothraki flaming weapons were extinguished was both emotional and beautifully shot by director Miguel Sapochnik, despite the show’s failure since Khal Drogo’s death to give even a couple of Dothraki individual personalities has long been one of the show’s biggest flaws

Sean T. Collins, Rolling Stone – In which he praises the half-masterpiece that leaves us lingering with a “What happens next?” problem.

Soumya Srivastava, Hindustan Times – In which she enjoyed the episode but feels the victory feels cheap at the end considering we didn’t lose any main character.

Todd VanDerWerff, Vox – In which he looks at the six winners and six losers of the episode.

Tori Preston, Pajiba – In which she acknowledges that truly satisfying everyone all the time is basically impossible.

Verne Gay, Newsday – In which he crowns it an exhilarating and a spectacular technical achievement in its own right.

Thanks for joining this week. Whose reviews did you love/hate, with all due respect of course, and as always?

The post Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 3 “The Long Night” Written Recap Round-Up appeared first on Watchers on the Wall.

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Unsullied Recap, Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 3: The Long Night

Arya Stark Season 8 803 The Long Night

Spoiler note: The discussion in this post is primarily for non-book readers (book fans can discuss the show-only here). We ask that all Sullied book-readers refrain from posting any mentions/references to the books in the comments here, veiled or otherwise. No spoilers, at all! This show is best viewed without knowing all the surprises beforehand or afterwards, so please be respectful of your fellow fans. Thank you!

How do you even begin to recap that episode? Wait… how do you recap that episode at all? Which dragon was that? Did Jaime just die? Was that Beric? Who just got stabbed?

I’ve been concerned about the lighting since we found out about the 55-night shoot. But if the story is that the NK and the Frozen Cadavers show up at Winterhell at night, then it is what it is.

What I do know is that if you are not a Lord of Light worshipper yet, you should probably reconsider your priorities. Join a man for a Long Night…

Lets be honest… I don’t know how any of them survived.

The Cold Before the Storm

Lots of movement. Not a lot of dialogue. The episode sets the tone from the beginning with intense music while some frantically make last minute preparations while others ponder their existence.

Lyanna Mormont Season 8 803 The Long Night

Sam’s hands are cold. Lyanna shouts orders (hell yes). Tyrion reluctantly heads to the crypts. The rest watch over the wall or stand on the battlefield waiting on the first signs of the impending doom. How many of them will be left, if any?

Ghost!

Jorah Ghost Dothraki Fiery Arakhs Season 8 803 The Long Night

The Unsullied surrounding Winterfell were really a sight to behold.  Dany and Jon watch over a hillside ready to find the Night King and attack by air.

And then… RED VELVET!

Melisandre lights up a Dothraki fatty, tells Davos she’ll be dead before the dawn, and before they even get a good toke in, they all go dark.

You gotta know you’re in a buttload of trouble when the same Dothraki who tore through the Lannister army during the Loot Train go down immediately to the AOTD.  This is probably when my brave ass would have found a good horse and started trotting south. Sayonara MF’s!

But visually, that symbolic fire-to-darkness was actually one of my favorite scenes.  Jon apparently wanted to wait for the NK to arrive. But Dany having seen all of her Dothraki faithful bite the dust in a matter of minutes is ready to take action.

And then, Winterhell broke loose.

Drogon Season 8 803 The Long Night

When Dany and Drogon swoop in and light the first line of arctic ambassadors up, we get a sense that maybe there is hope. But it would go south from there pretty quickly, which is coincidentally what I was begging everybody at Winterfell to do the whole damn time, Cersei and the Golds be damned.

The Storm

At this point, it’s just a matter of which character we know and love is going to die first. I still don’t know how as many of them made it out as they did.  The magic of television, I suppose.

Someone forgot to tell Jon and Dany that flying a dragon in a blizzard is not an ideal weather condition, but they try it anyway. Do dragon wings freeze up?

Gendry Season 8 803 The Long Night

On the ground, it’s just utter chaos. Brienne. Jaime. Sam. Jorah. Clegane… all just fighting for their lives, and us at home holding our collective breaths.

The first major casualty was Edd, right after he saves Sam.

Sansa Stark Tyrion Lannister Crypts Season 8 803 The Long Night

At the request of Arya, Sansa heads down to the crypts which is a sign to everyone down there that things above are not going well.

Brienne and Tormund begin commanding everyone fall back to the castle and Lyanna orders the gate to be opened to allow reentry. Worm and the Unsullied stand to protect the retreat where I was fully prepared to see him die next. Instead, he backs up and orders the trench to be lit and struggles with the decision to pull the bridge knowing that he is leaving his Unsullied brothers to die.

Davos signals to Dany to light the trench, but blizzard conditions. So, they try to do it with arrows which fail because of, you know, blizzard conditions.

RED to the rescue! The Lord of Light lights it up again. And the Hound REALLY retreats.

Back down in the crypt, Tyrion is itching to be up where the action is but Sansa wisely reminds him that there is nothing he could do. Sansa tells Tyrion that he was the best of them and goes on to say that a marriage now wouldn’t work out because of their divided loyalties. Missandei reminds them that without the Dragon Queen, they would already be dead.

This was your subtle reminder that even though a victory eventually happened, there are going to be issues with sides even after this is over. Yes… more Jon and Dany drama.

Back at the Weirwood, Theon tries to apologize to Bran. But Bran interrupts and tells Theon that he is exactly where he needs to be… home.

World War Z 2

We finally get a glimpse of the NK who orders the dead to start sacrificing themselves by laying on and smothering out the trench fire, creating bridges and leading to World War Z Pt. 2. In the meantime, Jon spots the NK on his dragon and takes back to the air to chase him down.

Brienne of Tarth Jaime Lannister Season 8 803 The Long Night

Once the walls were breached, I just don’t know how any of them survived (how many times am I going to say this), especially Jaime, Brienne and Pod. At one point, it looked like Jaime had four dead on him and a few seconds later he was freed. Don’t get me wrong… Im happy he made it. His presence will definitely make the eventual meeting with Cersei more intriguing. But come on.

Ok.  Enough nitpicking. For now, anyway.

As the dead encroach, our hero Arya gets to work smashing everything she sees much to the amazement of Davos. The only thing that could get the Hound back in the game was to see Arya in trouble as she had saved him earlier with an arrow shot from the wall.

Lyanna Mormont Wight Giant Season 8 803 The Long Night

One of my biggest fears for all of them were the giant wights. Unfortunately, it was the brave Lyanna Mormont who would get the misfortune of meeting one of them first. And it didn’t go well. In her final act of heroism and even after her insides had been crushed, Lyanna stabbed the giant in the eyeball with dragonglass, killing it instantly.  RIP Lady Mormont.

In one of the most iconic scenes, Jon and Dany find the NK in the air and get hazed with blue fire.  The two dragons flying above the clouds during their search in the moonlight were beautiful.

Arya somehow finds herself in a library that Sam is NOT in, but instead is full of dead people. In one of the more terrifying sequences, Arya finds herself on the run (the scene from the trailer, no less) and eventually crashes through a door where Beric and the Hound are standing. Beric throws his lightsaber to save her life but also leaves himself unarmed. Dammit… this would be the end of the great Beric Dondarrion.

Beric Dondarrion Arya Stark Season 8 803 The Long Night

Velvet makes it clear that the Lord of Light brought back Beric to serve a purpose and that the purpose had been served (to save Arya). Then, she reminds her about the “eyes” comment. Brown. Green. BLUE.

The dead begin to encroach on Bran while Jon and the NK battle dragons in the air. The NK is knocked off Viserion as is Jon off of Rhaegal. And when Dany has her chance… Dracarys. Unfortunately, and unsurprisingly, it doesn’t work.

Night King Dragonfire Season 8 803 The Long Night

But Jon sees his opportunity to go after ol’ blue eyes himself. Of course, the issue is that blue eyes can raise the dead surrounding him and Jon never makes it.  When the dead start rising all around the castle, the general reaction from everyone was, “we’re fucking toast.”

Night King Come at Me Bro Season 8 803 The Long Night

To make it worse, the dead in the crypts rise as well and now all of the women and children are as good as gone.  Tyrion and Sansa share a sentimental moment realizing that they are both about to perish. Maybe they do end up together after all, and it is considered a betrayal. But that’s just some worthless Oz conjecture for ya.

As Dany lands to save Jon (who then runs to save Bran), Drogon is piled on by the dead knocking Dany to the ground. Drogon is forced to fly off just to survive and Dany is aided by Jorah.

Daenerys Targaryen Jorah Mormont Season 8 803 The Long Night

Meanwhile, Jon does everything he can to get to Bran while Theon does everything he can to protect him. But Jon cant get there due to the ice-fire-blaster Viserion burning the joint down.

Whenever the Djawadi piano music hits in GoT, be ready for tragedy. In this case, Jorah goes down fighting like hell and Theon goes down on a suicide run at the NK. Both gave their lives. Both redeemed. Fuck this show anyway.

Arya Stark Night King Season 8 803 The Long Night

And just as Jon is about to get freeze barbecued and Bran is about to get NK’d, Arya jumps in like a wolf to attack ol’ Blue Eyes. When he catches her in mid-air, I was sure she was done. But Arya drops the dagger into her other hand and plunges it into the NK. He shatters. The dead all drop. And the Great War is concluded.

With her job fulfilled, Velvet walks among the piles of bodies, drops her necklace, and quickly dies of old age as Davos looks on.

Poetic. Haunting. Tragic.

Daenerys Dany Targaryen Jorah Mormont Season 8 803 The Long Night

Episode 803 Personal Awards

Favorite Quotes:

“Stick them with the pointy end.” -Arya

“At least we’re already in the crypt.” -Varys

“Fuck off! We cant beat them.” – Clegane

“Brown eyes. Green eyes. BLUE eyes.”

The unspoken “I’ve always loved you” by the dying Jorah Mormont.

Favorite Sequence:  Way too many to pinpoint. So much of it was visually stunning. I’ve already watched it twice and really can’t wait to watch it again.

The “Ow, That Shit Hurts Award” goes to: There were plenty, but Beric’s damn death by a hundred jab holes was horrible for me.

Official Season 8 DEAD Penis Count: A HUNDRED THOUSAND

Death Toll:  Jorah, Beric, Red Velvet, Lyanna Mormont, Theon, Edd, Qhono, and the Night King with all of his groupies.

Overall Thoughts: The expectations for this episode were so high that there was no possible way it was going to meet everyone’s expectations. But for me, it did. To truly understand how incredibly difficult it had to be to film this at night over an extended period of time and to even get close to getting the lighting right without making it look like there were spotlights everywhere is really astounding. 

That said, it was difficult to follow at times. But hell, it should have been. Thousands of dead people invading should invoke chaos. And on screen, it looked chaotic. Yes, there were plenty of television’s magical “happened to be in the right place at the right time to save someone” sequences. But I’m not going to take a dump on something that had me on the edge of the couch for an hour and twenty minutes and felt like a movie over a couple of lucky coincidences.

I’m probably most pleased with the fact that it was neither Jon nor Dany who killed the Night King. It was f’in Arya!

What are your thoughts? Share them below and let’s discuss. We ain’t got many left.

Until next week, hang out and stay awhile. Invite a friend to join us. And may there always be peace in your realm. –Oz

Follow Oz on Twitter.

**SPOILER NOTE: The Management of this fine site would like to remind you that spoilers (book or leak) are not allowed in Unsullied posts. This includes spoilers covered by code or otherwise. Personally, I appreciate feedback from Sullied and Unsullied alike, so long as they do not include any type of hinting or conversation related to the written verse. However, spoiler coded comments do tend to lead to further Sullied conversation and for that reason, we ask that you please refrain from posting any SPOILERY content whatsoever in Unsullied posts. Thank you for the coop, ya’ shits. -Oz

The post Unsullied Recap, Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 3: The Long Night appeared first on Watchers on the Wall.

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Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 3 “The Long Night” Recap

Arya Melisandre and the Hound The Long Night

Tonight on Game of Thrones, we were treated to the most intense 80 minutes of television ever. Ever. So buckle up, friends, because no one’s getting any sleep on this Long Night.

Spoiler Note: This is our book reader’s recap, intended for those who have read the A Song of Ice and Fire series. The post and the comments section may contain spoilers from the novels, whether or not that material has appeared on the show yet. Because no, we are not all Unsullied now. If you have not read the books yet, we encourage you to check out our non-book-reader recap, by Oz of Thrones!

Right off the bat, watching the episode, I wondered, “Does anyone else feel like throwing up or is it just me?” And then I saw Samwell Tarly and thought, “Oh good, it’s not just me.” I can see Sam shares my anxiety about the upcoming battle. Director Miguel Sapochnik (and his always-amazing DP Fabian Wagner) pulls us right into the terrifying shit with Sam and Tyrion in Winterfell with a beautiful tracking shot. Preparations are underway, with the army of the dead just outside the walls, and the tension heavy among the living. Everyone is very very still and waiting. It’s haunting, and I can barely breathe. My stomach hurts. (Hey, wait, there’s Ghost! That’s a nice happy thing, right?)

Then, a rider emerges from the darkness, and we’re all expecting something terrible- but no, it’s just Melisandre! As usual, arriving at a strange time and giving everyone a heart attack. The fire priestess brings the mojo just when it’s needed, turning every arakh into Dothraki versions of Beric’s flaming sword. The first charge is ready to fight the dark.

Davos isn’t so pleased to see her though. They have unfinished business on account of her torching Shireen. But she shrugs off his crankiness with a prophecy (self-fulfilling as it turns out): she announces she’ll be dead before the dawn.

Jorah Ghost Dothraki Fiery Arakhs Season 8 803 The Long Night

The Dothraki screamer attack, led by Jorah, is impressive (and gorgeously filmed- they’re really bringing the cinematography eye candy) but easily beaten back, with the fiery blades snuffed out. They thought they were ready, but can you ever be ready for a horde of zombies? I mean honestly.

The army of the dead arrives and dominates the defenders of Winterfell, with our brave heroes looking beaten down pretty quickly.  Jaime saves Ser Brienne from a gruesome death at wight hands, just before Daenerys swoops in with dragonflame to save them all. On Rhaegal, Jon scopes out the situation and spots the row of White Walkers nearby. He’s getting good at handling his mount, but the Walkers use the cover of snow to confuse Jon in midair.

With the battle getting ugly, Arya sends Sansa down to the crypts with dragonglass and sage advice: “Stick ’em with the pointy end.” Ugh, my heart! It’s okay,  I already knew this episode would destroy it. It might as well be with a sweet moment.

Samwell Sam Tarly Season 8 803 The Long Night
In the godswood, Bran awaits his destiny with Theon guarding him, while Jorah, Jaime, Brienne, Tormund, Gendry, the Hound, and others hack their way through the undead. In the thick of it, Sam is nearly killed by a wight, but Dolorous Edd saves him. His relief can only last for a moment though as his old Night’s Watch friend is killed just then by a wight.

In the crypts, Sansa finds a group of scared women and children accompanied by Tyrion- an awkward reunion, to say the least.

Jon and Dany discover how difficult it is to fly their dragons in battle with the White Walkers throwing the skies into wintry chaos, while below the fighters are forced to fall back and retreat into Winterfell’s courtyard, leaving the Unsullied to guard the walls outside.  The army of the dead attack the trench posts where they can, while Arya picks off wights with her fiery arrows. The living aren’t doing so hot; it’s only a matter of time.

Grey Worm is sweating under his helmet; he gives the order to light the trench, but Dany can’t see the signal due to the snowy air. Improvisation is needed; aren’t you glad now that we have a fire priestess around! Even with all her abilities, Melisandre nearly fails though. It’s nice to know there’s still something human in her that falters when she’s confronted by the zombies attacking. But she succeeds, and the trenches alight, buying them time.

The Hound can’t handle the fire; he retreats from it, as usual. PTSD is a real bitch.

Sansa Stark Tyrion Lannister Crypts Season 8 803 The Long NightIn the crypts, Tyrion argues in favor of going above to help; after all he might be able to, using his mind. Sansa thinks that’s a crap plan, and that the most heroic thing they can do is be truthful. Truth in this case includes acknowledging their marriage, with Sansa pointing out why it won’t work. Missandei gives them a good stinkeye and reminds everyone they’d all be dead without Dany.

Bran is his typical eerily calm self as he waits in the godswood. Theon takes the opportunity to try to apologize, but the Three Eyed Raven isn’t having it. Everything Theon did brought him back home, so it’s all good. But now Bran is checking out, for a timely dose of white eyeball/ravenvision time.

The trench was a great plan- it bought them enough time for, say, a bathroom break? But the Night King is here and is saying, “Enough of that!” He directs his army to lay down on the trenches and form bridges, rendering the barriers useless. The wights quickly swarm the walls, and now the battle is truly begun. There is no retreat. There is no being saved from this.

Brienne of Tarth Jaime Lannister Season 8 803 The Long Night

Watching Gendry panic, seeing the wights crawl up the wall, I was absolutely positive he was goner. (Wrongly, as it turns out.) All the dragonglass weapons are shattering around them. Hapless souls fall to the wights, Jaime and Brienne fight at each other’s backs. Sam almost dies again, but Jorah saves him- his father would be so proud of him. But humans are dying everywhere, so badly outnumbered in the battle.

Huddled off to the side is the Hound, shaking from the trauma of the flames, just as he did at the Blackwater. Arya bursts into the courtyard, chopping and twirling through the undead. Beric tries to rally the Hound into action. Arya takes on a crowd of wights, but even she looks like she no longer is excited to be facing Death itself. That spark of arrogance is gone, and that’s what’s really frightening. Seeing her in trouble, the Hound finally jumps into the fight.

Lyanna Mormont Season 8 803 The Long Night

Meanwhile a David and Goliath (or Lyanna and Macumber) showdown happened in the courtyard, and I don’t like it one bit. This is the point where I started gasping and then cry-laughing because goddammit. Goddamn. This girl. This amazing person.

We saw an undead giant in the season 7 finale- we knew it was inevitable, a great weapon for the Night King to wield. And wield he did, on Winterfell and one of its smallest but fiercest  warriors. The wight giant knocks aside several men killing them. The injured girl pulls herself up and runs at this massive thing, screaming. He scoops her up, and he’s crushing her, killing her (it’s killing me), and then- she fucking kills the bastard, dragonglass in the eye.

They both fall to the ground, dead. I am absolutely wrecked at this point.

Beric Dondarrion Season 8 803 The Long Night

The battle is in the skies now, with Viserion attacking his siblings and their riders. They’re holding their own though…for now.

Arya has run into a challenge: making her way silently through the Winterfell library overrun with zombies. It’s like a game of Frogger, jumping from row to row, trying not to get nailed. She makes it out alive, but the tension in that scene and the long run from the library nearly killed me. Seriously:

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Back to the crypts where everyone is very quiet but still alive! Someone’s a-knock-knocking on their door but judging from the screaming, don’t answer.

Beric and the Hound are cruising for bruising in the halls of Winterfell, and luckily they find one in the form of Arya needing a hand with a brawl. Arya is saved, but Beric’s last life is lost when he takes several wounds. They manage to get him away, but just long enough to bring him to a room where Mel is. Isn’t that just like R’hllor? Bringing his followers together for one last laugh.

Melisandre isn’t worried about Arya killing her though. Prophecy, remember? Arya will shut different colored eyes include blue ones. Blue eyes, get it? Arya gets it! Okay, good, we’re on the same page here.

Drogon Season 8 803 The Long Night

The Night King is coming for the godswood, via his wights picking off the Ironmen, while he and Viserion personally tear up Jon and Rhaegal. He has that damn Olympic-caliber javelin with him so we know he means business. Jon hits the ground, but soon so does the Night King, exposed for Daenerys to take her shot.

DRACARYS!

Except…it doesn’t work. The Night King is unscathed by fire, not a surprise to anyone who has seen what a White Walker can do to fire. They weren’t sure whether dragonfire would be different- now they know. It’s useless.

Faced with the threat of the javelin thingamabob, Dany and Drogon retreat. Reckless as ever, Jon makes a run for the Night King on foot. But the Night King is too fast.

Night King Come at Me Bro Season 8 803 The Long Night

HE raises all those who have fallen- every Unsullied, every Dothraki, every Northern soldier.

Lyanna Mormont. Dolorous Edd. Qhono, that one really hot bloodrider.

Oh, and the SKELETONS IN THE CRYPT! I TOLD YOU!

They’re tearing up the place, the innocents in the crypt, the wights in the gods wood (you go, Theon!), the monsters all over Winterfell. It’s nightmare central. This is a straight up horror movie and I honestly can’t take it. Somehow I went from sitting on the couch to crouching on the floor in front of the TV, shaking. When the hell did that happen?!

Drogon is being attacked by wights, downed to the point where Dany is on foot and about to become zombie chow when Jorah swoops in and saves his khaleesi! Drogon flies off to save himself briefly, while Jorah and Dany kick some ass- yes, our queen can handle herself sufficiently with a sword when need be.

In the godswood, Theon has no more arrows. So he fights with his bow. He’s a goddamn hero.

Jorah slashes away, taking more hits, and some deep ones, as he defends Dany.

The crypts are sheer hell, with women being torn up. Sansa and Tyrion share a tender unspoken moment, pull out their dragonglass and run.

Vierion lands in the center of Winterfell, and starts blowing it all to hell with his blue flame.

Theon Greyjoy Season 8 803 The Long NightOur favorite warriors are fighting, but losing is inevitable now. Jon, Jaime, Brienne, Pod, weeping Sam, Theon, they’re fighting to the last.

Bran waits, as the Night King arrives in the godswood. He returns to himself to see the end of Theon, and tells him he’s a good man. It means the world to Theon, we can see.

Theon makes a suicide run at the Night King who kills him quickly.

Jon looks for a chance at Viserion, but doesn’t find it. The blue-eyed dragon is unstoppable.

The Night King is on Bran, approaching him as he did the other Three-Eyed Raven. It seems like this will end the same way. But then- just over his shoulder- a leaping woman, Arya diving for him.

But the Night King turns to catch her! And I was convinced, completely, in that moment, that she was done for.  But then Arya drops her Valyrian steel dagger into her other hand and aims low, for his heart, the place where the dragonglass penetrated so long ago to create the Night King.

And he shatters. Every White Walker shatters into ice and every wight drops where they stand. Viserion’s flame dies, and he’s gone.

Daenerys Targaryen Jorah Mormont Season 8 803 The Long Night

Standing by Dany, Jorah drops to his knees- and falls to the ground.

Survivors around the castle stand in awe of what has happened, gazing at the now-still dead.

As he dies, Daenerys weeps for her protector, who has traveled with her for so long, from so far away. Drogon curls himself around Dany to comfort her.

Melisandre leaves the castle, and makes her way through the dead as the skies lighten. Dawn is coming.

She pulls her necklace from her throat, as Davos watches. In a way, he’s always been the one who sees her for what she really is, isn’t he? With her true age coming upon her, Melisandre dies.

Melisandre death The LOng NIght


Stray Thoughts

My main reaction, in general:

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Bring Out Yer Dead: Who died in The Long Night? Melisandre, Jorah Mormont, Theon Greyjoy, Beric Dondarrion, Lyanna Mormont, Dolorous Edd Tollett, Qhono the bloodrider, The Night King (and all his sons, and every damn wight everywhere!) Big Curtain Call week, y’all.

Theon’s Last Stand: Beautifully done. Bless Alfie Allen and everything he brought this underrated role and performance, all these years. He was graceful, to the very end.

Blue Dragon Down: I loved the totally terrifying chaos that Sapochnik brought in the direction, it reminded me of modern war movies like Black Hawk Down. It was disorienting but deliberate, scary and very well done.

Djawadi’s piano returns: Djawadi has said before he rarely uses piano in GoT but when he does, boy it packs a punch. WaterTower Music has uploaded the track online already- it’s called “The Night King.”

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k1frgt0D_f4]

Overall Rating: 9.5/10 (Not a 10 because sometimes it was a little confusing in some details like where the hell did Gendry and Ghost go, but that’s a pretty minor quibble shhh numbers are arbitrary just have fun)

The post Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 3 “The Long Night” Recap appeared first on Watchers on the Wall.

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Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 3 Open Chat, with Night’s Cast Livestream!

Brienne-of-Tarth-Jaime-Season8 Episode 3

Game of Thrones Season 8, Episode 3

Writers: David Benioff and D.B. Weiss
Director: Miguel Sapochnik
Runtime: 1 hr 22 minutes
Content Warnings: TV-MA: Adult Content, Adult Language, Graphic Violence
Video Preview: Season 8 Episode 3 Trailer

Join us now for live discussion, filled with hopes and predictions, in advance of tonight’s episode, with the Night’s Cast:


[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2mPIxfPEZEQ&w=700&h=394]

For those new to Watchers on the Wall or needing a refresher on the guidelines, here is our spoiler policy for open chat:

Please use spoiler coding when discussing ASOIAF/book or filming spoilers- any material that has not aired or been discussed on Game of Thrones. Instructions on coding/showing/hiding spoilers are found at the top of the Comments section.

Spoiler coding is required in the Open Chat post prior to the episode official airing (9PM EDT tonight!). We ask that fans use consideration for your fellow viewers- please cover and label your spoilers appropriately. After the episode has aired, you don’t have to cover spoilers from the episode anymore!

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On the Fandom Road: How a Salesman Accidentally Became a Watcher

Jorah Think

My journey through the Game of Thrones fandom is one of which I’m both proud, and at which I am surprised. I never expected to be so persuasive. While I’d always enjoyed Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point, I had really only fashioned myself somewhat of just a connector. But let me take a step back, here. Gladwell explained that for an idea to become contagious, it requires three kinds of people – Connectors (people who have vast networks of social and professional outreach), Mavens (information hounds who stay up to date on the latest trends) and Salesmen (people who are able to convince others of something’s value through rhetoric or some form of persuasion).

When I began reading A Song of Ice and Fire in the summer of 2009, because I’d casually picked up A Game of Thrones several months prior at Barnes & Noble (really just because it looked cool), I had no idea it was one of a series, nor did I have any idea a pilot had recently been ordered with Sean Bean by none other than HBO. Know what else I didn’t know? That I’d somehow be able to convince 20+ people to read a sprawling fantasy series, with books over 1,000 pages long that didn’t even (at the time) have a Lord of the Rings-style visual medium behemoth behind it to justify their commitment. It was only words on a page with no visuals (yet). But my word was good enough.

When I started reading A Game of Thrones in the summer of 2009, I was halfway through college. The last fiction book I had read for pleasure was the seminal science-fiction masterpiece Ender’s Game my freshman year. But then everything changed. By junior year, as I was barreling from one ASOIAF book to the next, my college acting teacher assigned select chapters from  Gladwell’s Blink. Never you mind about the select chapters; I devoured the whole thing. While doing so, I realized how much I loved his work, and picked up a copy of his older book, the aforementioned The Tipping Point. While simultaneously reading this and A Clash of Kings at the time, I had no idea how soon the ideas from one (TTP) would cascade into the other- all the ASOIAF books.

As I learned the backstory of what makes a phenomenon catch on, I was slowly but surely introducing AGOT to every friend in college that I could. It’s no easy feat getting people on board with this, but I somehow did it. By the time senior year rolled around, we knew that HBO had ordered a first season, and I had amassed a loyal army of ASOIAF devotees. I still remember watching the first episode 5 weeks shy of college graduation, in a room with 6 friends, 5 of us having read the books (thanks to my Gladwellian push), and 1 having not. The 5 of us were thrilled – it had actually happened. The other one? He had no idea what was going on, threw his hands up after Bran got pushed, and said “Eh, I’m done.” (He has since caught up and now likes it.)

Sam Coleman didn't have a door to hold for me.

Sam Coleman (Young Hodor) didn’t have a door to hold for me.

Within the next year, home from college, I’d gotten more people both within my family, and among my non-college friend group to read the books…so much so, that by the time the second season had debuted, I was no longer surrounded by largely Unsullied comrades. But once again, I’m getting ahead of myself. You’ll remember that I said I’d heard about the first season order from HBO, and Sean Bean’s casting? Well, it wasn’t from Wikipedia that I’d heard this news. It was from none other than WinterisComing, the fan site I had found online at some point in the 2010s. Man, I lived on that site day and night, checking about as often as I did my Facebook. I read every single article, word for word, and could not wait to see what news or speculation poured forth next; I was glued. Thanks to Sue, Oz, Phil, and the (then) team at WIC, I found a nerdy space to call home.

Axechucker, Kim Renfro, Me, and Bex, ardently defending Sansa Stark on our Con of Thrones 2017 panel.

Axechucker, Kim Renfro, Me, and Bex, ardently defending Sansa Stark on our Con of Thrones 2017 panel.

Before season 1 had debuted in April 2011, I had committed myself to writing one review for each upcoming episode. I was hopeful that my insight backed by my book knowledge, enthusiasm for TV, my feelings on what adaptations should or shouldn’t do, and general presumption of insider knowledge (imbued by my daily dosages of WiC consumption) would lead me to create interesting weekly reviews for the show I already loved (before it began, that is). There was a bit of a learning curve for me. The first review I ever posted was rather verbose, at a short 11 pages. Let’s just say that I’ve learned a thing or two since that college senior wrote about Khal Drogo and Daenerys’ marriage night by saying “I just didn’t love the wedding scene, and quite frankly felt a little uncomfortable during the marriage’s ‘consummation.’” Yikes, I’m cringing just reading that un-woke college student’s take.

Me, Aimee Richardson (Myrcella Baratheon), Sam Coleman (Young Hodor), Lindsey Romain, and Kerry Ingram (Shireen Baratheon) hanging out at Con of Thrones 2018.

Me, Aimee Richardson (Myrcella Baratheon), Sam Coleman, Lindsey Romain, and Kerry Ingram (Shireen Baratheon) hanging out at Con of Thrones 2018.

And yet my reviews continued, thereafter. I got lost in the fandom, on the Internet, and in real life, as I slowly but surely converted more people into not only book readers, but now show watchers as well. After Ned Stark lost his head and the first season came a close, I remember that summer of 2011, working at camp, lending my copies of the books out, going to Walmart, buying cheap copies, and lending those out as well, just so that I could get people on board with my obsession. Most memorable for me that summer was when I was made fun of the day that A Dance with Dragons arrived in the mail. I was SO excited to open that package. When I did, my co-counselor grabbed the book from me and ran around the campus chanting, “Look everyone! Rosenblatt got a book in the mail!!!” …8 years later and that guy is as big a Game of Thrones fan as anyone. It’s the little things.

From left to right: Me, Eric, Samantha, Petra, and Luka, marveling at the map outside the hotel for Con of Thrones 2018

From left to right: Me, Eric, Samantha, Petra, and Luka, marveling at the map outside the hotel for Con of Thrones 2018.

And then my life changed forever one fateful day in the spring of 2013. Little did I know how the butterfly effect would cascade into something larger. It was at some point during season 3. Our dear Oz of Thrones had written one of his lovely Unsullied recaps, or perhaps a ‘Looking Forward’ segment, I honestly don’t remember. What I do remember was that I woke up on the douchebag side of the bed that morning. Oz had made some mild grammar error in his writeup. I had always enjoyed reading his takes, and for some reason, for some godforsaken reason I’ll never know, I left a comment on the comment boards, contributing to all that terrible and toxic culture we all complain about all the time…I nastily called out Oz for his mistake, and said something along the lines of “Come on, this is the best kind of writing you can get for this site?” I promise, I’m not normally that mean. Naturally, the commenters on our sites have always been by and large fantastic, and they came to Oz’s defense…they came to his defense hard. It’s true. I had been a dick, and they let me have it.

But then something wild happened. Oz defended me. I wasn’t sure why, because I didn’t really deserve it, but he did it nonetheless. He thanked me for holding him to a higher standard. Pleasantries were exchanged between me and him, where I apologized and he downplayed it, saying there was nothing to apologize for. Seriously, the rumors are true; our Oz is the kindest person in the world and we are truly lucky to have him. With that in the past, I thought that was the end of my brief interaction with the writers. How very wrong I was.

That time I jokingly went to London to 'run into GOT celebrities' and accidentally ran into John Bradley, aka Samwell Tarly.

That time I jokingly went to London to ‘run into GOT celebrities’ and accidentally ran into John Bradley, aka Samwell Tarly.

Oz and I stayed in touch via Twitter, occasionally chatting. Cut to October of 2015: I was sent on a mission. Oz was in a jam and needed some help with the Night of Ice and Fire event. All I had to do was bring the WotW T-shirts and other merchandise that he would mail to me. It was so cool! I finally got to meet Sue, whose articles I’d been reading online almost 4 years and counting at that point, I got to sell some goodies to fans (even claiming a shirt myself), I got to watch Kristian Nairn (Hodor), Finn Jones (Loras Tyrell), and Keisha Castle-Hughes (Obara Sand) record a podcast live on stage, and I even found time for a casual 30 minute chat with GoT linguist David J. Peterson. It was an incredible night, and I still thought the fun ended there.

Me, at the merchandise booth that very night of NY Comic-Con - picture taken by none other than Sue the Fury!

Me, at the merchandise booth that very night of NY Comic Con – Picture taken by none other than Sue the Fury!

A few months later, season 6 had almost debuted, and the first of many Memory Lanes had begun, where Watchers would revisit every episode one by one, revisiting and re-reviewing them. Until that point, I had been enjoying reading the Memory Lanes on my own time, when Sue messaged me (not Oz this time), and asked me if I wanted to write one! Season 2’s episode 3’s ‘What is Dead May Never Die’ became mine, and I got to revisit an episode I’d loved. Turns out that went pretty well, because Sue asked me back to write a second one; she gave me ‘The Dance of Dragons,’ for which I was petrified, given how monumental it was (it was an ‘epic 9’ after all.) With the responsibilities I’d been given successfully executed, I settled in for  season 6, which debuted a couple of days later.

Lindsey Romain, Kerry Ingram (Shireen Baratheon), Sam Coleman (Young Hodor), Aimee Richardson (Myrcella Baratheon) and me on the 'Kids of GOT' panel at Con of Thrones 2018

Lindsey Romain, Kerry Ingram, Sam Coleman, Aimee Richardson, and me on the ‘Kids of GOT’ panel at Con of Thrones 2018.

Time went on as usual, with my weekly viewing parties happening, well, weekly. Friends joined me each week for what I’d long dubbed “Games and Thrones,” where we’d play board games by day and watch, well, you know, by night. Once season 6 was in the can, I thought my GoT-related activity was over for a while given the long wait until season 7…until Sue asked me if I was going to the inaugural Con of Thrones. I told her I’d been thinking about it but hadn’t really committed to it. And that’s when she told me that she’d love me to be a featured panelist for several vacancies, should I come. I said yes, and never looked back.

That time I jokingly went to London to 'run into MORE GOT celebrities' and almost barrelled past into Joseph Mawle, aka Benjen Stark

That time I jokingly went to London to ‘run into MORE GOT celebrities’ and almost barreled past Joseph Mawle, aka Benjen Stark.

Con of Thrones 2017 was incredible, where I met so many people who before had only ever existed for me on the Internet! But most important of all, several weeks after the con, I had the small courage to ask Sue if she would take me on full-time, and she provided me with the good fortune of saying yes, and well, here I am. Con of Thrones 2018 came and went, bigger, and somehow even better than spectacular 2017. The past two years have been an absolute blur but they are ones I wouldn’t change for anything. My fandom road began in the Barnes & Noble bookstore my junior year of college, continued through with the fans I encouraged along the way, and it has molded itself into my being a staff writer of the best damn Game of Thrones fan website across the Internet.

Valar Dohaeris, indeed, and I’ll keep doing my part. What’s yours?

The post On the Fandom Road: How a Salesman Accidentally Became a Watcher appeared first on Watchers on the Wall.

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Enter to win the Game of Thrones Winterfell Battle Package Giveaway!

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We’re gearing up for a huge night tomorrow, with the premiere of episode 3 of Game of Thrones‘ final season, and the massively teased Battle of Winterfell. With this, we’re at the halfway point of season 8, which seems like a good time for a giveaway, and hey, some of y’all could use the provisions anyway. We’re facing the possible annihilation of the beloved Stark family home and many characters that we love, so we could use a little fun before HBO drops that hammer on us all.

With that, we’ve thrown together a pretty swell prize package giveaway for a lucky winner to take home. Anyone worldwide may enter, and you’ve all got seven days to try! So what’s in it? Details below, along with all the ways to enter:

The Winterfell Battle package includes:

  • Jon Snow Battle of the Bastards Figure: A beautifully detailed figure showing what Jon Snow looks like in action, as he will be once again in episode 3, captured in this 8-inch figure created by Dark Horse.
  • GeekiTikis Night King Mug The ceramic mug from BoxLunch showing the foe of all the living people of Westeros is…weirdly adorable? It holds 17 ounces of your favorite beverage, and features a classic tiki design.
  • Longclaw Umbrella by Bioworld: It’s gonna be a storm of swords in episode 3; you’ll need an umbrella, at the very least. Have fun fighting off the undead and the elements with this piece!
  • Dragonglass Ice Cube Silicone Molds: When you’re done making weapons with your attractive blacksmith friend, make a drink with these fun molds that shape the ice into dragonglass arrowheads. Perfect for parties, whether you think you’ll survive the battle or not!

Enter NOW to win them all!


The Official Rules

How do you enter? You can enter in 3 different ways, earning up to 3 total entries!

Method #1: Simply comment on this post!

Method #2: WotW Twitter: Follow our Twitter, WatchersOTWall, and retweet the Game of Thrones Winterfell Battle Giveaway tweet! (you must do both for the extra entry). If you already follow us, no problem. Simply retweet the contest post.

Method #3: WotW Facebook: Like the WatchersontheWall Facebook page, and Like and Share the Game of Thrones Winterfell Battle Giveaway post (you must do both for the extra entry). If you already Like our page, again, no problem. Just share the contest post and you are entered!

Entries are accepted for seven days, closing the giveaway for entries on Saturday, May 4th at 5PM EDT. The winner will be randomly selected from the entries, and announced shortly thereafter.

**The contest is for readers worldwide.** The (1) winner will be selected from among valid entrants by random drawing. The winner must respond within 72 hours of notification or will forfeit their prizes and another winner/s will be selected. Winners may be responsible for local taxes/importing fees. The winner must have a valid shipping address.

HBO, Twitter and Facebook are their own entities and are in no way associated with this giveaway.

The post Enter to win the Game of Thrones Winterfell Battle Package Giveaway! appeared first on Watchers on the Wall.

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“Intense”, “survival horror”, “character-focused” Battle of Winterfell teased by Game of Thrones cast, writer, and director

Jon Snow 803 Season 8 Battle of Winterfell Brightened

Our hearts are sure to be broken this coming Sunday when the Battle of Winterfell between the living and the dead finally hits our screens, after so much dread and anticipation. A few days before, here are the cast and crew, including episode director Miguel Sapochnik, to tell us what we should expect from the upcoming battle…

At The Hollywood Reporter, Game of Thrones writer and co-producer Bryan Cogman teases the upcoming battle at Winterfell for which his heartfelt “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms” episode did much of the heavy lifting to emotionally prepare us:

“This is the dread coming to your door,” Cogman paints a dramatic picture, as if telling a scary story by the campfire. “The White Walkers and the Night King are the end personified. Whatever that means to you, that’s what you’re going to see next week.”

“This was a part of the story we invested a lot of time in to get right,” he says. Cogman’s not just proud of the battle’s conception, though, but of its production as well: “[T]he effort put in by our crew and our cast… is absolutely unparalleled and unprecedented — and I’m going to go so far as to say in the history of filmed entertainment.”

“I’ve worked a lot with [director Miguel Sapochnik], because we did ‘Hardhome’ and ‘Battle of the Bastards’ together. When you’ve starred in sequences like that, it’s like you’re climbing a mountain,” corroborates Kristofer Hivju, the Norwegian actor behind one of the (unfortunately) likely victims for this Sunday’s episode, Tormund Giantsbane.

“We knew we had 56 night shoots in front of us. We were going into two or three months of night shoots. That’s pretty intense,” Hivju says, highlighting the challenging production behind the upcoming battle episode. “Miguel was the greatest commander-in-chief you could find. He literally had huge armies around him. He’s trying to make this all fit together. Some days, we were 900 people at lunch. It was just crazy. I haven’t seen the episode, so I really don’t know. But I think it will be pretty intense.”

Jaime Lannister Ser Brienne of Tarth Battle of Winterfell Brightened Season 8 803

“I’ve been working on it since June of 2017,” Miguel Sapochnik, director of this season’s episodes three and five, tells James Hibberd at Entertainment Weekly. “I’m shooting for seven and a half months, which is like 130 days, which is longer than most of the big movies that get made. So in terms of the amount of work, it’s been 6 and 7-day weeks, 16-to-18 hour days and, yeah, it’s a lot. I knew that was a lot when I came on board.”

“As usual, the scripts are bigger than what we actually end up making. The process of whittling it down took longer this time,” the director admits. “Because [showrunners and writers] David [Benioff] and Dan [Weiss] wanted everything. We all want everything but we were up against the reality of what we could achieve in the time we had.”

If you were worried this battle will be an emotionally disconnected one-hour murder-fest, don’t you worry. Though the action is promised to be out of this world, Sapochnick insists it will be focused on characters, as anything else would make it tiresome:

“The thing I’ve put the most hours into was is… how to not have an audience feel battle-fatigue. After 20 minutes of watching a battle, you’re over it. So how do you stop it from being a battle in that sense?”, he asks rhetorically, before answering his own question: “It feels like the only way to really approach it properly is take every sequence and ask yourself: ‘Why would I care to keep watching?’ One thing I found is the less action — the less fighting — you can have in a sequence, the better. We also switch genres. There’s suspense and horror and action and drama and we’re not stuck in killing upon killing because then everybody gets desensitized and it doesn’t mean anything.”

Despite these “switches” in genre, Sapochnik mainly sees the episode as “survival horror.” Am I being too naïve if I admit I hope the emphasis is on the “survival” part?

In the original interview at EW, Sapochnik reveals a few other tidbits, such as the fact that he was originally going to direct episode four as well, and that episodes three-to-five play like a single story, “a complete piece with a beginning middle and end.”

The post “Intense”, “survival horror”, “character-focused” Battle of Winterfell teased by Game of Thrones cast, writer, and director appeared first on Watchers on the Wall.

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“Game of Thrones” Season 8, Episode 3 Preview

Daenerys-Jon-Winterfell-803-Season-8

Have you dried your eyes from all of the tears that “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms” imparted upon you? No? Me neither. And yet here we are, prepped with our Kleenex and wine to say goodbye to too many characters, for the Battle of Winterfell is here.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TdkS4Xazz7Q?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent&w=700&h=424]

The preview opens up on the Unsullied soldiers, lined up in formation to face the threat of the oncoming storm. The quick edited shots rotate through our roster of favorite characters as they get ready to face the onslaught of the White Walkers, from the vanguard to the battlements and even down to the crypts, with Sansa ominously stating that “the most heroic thing we can do now is look the truth in the face,” and Jon even more ominously warning that “the Night King is coming.” A quick shot of Daenerys on Drogon flies by. “The dead are already here,” she says. Our hearts start collectively pounding before Brienne’s (Gwendoline Christie) call to arms rings out into the night, with Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) raising his sword under her command.

Take a deep breath. Are you ready?

The post “Game of Thrones” Season 8, Episode 3 Preview appeared first on Watchers on the Wall.

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On the Fandom Road: Making Connections

a-game-of-thrones-stephen-youll

My journey with Game of Thrones literally started with a journey. In 1999, I was at LAX waiting to fly back home from SIGGRAPH 99, the graphics conference that I’d attended for work. I didn’t have an unread book on me for the flight home, so I picked up a copy of A Game of Thrones. As I recall, it was the one with Jon Snow on the cover and Winterfell in the background. (I know it was Jon Snow and not Ser Waymar Royce because Ghost was on the wraparound cover too.)

I’d like to say that I voraciously consumed the book on the flight, but I’d be lying. I think I set it aside so I could take a mid-air nap when Bran was climbing up a tower in Winterfell. You know, no big deal. Turns out I’d missed Bran’s mid-air experience.

I set the unread book on a shelf when I got home, and it stayed that way for years. (I have a large collection of half-read books cluttering up my shelves, competing for attention.)

Even though I hadn’t yet started A Song of Ice and Fire in earnest, I was aware of the books that followed. I had friends who kept asking me if I’d read the series, and then I’d hear their complaints of how slow George RR Martin was about finishing the fourth book. When A Feast for Crows did come out, I heard their dismay that he’d only included half of the point-of-view characters that they’d expected, leaving out some of their favorites.

Their frustration wasn’t quite convincing me to start up reading again. I mean, they were all so distressed. Did I want that? But I bowed to pressure and started over with A Game of Thrones. Bran being pushed from the tower was rather shocking to me. I had been just pages away from that the time I’d been reading originally on my flight home.

But as I was following along with Ned coming into King’s Landing with hints of treachery and treason all around him, I decided I did not want to read this book. In college, I had a friend who had read all of Katherine Kurtz’s Deryni novels, which is a series best described (by me) as a historical fantasy with grand political conflicts. My friend gave me a detailed summation of the books, along with his commentary that the “good guys” were constantly undercutting their efforts to defeat their less savory opponents, by being hamstrung by their own adherence to their virtues.

Reading about virtuous Ned entering the decidedly unvirtuous King’s Landing, I was worried if I would enjoy a book where the noble protagonists are just brutalized constantly by unscrupulous opponents. So I put the book down.

My friends ganged up on me. HBO announced that in 2011 they would be airing a series based on the books. Afraid that I was going to be left out in the dark, I dusted off my copy of A Game of Thrones with the intent of bulling my way through it.

This was around Thanksgiving of 2010, so I had roughly four months to read this book. I took my copy and a flashlight with me to wait in line at a Best Buy for a Black Friday sale. Jon’s chapters of being at the Wall have a certain tangible component if you read them in the dark, standing outside in the chill of November. I was reading about Ned Stark sending Beric Dondarrion to interdict the Mountain when the doors to Best Buy opened up, and I was a bit annoyed that I had to put the book away. This time, I’d been completely hooked on what was going on.

I finished the first book, and recommended it to my wife, Lisa. She was not all that interested in reading fantasy and my recommendation was not a convincing factor. But thankfully our goddaughter had also recently read A Game of Thrones and convinced Lisa to read it. I’d borrowed a copy of A Clash of Kings and was reading it while Lisa started in on A Game of Thrones. She finished up the first book before I was halfway through the second one, and stole it from me. From then on, Lisa was ahead of me on reading.

Her punishment for getting a jump on me was in encountering the Red Wedding long before I did, and not having anyone to process her feelings with, while I was glacially making my way through the books. I knew something big was going to happen, because she had this haunted look whenever she asked me how far I was into A Storm of Swords. Once I got to the Red Wedding, the second time I threw that particularly book across the room, I could commiserate with her.

2011 was spent either convincing people to check out the show, or getting people to read the books. I picked up a new edition copy of A Game of Thrones for my dad as a Father’s Day present, telling him that it featured great examples of good and bad paternal figures. After reading it, he bought a set of the four published books.

I’d convinced most of my office colleagues to watch Game of Thrones on HBO. Then nearly all of them picked up the books after the season finale. I am somewhat in the doghouse now that I’ve been promising that The Winds of Winter is just on the publishing horizon. For years. It’s a wonder I’ve not been fired.

The TV show LOST had introduced me to the concept of recap podcasts, and I began listening to Game of Thrones focused podcasts which ranged from ones featuring book experts to those hosted entirely by people whose only experience was the show. There were so many bad takes, and I felt it would be rude to send in argumentative emails, that I began to publish blog posts on my WordPress blog, mostly articles in defense of Game of Thrones characters or their actions.

I’d never heard of Reddit, and didn’t know that there were years of well reasoned subreddit analysis (as well as some not-so-well reasoned suppositions) based on the books. Writing in isolation, it was always a joy to run across some other Game of Thrones blog, or have someone read and comment on a post of mine. It was nice to make these connections with people.

When George RR Martin came and talked as Guest of Honor at Balticon 50, I met so many popular Game of Thrones podcasters and /r/asoiaf moderators that it put into perspective how little I knew of the fan community surrounding the show and books. It was a humbling experience.

In 2017, the first Con of Thrones convention was held in Nashville, Tennessee. I hadn’t necessarily planned on attending, but Lisa surprised me by buying us memberships as a Christmas gift. Friends of mine leaned on me to submit panel suggestions for the convention, and I submitted so many of my blog posts as topics for panel discussions that the convention programming team was either impressed by my enthusiasm or felt pity on me and added me as a panel participant talking about the Night’s Watch.

I made friends with other podcasters whom I had been listening to for years. Be nice to podcasters when you email them, my friends. Like the North, they remember.

To my relief, I made a good impression overall at the convention and when I responded to a call for feature writers for Watchers on the Wall, I was accepted and began to write up opinion articles for the site during Season Seven and after.

Writing about Game of Thrones, talking about Game of Thrones on social media – it allows for so much fun discussion and creative outlets. This year, my parody Twitter account @WinterfellOrcs (a collection of staunchly pro-Stark orcs who watch Game of Thrones on Sauron’s Hi-Def Palantir) enjoyed a surprising (to me) amount of positive interaction when participating in the Davos’ Fingers podcast sponsored #ASongofMadness brackets competition. This year as the orcs watch and comment on Season Eight Game of Thrones, they’ll have more friends (hopefully non-elf friends) to share the experience with.

Now that we’re in the final season, there’s already a sense of loss that in just under two months the show will be over, despite the potential of successor shows and the promise of the last of the books for A Song of Ice and Fire.

My dad was always keen to talk Game of Thrones with me in off-season family gatherings, complaining that he might not live long enough for all the books, and how he has forgotten what happened the previous season of the movies (Dad always calls them movies, and I am reluctant to correct him.) But he also enjoys talking about what a genius Martin is for his world, and how he admires Martin for his research and use of real world historical parallels.

It is gratifying to me that my dad reads my blog posts and feature articles (my high school English teacher would be shocked based on my lackluster efforts as a student, but she deserves no credit.) It is charming to me that my dad keeps asking if George RR Martin, the author who so much of my writing is based on, reads my work.

No, Dad. No. My picking up a book at an airport bookstore kicked off my making connections with many, many people. But not that one.

Valar Morghulis.

The post On the Fandom Road: Making Connections appeared first on Watchers on the Wall.

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Bryan Cogman Dishes on Upcoming “Unprecedented” Season 8 Battle; Confirms His Game of Thrones Prequel is Kaput

Grey Worm Missandei Season 8 802

Bryan Cogman, the one-time script coordinator turned writing assistant turned screenwriter turned producer of Game of Thrones is the man behind season 8 episode 2’s, ‘A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms,’ widely regarded already (4 days after it aired!) as an all-time great episode, and maybe even the best episode ever, according to one prominent critic. One thing’s for sure – Bryan is the man behind so many great episodes, season in and out, from ‘What is Dead May Never Die,’ to ‘The Laws of Gods and Men.’ Even though his final written episode has now aired, his impact will always be remembered in the GOT community. In an interview with Hollywood Reporter’s Josh Wigler, Bryan talks about whatever he can about the upcoming battle that his episode was preparing us for, though tight-lipped as ever, of course!

Revisiting his now heralded episode that takes place on the eve of the greatest battle Westeros has ever or presumably will ever see, Bryan is adamant that it was an important one for the characters’ journeys:

“That was important, going into this final stretch. There’s a lot of story that happens on Game of Thrones, a lot of plot, a lot of “events.” Certainly, there’s a lot of that in this episode, too. But we really wanted it to be an exploration of the characters, and for me, personally, a celebration of the characters. That’s what makes the show tick. It’s the reason we’re here, all these years later.” And I can’t agree more. Spectacle is cool and all, and Hardhome has long-held a place in my heart as the best battle GOT has ever staged. But, without an interest in the characters involved, you just have a Transformers movie and not a meaningful investment like we all did with the Battle of Helm’s Deep of Lord of the Rings fame. He continues: “If somebody who’s watching wants a bit more action early [in the season], then they’re probably disappointed. I think it’s fair to say they’ll get their wish pretty soon.” Yikes, so what’s coming up, Bryan?

“Without getting into spoilers, this is the dread coming to your door. The White Walkers and the Night King are the end personified. Whatever that means to you, that’s what you’re going to see next week.” Well, considering death pools have anywhere from 5 to 10+ of our heroes (and anti-heroes) biting the Valyrian steel sword next week, this gives me the shivers! Look, all I need to know is that Ser Jorah is going to be safe…tell me he’s going to be safe, Bryan! Please!! (edit from Bryan Cogman – [No response]).

As always, questions turned towards how much of the show is his own (and showrunners David Benioff’s and Dan Weiss’) vs. author George R. R. Martin’s. “We’re writing a television show. As such, decisions are made to fit the story we’re telling for the television show. With that in mind, it means that, yes, his text is sacred and his characters are sacred. Where we did invent, we did our best to invent in a way that honors them, but also honors the story we’ve been telling and the experience that our audience has been having.”

Finally, while Bryan was announced as one of the five writers who each developed and pitched a prequel to HBO, they ended up going with Jane Goldman’s project. Still, we didn’t know whether Cogman’s project was could still go into production later, but, unfortunately, he shuts down our excitement of this possibility: “I was developing one of the successor shows with George. George has worked with a bunch of the writers, including Jane [Goldman], whose show is being done [as a pilot]. My prequel show is not happening and will not happen. HBO decided to go a different way.” That really stinks. Bryan had a grasp on these characters that sometimes felt like no one else did. Next, he’s off to Amazon, to create and develop new TV projects.

Still, we’ll always have his many episodes and overall GOT input to cherish. Check out the rest of the interview and let us know your thoughts below!

The post Bryan Cogman Dishes on Upcoming “Unprecedented” Season 8 Battle; Confirms His Game of Thrones Prequel is Kaput appeared first on Watchers on the Wall.

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Bryan Cogman Dishes on Upcoming “Unprecedented” Season 8 Battle; Confirms His Game of Thrones Prequel is Caput

Grey Worm Missandei Season 8 802

Bryan Cogman, the one-time script coordinator turned writing assistant turned screenwriter turned producer of Game of Thrones is the man behind season 8 episode 2’s, ‘A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms,’ widely regarded already (4 days after it aired!) as an all-time great episode, and maybe even the best episode ever, according to one prominent critic. One thing’s for sure – Bryan is the man behind so many great episodes, season in and out, from ‘What is Dead May Never Die,’ to ‘The Laws of Gods and Men.’ Even though his final written episode has now aired, his impact will always be remembered in the GOT community. In an interview with Hollywood Reporter’s Josh Wigler, Bryan talks about whatever he can about the upcoming battle that his episode was preparing us for, though tight-lipped as ever, of course!

Revisiting his now heralded episode that takes place on the eve of the greatest battle Westeros has ever or presumably will ever see, Bryan is adamant that it was an important one for the characters’ journeys:

“That was important, going into this final stretch. There’s a lot of story that happens on Game of Thrones, a lot of plot, a lot of “events.” Certainly, there’s a lot of that in this episode, too. But we really wanted it to be an exploration of the characters, and for me, personally, a celebration of the characters. That’s what makes the show tick. It’s the reason we’re here, all these years later.” And I can’t agree more. Spectacle is cool and all, and Hardhome has long-held a place in my heart as the best battle GOT has ever staged. But, without an interest in the characters involved, you just have a Transformers movie and not a meaningful investment like we all did with the Battle of Helm’s Deep of Lord of the Rings fame. He continues: “If somebody who’s watching wants a bit more action early [in the season], then they’re probably disappointed. I think it’s fair to say they’ll get their wish pretty soon.” Yikes, so what’s coming up, Bryan?

“Without getting into spoilers, this is the dread coming to your door. The White Walkers and the Night King are the end personified. Whatever that means to you, that’s what you’re going to see next week.” Well, considering death pools have anywhere from 5 to 10+ of our heroes (and anti-heroes) biting the Valyrian steel sword next week, this gives me the shivers! Look, all I need to know is that Ser Jorah is going to be safe…tell me he’s going to be safe, Bryan! Please!! (edit from Bryan Cogman – [No response]).

As always, questions turned towards how much of the show is his own (and showrunners David Benioff’s and Dan Weiss’) vs. author George R. R. Martin’s. “We’re writing a television show. As such, decisions are made to fit the story we’re telling for the television show. With that in mind, it means that, yes, his text is sacred and his characters are sacred. Where we did invent, we did our best to invent in a way that honors them, but also honors the story we’ve been telling and the experience that our audience has been having.” 

Finally, while Bryan was announced as one of the five writers who each developed and pitched a prequel to HBO, they ended up going with Jane Goldman’s project. Still, we didn’t know whether Cogman’s project was could still go into production later, but, unfortunately, he shuts down our excitement of this possibility: “I was developing one of the successor shows with George. George has worked with a bunch of the writers, including Jane [Goldman], whose show is being done [as a pilot]. My prequel show is not happening and will not happen. HBO decided to go a different way.” That really stinks. Bryan had a grasp on these characters that sometimes felt like no one else did. Next, he’s off to Amazon, to create and develop new TV projects.

Still, we’ll always have his many episodes and overall GOT input to cherish. Check out the rest of the interview and let us know your thoughts below!

The post Bryan Cogman Dishes on Upcoming “Unprecedented” Season 8 Battle; Confirms His Game of Thrones Prequel is Caput appeared first on Watchers on the Wall.

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Game of Thrones Season 8, Episode 2 “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms” Video Recap Roundup

Sansa Theon Season 8 802

Episode Two of Game of Thrones has been and gone, and you’ve survived (which is exactly unlike what most of the characters will be doing next week…).  To prepare yourself for that oncoming storm, why not enjoy our Video Recap Roundup for A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms?

First up, a two hour review (you know that’s in-depth) from Westeros History, featuring special guest Joanna Robinson from Vanity Fair (and A Cast of Kings, A Storm of Spoilers and a hundred other podcasts.)

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WUEDPLsYVOU?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent&w=700&h=424]

But if you’re shorter on time and you fancy some Antipodean laughs then Ozzy Man is surely the way to go.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xfK-40DPq6w?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent&w=700&h=424]

The good folks at HappyCool, with Watcher’s on the Wall’s very own Axechucker!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WKDITFM1ibQ?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent&w=700&h=424]

Some more Thrones’y comedy with Dem Thrones.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JPyeKMKWREg?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent&w=700&h=424]

Thrones Talk from Collider Videos.  

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A9H8U8kTsO4?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent&w=700&h=424]

The review from Smokescreen.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ha2ARqYPyEw?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent&w=700&h=424]

The Rawrist review.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rHnl_3Sdwog?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent&w=700&h=424]

By popular request, Funny or Die’s Gay of Thrones, featuring Anna Faris!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nxLla5-kVXw?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent&w=700&h=424]

The Young Turks (formerly What the Flick?!) with their review special.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b1vAd4An7oQ?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent&w=700&h=424]

Finally we’ve got some awesome reaction videos for you, kicking off with this one from the chaps at Blind Wave.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rskEK0IqOAM?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent&w=700&h=424]

This one from The Normies (Part Two is here.)

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3HaumIiam8A?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent&w=700&h=424]

And of course some fabulous reactions from the lovely folks at Burlington Bar! (Be sure to check out Parts 2 and 3 as well.)

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=POjpNbXmNaw?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent&w=700&h=424]

Enjoy those and brace yourselves, crypt death is coming!

The post Game of Thrones Season 8, Episode 2 “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms” Video Recap Roundup appeared first on Watchers on the Wall.

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Game of Threads: A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms

Sansa Stark Daenerys Dany Targaryen Season 8 802

This week on Game of Threads: two characters carry the (new) sartorial weight of the entire episode. But it is carried in stunning fashion.

Our main cast is currently, and rightfully, only concerned with arming themselves in steel and mail and dragon glass, or disrobing for some end-of-the-world love-making, so this will be short and sweet, showing Sansa and Daenerys suiting themselves up with their own take on armor.

Emilia Clarke as Daenerys. Photo: Helen Sloan / HBO

Dany continues to wear her white fur coat for the most part, which seems to be her now go-to piece for battle meetings and, well, battle. However, when she questions Jaime in the great hall, and when she approaches Sansa privately, she decides to tone down the outwardly impactful colors. Her newest piece is a beautiful grey leather, perhaps also adopting the Northern tones to show solidarity, but still running through the seaming is her Season 7 custom Targaryen color- a mix of the red and black of her sigil, as well as silver dragon scales beaded into the shoulders, imposing her birthright and ultimate goal in Westeros. Still, Dany presents herself in a way that is she is hoping will be much more approachable, especially to the person she would like to appeal to the most: Sansa.

Sansa Daenerys Season 8 802

Sansa takes the opposite, STUNNING approach, in what is one of the most gorgeous costumes to come out of Game of Thrones. She is armed for battle, but her dressing is also a direct response to the issues that have arisen with the new queen in Westeros. A fashion retaliation showing that she and her family will not be fucked with.

The overall silhouette and fabrication also very much ties her to Cersei in the black, high-neck dresses with layers of elements that close off her body to enemies, but there is still a softness to the way the leather is designed. It evokes her classic dragonfly motif, and even gives the illusion of wings that she likes to put into the clothing she makes for herself. It calls back to her dark, feathered gown at the Eyrie, and her “Little Bird” nickname from Cersei. Both Sansa and Cersei have been through frighteningly awful circumstances in their roles as women of the royal court, but Sansa shows a deep love and responsibility for protecting her family and her people. 

Sansa Jon Bran Arya War Meeting Season 8 802

As they both continue down their respective paths, however, Cersei continues to add spikes and hardness to her dresses, while Sansa keeps her humanity intact with hers to further show allegiance to her family, which is most obviously represented by her favored circular “needle” necklace. Costume designer Michele Clapton actually responded to a tweet recently, stating, “I use circles as they represent a positive emotional message of harmony and protection. The circle is often used to represent unity and commitment, they are associated with women’s strength.”

Also, though this isn’t strictly costume-related: Sansa, Jon, and Arya are all wearing their own version of the same “Stark hairstyle”, which their father Ned most often wore:

starkhair

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Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 3 photos released, featuring battle scene and crypts!

Caption

Varys and Tyrion are in the crypts, which is what we expected. Photo: HBO / Helen Sloan

In keeping with the Season 8 tactic of not releasing episode titles ahead of time, it’s still unknown what to call the sure-to-be-emotionally-devastating third episode of Season 8 of Game of Thrones. But thanks to this new crop of official photos from the episode, we know to prepare ourselves for the worst this week — for the very, very worst.

The first photo above the cut shows Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) and Varys (Conleth Hill) in the crypts, which is not surprising — although Tyrion, who had wanted to be on the battlements, is still wearing his armor.

Caption

Emilia Clarke as Daenerys and Kit Harington as Jon Snow. Photo: HBO / Helen Sloan.

The next image, as a screen capture and not a photo taken by Helen Sloan, is one that looks familiar from the Episode 3 preview: Dany and Jon looking down onto Winterfell from the high ground. Did they fly there on dragonback for one last look at the defenses? This looks like it jibes with moment from the preview in which Jon tells Dany “The Night King is coming,” to which Dany responds, “The dead are already here.”

Caption

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Jamie Lannister (left) and Gwendoline Christie as Ser Brienne of Tarth, leading Northmen and Knights of the Vale. Photo: HBO / Helen Sloan. 

In another image taken directly from the episode and familiar from the preview, Brienne commands the left flank (with Jamie serving under her), and this looks like the moment we see her yelling “Hold!” Jamie certainly looks ready to lunge at something.

Sophie Turner as Sansa Stark and Maisie Williams as Arya Stark.

Sophie Turner as Sansa Stark and Maisie Williams as Arya Stark. Photo: HBO / Helen Sloan.

It looks as though this is the moment when Sansa, about to head down to the safety of the crypts, hears Arya say that she’s staying there to fight. Sansa looks worried but resigned — she knows she can’t convince Arya otherwise.

Sophie Turner as Sansa Stark. Photo courtesy of HBO.

Sophie Turner as Sansa Stark. Photo: HBO / Helen Sloan.

Sansa may be down in the crypts here, side-eyeing suspicious at someone. But who?

Kit Harington as Jon Snow. Photo courtesy of HBO.

Kit Harington as Jon Snow. Photo: HBO / Helen Sloan.

Lastly, in another known capture, we (barely) see Jon Snow deeply concerned, even frightened. We see fire behind him, which was glimpsed on the battlements of Winterfell in the first Season 8 trailer, but also in the godswood in the next time preview. Is he seeing the Night King? Realizing the army of the dead attack is a feint and the Night King is actually on his way to King’s Landing (a theory that I’m more convinced by the minute is true)? Or something worse, if things could possibly get worse?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

The post Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 3 photos released, featuring battle scene and crypts! appeared first on Watchers on the Wall.

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“He wants to erase this world, and I am its memory” — the Night King’s goal analyzed

Sansa Jon Bran Arya War Meeting Season 8 802

Bran: He’ll come for me. He’s tried before. Many times, with many Three-Eyed Ravens.
Sam: Why? What does he want?
Bran: An endless night. He wants to erase this world, and I am its memory.
Sam: That’s what death is, isn’t it? Forgetting … being forgotten. If we forget where we’ve been and what we’ve done we’re not men anymore. Just animals. Your memories don’t come from books; your stories aren’t just stories. If I wanted to erase the world of men, I’d start with you.

In “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms”, the second episode of the final Game of Thrones season, Bran Stark shone some light on the murky motivations of the Night King. The show-viewing audience had already had an idea of what he is all about: he is leading an army of murderous wights who murder ruthlessly at his command, and then he reanimates the murdered slain as murderous recruits, so when Lord Beric Dondarrion told Jon Snow in “Beyond the Wall” that the enemy was Death, that math checked out.

But the nuance that Bran brought to the battle planning table provided a new insight into the Night King and his goals. It isn’t so much that the Night King is simply a life-hating murder avatar (although he certainly might hate life as a bonus.) He might be more of a representation of something else…

He wants to erase the world, and I am its memory.

AN ENDLESS NIGHT

Night and darkness are often associated with ignorance, whereas light often represents clarity and wisdom. It’s the difference between phrases like “the dark ages” and “benighted” as opposed to “the enlightenment” and “an idea going off like a light bulb.”

The Night King is an agent of Ignorance. Of Entropy. Of the Heat Death of the Universe. He’s the reason we can’t have nice things. (And one of those “nice things” is being alive.)

If ignorance in general and a new unending dark age is the goal of the Night King, and not necessarily him orchestrating the death of every human in Westeros…

Night King: Uh, don’t rule that out too fast. I don’t want to be limited as an artist.

… then Bran being a high priority target of the White Walkers is reasonable. Bran represents the memories, knowledge, and experience of the previous Three-Eyed Ravens. It’s probably inaccurate to say hyperbolically that Bran knows everything or is the sum of all human knowledge. But he possesses ancient knowledge that isn’t recorded elsewhere. Certainly not in the Citadel, headquarters of the bookish maesters.

Your memories don’t come from books; your stories aren’t just stories.

On a practical level, this ancient knowledge could include how the Wall was first created with its foundations of supernatural wards. Now that the Wall has an Eastwatch-sized hole in it, if the White Walkers are repelled but not utterly destroyed, the knowledge to repair the Wall is critical for the future. This makes Bran a one-man institution of memory, something Sam encountered before when he was interning at the Citadel hoping to become the Night’s Watch’s resident maester. While Sam was at the Citadel, he had a very similar conversation to the one featured with Bran.

Archmaester Ebrose: We are this world’s memories, Samwell Tarly. Without us, men would be little better than dogs.

702 - Oldtown - Citadel - Sam, Ebrose 3

The Citadel is a more traditional repository of knowledge, and the maesters in Oldtown were not receptive in considering the existence of the White Walkers, let alone allowing White Walker Slayer Sam Tarly to have access to their accounts of the Long Night and what secrets those volumes might have. If the Night King is not stopped and wants an endless night, he and his horde at some point will shamble and scuttle to Oldtown to extinguish the beacon light of the Hightower and destroy the Citadel. But Oldtown is far away and the threat from the maesters is dubious as they doubt and argue.

And Bran Stark is nearby.

THAT’S WHAT DEATH IS, ISN’T IT? FORGETTING … BEING FORGOTTEN.

The association of death and forgetting has been encountered before, when Arya Stark spent time as a hostage with the undead Lord Beric Dondarrion in the Riverlands.

Lord Beric: Every time I come back, I’m a bit less. Pieces of you get chipped away.

It’s a bit more detailed in the books, that when Lord Beric is resurrected over and over, he is aware that he has forgotten things. Important things.

Can I dwell on what I scarce remember? I held a castle on the Marches once, and there was a woman I was pledged to marry, but I could not find that castle today, nor tell you the color of that woman’s hair. Who knighted me, old friend? What were my favorite foods? It all fades. Sometimes I think I was born on the bloody grass in that grove of ash, with the taste of fire in my mouth and a hole in my chest. Are you my mother, Thoros? — A Storm of Swords, Arya VII

Beric Dondarrion 802 Season 8

People build monuments as a means to preserve memories and to confer a kind of immortality on those they’ve lost. The North follows the Old Gods, and that religion has no mentions of an afterlife. A person lives on in songs or they do not live on at all. It was a pleasant counterpoint in the episode where Winterfell was preparing to face Death, that Podrick Payne sang about Jenny of Oldstones, whose story is largely unknown to the readers but always seems to have an emotional impact on characters in the story of A Song of Ice and Fire. Jenny is long dead, and yet still alive in song and memories.

The Lords of Winterfell took a more concrete approach in being immortalized, and are entombed in crypts beneath Winterfell, with stone likenesses to remind their descendants of who they were and what they were. The Kings of Winter.

The Wall that defines the border between the civilized North and the savage beyond is itself a monument to memory. It was so over-engineered and built on such an immense scale, lasting thousands of years, its size must have been intended not only to keep out the White Walkers, but to communicate its basic mission to all who see it. If the caretakers of the Wall were to die or abandon their charge, the notion would remain that someone built this structure to keep something out. Something terrible and unusual. Even if the particulars could not be remembered, the message would be clear.

Wall - Castle Black 1x02

The North is an intrinsic opponent to the Night King and his agenda. Not just because it is geographically close to the Land of Always Winter, but because of the North’s nature.

The North Remembers.

HE’LL COME FOR ME. HE’S TRIED BEFORE. MANY TIMES

Bran’s account that the Night King has tried before to kill the Three-Eyed Raven on more than one occasion brings out several questions. The fact that there have been multiple Three-Eyed Ravens is not a surprise, since Bran himself appears to have been selected to replace the aged man nestled in weirwood roots north of the Wall. It’s not hard to speculate that there was a Three-Eyed Raven that Bran’s predecessor had replaced, and one before that, with memories and experience passing down through the ages.

But the implication is that the White Walkers had been active in some capacity since the Long Night of Old Nan’s tales and through the present.  That the White Walkers did not totally retreat from the world eight thousand years before at the end of the Long Night.

Instead, some kind of low-scale (but high-stakes) conflict had been going on between the Night King and the various Three-Eyed Ravens, pitting attendant Children of the Forest and creatures like Benjen Stark against mindless wights and White Walkers. With gifted replacements summoned from the south to travel across treacherous territory, possibly encountering long-dormant wights who’d been planted under ice and snow like ghoulish landmines, to find a weirwood-rooted Three-Eyed Raven and have the mantle passed on.

Bran and Three-Eyed Raven

Was the Last Hero of Old Nan’s stories the first Three-Eyed Raven, having repelled the White Walkers during the first time they invaded the lands of men, with their hungry dead and their ice spiders as big as hounds? Or was the Last Hero just one in a series of vigilant greenseers? Or completely unrelated?

The history of the lands north of the Wall has become more interesting with these revelations. But will this all just be history? Will there even be a future now that the current Three-Eyed Raven has come south, from the traditional Children of the Forest redoubts to Winterfell, with the Army of the Dead in pursuit?

IF I WANTED TO ERASE THE WORLD OF MEN, I’D START WITH YOU

Bran Stark is not only the victory condition for the Night King; he’s the lure to expose this long-standing nemesis to a counterattack. Just as the Night King yearns to kill Bran Stark, to destroy the knowledge that humanity needs access to, Jon Snow intends to kill the Night King when he comes for Bran.

Bran will be guarded by Theon Greyjoy and his Ironborn, which is not bad from a symbolic perspective. If the Night King is Death, the Ironborn’s dogma states that they have already defeated death. The Drowned God achieved victory over Death ages ago and conferred that status to his faithful and violent followers, who drown themselves and are revived by the resuscitation of their Drowned Man priests.

Theon: What is dead may never die, but rises harder and stronger.

Unfortunately, the Night King literally commands the dead, who have risen harder and stronger as well. When symbols and reality clash, symbols rarely win.

Bran Stark will also be guarded from afar by dragons, once thought dead but brought back into the world by Daenerys Targaryen. The dragons can not only provide a check on the Night King’s undead mount Viserion, but more importantly can be used to whisk Bran away from danger. And that might make all of the difference.

Bran is the prize. If the Starks and Targaryens can’t win the battle of Winterfell by destroying the Night King, the second-best option is to simply not lose. If things go badly, and things likely will, the only avenue left might be to remove Bran from the danger and fight some other day.

This does not bode will for everyone else at Winterfell. They’re all expendable and not everyone can be evacuated on dragonback. But possibly it won’t be that dire.

bran-stark-1

Bran is the prize, and where he goes the Night King and his army will follow, with the Night King leaving any other low-priority targets behind.

And forgotten.

Is that what death is? To be forgotten?

Not always, Sam Tarly. Not always.

The post “He wants to erase this world, and I am its memory” — the Night King’s goal analyzed appeared first on Watchers on the Wall.

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The Writing On the Wall: ‘Arise, Brienne of Tarth, a Knight of The Seven Kingdoms’

Brienne of Tarth A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms Season 8 802

“In the name of the Warrior, I charge you to be brave. In the name of the Father, I charge you to be just. In the name of the Mother, I charge you to defend the innocent.”

Honor is essential to the world of Game of Thrones. It is a concept fundamental to the societal structures of this world, embedded in the way all of our characters understand themselves, others, and the relationships between them. Sometimes the honor is more explicit, for Thrones has not always been the subtlest of shows, like in how it is dishonorable for a Knight of the Kingsguard to murder his king by stabbing him in the back. Sometimes the honor is more implicit, for Thrones sometimes is not the most obvious of shows, and it is in choosing to do the right thing even if others and perhaps even you yourself cannot entirely see why you are doing so in the first place.

“A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms” is one of the finest hours the show has ever produced, in part because the series, in spite of the spectacle that it rightfully known for, has always found its emotional core in the characters that populate its story.

In this episode, while everyone is coming to terms with the overwhelming reality of their inevitable deaths, that question of honor is hovering ever more presently above everyone’s head. The question itself is being questioned, if one thinks about it, for the understanding of what is the most important in everyone’s life understandably becomes something to ponder in the face of imminent death.

Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie) are two of the most important characters in Thrones when it comes to the question of honor. Jaime has been dogged his entire life, and at several times rightfully so, for being a dishonorable man. He killed his king by stabbing him in the back, there are rife rumors about him sleeping with his sister, he kills his own kin in order to try to escape a cell. And he pushed a little, curious boy out of a window. He was a knight who didn’t give a fuck about honor. Until he did.

Game-of-Thrones-plants-thehorticult-SerJaime-Brienne

Brienne had a much more different journey in life. She was raised with certain expectations of femininity, obedience, and internalization of patriarchal norms. She, like Arya (Maisie Williams), rejected those norms. Her physicality may have helped her to reject those norms, but there was more at play than her mere stature. It was an internal understanding that the world would never allow her to be who she was if she kept to its inherently dishonorable idea of honor. So she sought herself and her honor elsewhere.

When we first see Jaime, he is presented as the antithesis of what we understand the ideals of honor to be. He was defined by his crescendo of bravado, his uninhibited swagger, and his unlimited sense of self-importance. He did not come across as being brave, even if his skills with a sword were beyond question. He certainly did not seem to be someone who lived his life according to the ideals of justice. He would rather mock the innocent than defend them.

When we first meet Brienne, she is the first woman to join the ranks of king-in-declaration Renly Baratheon (Gethin Anthony). The sexism she is forced to endure, from some of the jeering looks behind her to See Loras’s (Finn Jones) stunned disbelief, is obvious and in spite of the shield Brienne places in front of her, she is hurt by it. She wants to simply stand shoulder to shoulder with the men who are given the opportunity to be a paragon of virtue and honor. She just keeps on fighting.

Jaime and Brienne in the bearpit

A key difference between Jaime and Brienne is that of privilege. Brienne has a name, of course, but is no Lannister, Stark, or Targaryen. Brienne does not have the privilege of being a man. She is instead a masculine woman who is often looked upon as being weaker than a man and at the same time an aberration as a woman. She is stuck in this middle ground of a nonsense binary system, struggling to find any space, any one for that matter who would sit with her and understood her for who she is, respect her for who she is. The differences in their privileges are critical to shaping their respective ideas about what honor is and what it means; even if it was a double-edged sword for both of them.

For Brienne, honor was an aspiration and a necessity for it was integral to the life of a knight. Ser Brienne was Brienne’s greatest dream, kept away from her solely on account of her gender. Yet she persevered for a part of her deeply believed that if she could be honorable enough, she could fulfill her vows. If she could fulfill her vows, then she could prove that she was capable of demonstrating true loyalty. If she was honorable enough, then perhaps she could become a knight, gender norms be damned.

For Jaime, honor was a shackle. When the Mad King revealed that he was ready to burn the capital of the Seven Kingdoms down to the ground and all of its five hundred thousand inhabitants along with it, Jaime was presented with two honorable options. The first was the traditional path of honor. That pathway required that Jaime stand by his king regardless of the circumstances and defend him while the people of King’s Landing burnt to ashes. The other pathway required him to break that code of honor with a dishonorable act, but in the name of another honorable act: saving the lives of innocents ruled by a ruthless tyrant.

Jaime and his stump - Kissed by Fire

Jaime, as he famously recounts to Brienne in “Kissed by Fire,” chose the second pathway. The exact details of the immediate aftermath are less relevant than the marker of “Kingslayer” he is banded with, a band of dishonor that follows him no matter where he goes. He becomes an embittered man, looking upon the moniker of honor with disdain. The honorable Ned Stark (Sean Bean) wouldn’t have believed him, he believes, and he is probably right. If saving the lives of five hundred thousand people was not honorable enough for the traditions of the Seven Kingdoms, then what was the point of it? In that case, to paraphrase Tormund (Krisotfer Hivju), fuck such traditional honor.

That was the honor that said it was not alright for a woman to be a knight, even if she exhibited the virtues of knighthood more honorably than any man around her. It was the honor that said propriety must be kept sacred for its own sake, damned the consequences on those for whom that propriety is a reality of oppression. What Jaime and Brienne realize in their own ways and together is that the concept of honor as so much of Westeros understands it is a false one, but they also realize that just because that concept is as hollow and false as a treasure room in Qarth does not mean there is no honor at all. That honor is what you make through your actions.

That is why the scene that gives our episode its title is so meaningful. There’s a history of these two characters and how much they have grown and learned alongside one another. The performances from both Gwendoline Christie and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau are incredibly moving. The direction, the cinematography, and Ramin Djawadi’s score is all perfect. But what makes this one of the best scene in the history of the series is that the writing from Bryan Cogman distills something that is not said out loud but becomes instantaneously clear.

Podrick Brienne Spoils of War

Game of Thrones is often accused of being a show that marinates clumsily in the depths of despair, shock, and trauma porn. Sometimes it has earned that moniker but for the most part I would argue that even in an episode that was drowning in a frigid elegy, it is not making the case for absolute death and destruction. It is not making an argument that the best way to survive is to be cruel, unfeeling, and drown out the voices of all others. That is a fundamental misunderstanding of what the narrative is trying to say.

At its heart, if the scene in that cozy room is indicative of anything, is that the show is arguing quite ardently for something else entirely. It is arguing that in the midst of the literal winds of winter, when there is an impending doom not that far away, it is necessary to take stock of one’s life and forge a dream of spring amidst it. Even the song “Jenny of Oldstones,” brought to our screens through the lovely voice of Podrick (Daniel Portman) serves to augment that theme.

Jaime and Brienne might very well die in this next episode, I do not know. But that is, outside of determining the quantity of wine I will drink, somewhat irrelevant. Jaime and Brienne in that moment are finding that dream in the midst of the literal calm before the storm. They could have done anything before the Army of the Dead arrived at Winterfell. They could have continued drinking or played a game of cards or somehow slept. But they chose this.

Brienne Jaime Knight of the Seven Kingdoms Season 8 802

Jaime knighting Brienne is a validation of the principles of knighthood but in a much more different direction than the institution of knighthood has enshrined them. In knighting a woman, there is the removal of a ridiculously patriarchal notion that only men can embody the virtues of knighthood. It is an adoption of not just merit, but an understanding that the principles of bravery, justice, and the protection of the innocent can be embodied by anyone and not just the high-born white men of Westeros. The knighting of Brienne represents some of the very best that Westeros can be, if it chooses to understand what this scene is imparting upon whatever future it has.

A part of that, as we mentioned above, is the inevitably of death. There’s a certain curtain that is raised away from what we no longer consider to be the most important in these sort of moments, revealing what lies beneath. That says a lot about who we want to be, who we believe ourselves to be, and most importantly, who we are. In that cozy stone room, amidst a gathering of a strange assortment warming in front of a warm fire, we find something important.

It is honor, but it is honor of a different sort from the one that defined so much of Brienne and Jaime’s respective lives. It is an honor that is less pedantically concerned with upholding traditions that treat a rigid hierarchy of bigotry as being of paramount importance, and not the content of one’s character. It is an honor of the old world being replaced by the honor of a new. It is an honor of built upon the experiences of a life of bravery, justice, and the protection of the innocent. It is an honor that is a beckoning of spring after the vestiges of winter are wasted away.

(TL;DR: FUCK YEAH, SER BRIENNE OF TARTH, KNIGHT OF THE SEVEN KINGDOMS!!!)

The post The Writing On the Wall: ‘Arise, Brienne of Tarth, a Knight of The Seven Kingdoms’ appeared first on Watchers on the Wall.

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Season 8’s ‘A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms’ obtains honorable ratings

Let's celebrate! Party like it's the last night in your world!

Let’s celebrate the news and party like it’s your last night in the world! It may well be for them…

“A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms” wasn’t a season premiere or finale, or a battle episode. In fact, it wasn’t an explosive episode at all, unless one counts sexual tension (and its release), and yet I would argue it undoubtedly was one of the most well-written and best-executed hours of Game of Thrones ever. How is this reflected in the ratings? It may not break any major records, but “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms” is still in the TOP 5 of Game of Thrones episodes ever in terms of viewership. Get the details below…

Deadline reports that “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms”, the second episode in this short six-part eighth and final season, was viewed by 10.3 million people on HBO’s first airing in the United States. If we add additional airings in the US that Sunday night as well as some of the streaming services, the episode climbs up to 15.9 million viewers. For comparison, by the same metric the season premiere was seen by 17.4 million.

Game of Thrones Season 8 802 Ratings Viewership (1)

“A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms” is the most-watched episode two in the show, and the most-watched one of those positioned between the premiere and the mid-season (which may be a fairer comparison, given the last two seasons have fewer episodes.)

Game of Thrones Season 8 802 Ratings Viewership (2)

Though “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms” breaks no other records, it still holds the honor of being the fourth most-watched episode in the show’s long history, behind only “Eastwatch” (at 10.7 million), which came after the excellent, cliffhangery “Spoils of War”; “The Dragon and the Wolf” (at 12.1 million), which was the finale for season seven; and last week’s season eight premiere, “Winterfell” (at 11.8 million). These are more than worthy companions for what turned out to be a rather quiet, if beautiful, episode.

The post Season 8’s ‘A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms’ obtains honorable ratings appeared first on Watchers on the Wall.

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Nikolaj Coster-Waldau on Jaime’s “act of love” to Brienne; “silence before the storm” episode; “breathtaking” Season 8 battle

Jaime Lannister Brienne of Tarth Season 8 802 A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms

As the most character-focused Game of Thrones episode in quite some time, this past Sunday’s “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms” gave the actors much to work with, and us much to chew on. In a new interview, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau discusses Jaime’s scene with Tyrion, which expands into a much more croweded and beautiful sequence, climaxing in Jaime knighting Brienne of Tarth, which the actor calls “an act of love.”

“[Jaime and Tyrion] really do love each other,” Coster-Waldau tells The Wrap. “They are the closest out of anyone in that family so it’s nice to see them have a good moment together after what they’ve been through, what with Tyrion killing their father and their sister trying to kill– I mean it’s not easy to go to family dinners at the Lannisters because they always end up arguing,” he jokes. “So it’s nice to have a quiet moment to share a glass of wine and share some stories. So it was beautiful to shoot that.”

As the scene continues, the brothers are joined by Brienne, Pod, Davos, and Tormund, resulting in what the actor describes as a “silence before the storm” sequence that they “had a great time” shooting. “We’ve all spent a lot of time together so that influenced the scene,” he adds. “I also think [writer] Bryan Cogman really captured how this could very well be the last time we see all of these characters. And there were so many wonderful surprises. The surprise of Daniel Portman having such an amazing voice. It really was just a special sequence and then [director] David Nutter just capturing it and the balance there, it never becomes too sentimental. It has a sentimental tone about it because you kind of know, ‘We’re probably all going to die tomorrow.’ And that’s not a spoiler, that’s just the truth — we could very well all die. And he captured that beautifully.”

Brienne-Tormund-Jaime-Davos-Tyrion-Podrick-Season-8-802

This already wonderful series of scenes climaxes in the absolutely beautiful knighting of Brienne of Tarth at the hands of Jaime, of which the actor couldn’t be happier:

“[Brienne’s] clearly a woman that he has enormous admiration for and just a human being that he admires,” Coster-Walday sys. “And we saw a scene earlier [in the episode] where he asks if he can serve under her, because he knows she is amazing at what she does and she’s a great warrior and she has all the qualities and is the most deserving of the title of knight of anyone in that world. So I think it’s obviously an act of love.”

This echoes what actress Gwendoline Christie (Ser Brienne) had to say about Jaime’s act in HBO’s Game Revealed documentary: “It’s almost like a declaration of love.”

“And I don’t think he thought of it,” the Danish actor continues, “but then when you hear Tormund Giantsbane go, ‘Well, why can’t a woman be a knight?’ and then she goes, ‘tradition,’ and he says ‘fuck tradition’… I think that inspires him, that moment. And it’s a beautiful scene, and when I saw it… I just thought Gwendoline was absolutely incredible. I mean it was incredible when we shot it, but you do so many takes and so many angles, so to see the final performance was just beautiful.”

It was, Nikolaj! It absolutely was… Just look at that teary-eyed smile!

Brienne of Tarth Knight of the Seven Kingdoms Season 8 802

As for next week’s battle that “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms” was preparing us for, both emotionally and strategically, Coster-Waldau is obviously reticent to share too much, but he does say he “wouldn’t put money on no one being hurt.” You don’t say?!

“On purely a logistical and technical level, just working with [director] Miguel [Sapochnik], and what him and the crew came up with and pulled off was breathtaking,” he allows himself to say. “Even though it was a tough shoot you were so inspired by going to set and being part of something that was so massive… I really cannot wait to see it, because the crew just worked their asses off and I think it will show.”

I cannot way to see it either! I was already excited for the battle because of its significance and its astounding production, but after reconnecting with so many characters this episode, the next one will be extra special. As for the rest of the interview, which includes insight into Jaime’s scene with Bran, you can read it here.

The post Nikolaj Coster-Waldau on Jaime’s “act of love” to Brienne; “silence before the storm” episode; “breathtaking” Season 8 battle appeared first on Watchers on the Wall.

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The Night’s Cast Episode 20: “A Knight of The Seven Kingdoms” Recap and Reactions

We could gaze at Brienne's expression here forever.

We could gaze at Brienne’s expression here forever.

Our collective hearts were full to bursting after Sunday’s episode, “A Knight of The Seven Kingdoms” (don’t remind us that it’s probably just to soften the blow of the coming third episode), and The Night’s Cast, the official podcast of Watchers on the Wall, couldn’t wait to recap it!

Join Vanessa and Samantha as they discuss the second episode of Season 8, from Theon’s return to Winterfell to the S.S. Gendarya setting sail and the emotional scene of Brienne receiving the knighthood she’s dreamt of.

[soundcloud url="https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/609988044?secret_token=s-CM70K" params="color=#ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&show_teaser=true" width="100%" height="166" iframe="true" /]

Don’t forget — The Night’s Cast is going live for Season 8! Every Sunday until May 19th, you can find us livestreaming at 5 p.m. EST on the Watchers on the Wall YouTube channel.

The podcast is available on iTunes and SoundCloud, and you can follow us on Twitter as well. Happy listening!

The post The Night’s Cast Episode 20: “A Knight of The Seven Kingdoms” Recap and Reactions appeared first on Watchers on the Wall.

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Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 2 “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms” Written Recap Round-Up

Helen Sloan - HBO (8)

Welcome back, mine fellow legions of Game of Thrones fans. Hopefully everyone survived the long week between episodes; it was hard, but we made it! From a plot standpoint, ‘A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms’ was about as uneventful an episode of GOT as you can imagine, but from a character standpoint it may have been the most eventful of all time. So which way did the critics tilt?

Every week, I’ll be deconstructing the multitude of reviews out there, boiling them down to one short summary sentence that will perfectly encapsulate what the original author was saying, no questions asked…and by that I mean that I will deconstruct whole essays down to one sentence apiece. What I will do is attempt to summarize the original review as best I can, and if my tease whets your appetite for their style of review, you are encouraged to head over to their site and let them know…after of course letting us know your thoughts in the comments below. All squared? Jolly good, let’s dive in.

Here at Watchers on the Wall, we encourage you to ‘Always Support the Bottom.’ This naturally extends to your support of our editor-in-chief Sue the Fury, and her ‘Sullied recap‘ of the episode, in which her background knowledge of the books informs her perspective on the episode. Once you’ve done that, you would do well to support our peerless Oz of Thrones‘s ‘Unsullied recap,’ in which his fearless determination to avoid reading the books has outlasted all others, continuing on for 8 full seasons. After this, you can check out what these Internet critics thought of ‘A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms’:

Akhil Arora, Gadgets 360 – In which he notes that the sweet moments are likely to be followed by brutal, heart-wrenching ones.

Alan Sepinwall, Rolling Stone – In which he does a deep dive into the knighting of Ser Brienne of Tarth, first of her name.

Alex McLevy, The A.V. Club – In which he claims Bran Stark is the ‘avatar’ for everyone at Winterfell, and the forward momentum of what past memory does for the future.

Alyssa Rosenberg, The Washington Post – In which she believes Dany is most human when her brittleness and rigidity are in full bloom.

Caroline Framke, Variety – In which she revels in the satisfaction of spending the night with so many characters we’ve come to hold dear, as they drink and reminisce.

Dave Gonzales, Thrillist – In which he believes that with all of Theon’s arcs tied up, he will die in the next episode.

David Malitz, The Washington Post – In which he thinks it’s nice that the show finally acknowledges that Tyrion has become something of an idiot lately.

David Rosenblatt, Squinty Overanalyzes Things – In which David – Hey wait, that’s me! I wrote this review. No free peeks. Go check it out!

Hillary Kelly, Vulture – In which she says the episode was nostalgic, heartwarming, and contains the sexiest sex scene in GOT history.

Ian Thomas Malone, Personal Blog – In which she thinks that fan service, while sometimes a little forced, is not a bad way to spend an episode.

James Hibberd, Entertainment Weekly – In which he parallels the Stark/Baratheon bond that was once to be Sansa/Joffrey and how it has been replaced with Arya/Gendry.

Jeremy Egner, New York Times – In which he liked Bran’s reference to “The things I do for love,” suggesting it was an excellent callback and fun way to mess with a guy.

Joanna Robinson, Vanity Fair – In which she dives into the subtext of the Davos/Gilly interaction.

Josh Wigler, Hollywood Reporter – In which he recaps from a mostly objective standpoint, neglecting to delve into the subjective.

Julia Alexander, The Verge – In which she likens the reunion-based episode to pre-snap Thanos.

Kaitlin Thomas, TV Guide – In which she calls out Brienne as the epitome of goodness.

Kathryn VanArendonk, Vulture – In which she defends the right of Arya Stark to be a teenager.

Kelly Lawler, USA Today – In which she thinks everything came full-circle, and played like a greatest hits album.

Kim Renfro – Business Insider – In which she goes into detail on details you caught and details you missed.

Laura Hudson, WIRED – In which she can oddly see Tyrion becoming a Littlefinger of sorts.

Laura Stone, Hey Don’t Judge Me – In which LAURA. LOVES. LOYAL. BITCHES.

Lauren Sarner, New York Post – In which she concludes who will survive the impending battle with the undead, based largely on moments from episode 2.

Lindsey Romain, Nerdist – In which she discusses why Brienne of Tarth is the MVP of the episode.

Mark Perigard, Boston Herald – In which Arya and Gendry’s intimate moment may have been the hardest moment for him to watch.

Michael Schick,  Hypable – In which she declares Tyrion’s character to be the representation of the episode itself.

Michael Rogeau, Gamespot – In which he thought it was just another episode filled with build-up and anticipation, with the promise of something monumental waiting just over the horizon.

Melanie McFarland, Salon – In which she braces boldly for the aches that will come following Podrick’s inevitable demise.

Mike Bloom, Parade – In which the latest news around Westeros is reported.

Natalie Mokry, Film School Rejects – In which she deduces that Dany’s origin storyline as the ultimate GOT villain kicks off with the gut punch that is the Aegon reveal.

Neela Debnath, Express – In which she believes the episode was jam-packed with wonderful character scenes.

Olivia St. James, That Shelf – In which she thinks Ramin Djawadi’s score during the Sansa/Dany discussion was spot on.

Rob Bricken, io9 – In which he thinks the thoughtful character moments the premiere lacked were in this episode instead.

Ron Hogan, Den of Geek –In which he praises the entire company of actors, among whom he finds zero slouches.

Sarah Hughes, The Guardian – In which she finds Theon pledging to defend Bran to the death among the episode’s most heartbreaking moments.

Sean T. Collins, Rolling Stone – In which he calls out writer Bryan Cogman and director David Nutter for digging into the rich library of character relationships, finding the heartwrenching stuff at the center.

Soumya Srivastava, Hindustan Times – In which she loves that the episode reassures us of the humanity, kindness, loyalty, and friendship capable of the characters in GOT, and why they are the ones to root for.

Todd VanDerWerff, Vox – In which he looks at the eight winners and four losers of the episode.

Tori Preston, Pajiba – In which she portends that some of the most memorable moments from this amazing, infuriating, and confounding show will be contained in this episode.

Verne Gay, Newsday – In which he thinks the most crucial scene was Dany’s and Sansa’s Mexican standoff.

Thanks for joining this week. Whose reviews did you love/hate, with all due respect of course, and as always?

The post Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 2 “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms” Written Recap Round-Up appeared first on Watchers on the Wall.

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Game of Thrones Post-Mortem of “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms”

Helen Sloan - HBO (13)

Game of Thrones knocked it out of the park last night with a character-centric episode designed to give us all the feels! There were so many emotional moments, like Jaime’s controversial arrival at Winterfell, his knighting of Brienne, Pod’s lovely singing(!), and Jon’s difficult revelation to Daenerys to name a few. It allowed us to reconnect with the people we’ve grown to know and love over the past eight seasons – right before they rip our hearts out next week. Before that happens, however, let’s dig into this episode’s interviews and videos!

Entertainment Weekly brings us a wonderful chat with episode writer Bryan Cogman, who states, “This episode is really a love letter to the characters. With most of our battles you get about 15 minutes of calm-before-the-storm with the characters participating in that battle taking stock of where they are in their lives before the dam breaks. This is an entire episode of that so that episode 3 can hit the ground running.”

Cogman discusses Jaime’s decision to knight Brienne, saying, “Jaime has been a knight of the Seven Kingdoms his whole life, but he’s finally becoming the knight he’s been chasing.” For the actual knighting, they “wanted to take the audience by surprise. It’s not a ceremonial scene on a cliff at sunset with billowing capes…It’s a moment of grace and beauty in the middle of a nightmare and the main reason I wanted to write this episode. The episode’s title, ‘A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms,’ refers to both Jaime and Brienne.” I’m not crying, you’re crying!

EW notes that Gwendoline Christie named this scene as the one she takes the most pride in, out of all eight seasons. “I thought about it so much and what it means to me conceptually. It’s so emotional for the character to get something she wants and to be acknowledged.” We know Benioff and Weiss gave all the actors a character storyboard as a parting gift, and that Christie’s was from season eight. I really hope this is the scene she received.

Read more from Cogman about Arya and Gendry’s big moment, Jon’s parentage reveal, and more at EW.

Speaking of Gendry and Arya (or should I say Gendarya now?), Maisie Williams and Joe Dempsie tell EW their own thoughts on their big scene. Williams confesses that she initially thought it was a prank, but that when she discovered it was really happening, she was given full control over how much of her body she wanted to show. She also stresses that the scene was respectful, but also strange. “No one wants to make you feel uncomfortable which kind of makes you feel more uncomfortable, because no one wants to look at anything that they shouldn’t look at, which in turn makes you feel like you look awful…You want people to act more normal.”

It was similarly awkward for Dempsie, who admits, “It’s obviously slightly strange for me because I’ve known Maisie since she was 11, 12 years old. At the same time, I don’t want to be patronizing toward Maisie — she’s a 20-year-old woman. So we just had a lot of fun with it.” Judging by the fan reactions it was strange for many people, but if anyone deserves some happiness, it’s Arya.

Williams concurs. “David and Dan were like, ‘It’s the end of the world, what else would you have her do?’ This maybe is a moment where Arya accepts death tomorrow, which she never does — ‘Not Today.’ So it was that moment where she says, ‘We’re probably going to die tomorrow, I want to know what this feels like before that happens.’ It’s interesting to see Arya be a bit more human, speak more normally about things people are scared of.” Here’s hoping she and Gendry survive long enough to explore their relationship further!

Helen Sloan - HBO (1)

One relationship that’s not heading in a positive direction is that of Jon and Daenerys. Jon finally told her the truth of his parentage, and Dany didn’t take it well. This could be reasonably expected given the situation, but many fans have a much less charitable view of her reaction. In an interview with EW, however, Emilia Clarke defends her character’s response to the news.

“The related thing, to her, is so normal. She could have easily married her brother. It’s not a thing. It’s a thing for Jon, but let’s just forget about that. The main thing is we’re up for the same promotion and I’ve been working for it for my entire existence.” She adds, “This is my whole existence, since birth! Dany literally was brought into this world going: RUN! These f—ers [in Westeros] have f—ed everything up. Now it’s, ‘You’re our only hope.’ There’s so much she’s taken on in her duty in life to rectify. There’s so much she’s seen and witnessed and been through and lost and suffered and hurt to get here…and Jon doesn’t even want it!”

It’s interesting that Clarke notes that “the related thing” is an issue for Jon, since we don’t see that in the episode. Perhaps it will come up later? I do appreciate her take on Daenerys considering the backlash the character has received, and…she’s not wrong. Assuming they survive the battle for Winterfell (which, of course they will), they will need to work out their problems and present a united front to keep their fragile alliance together.

Podrick Payne

One of the biggest highlights of the episode – especially for book readers – was Podrick’s beautiful and haunting rendition of “Jenny’s Song.” Daniel Portman admits to Esquire that he was completely unprepared for it, however. “They just put it in the script and they didn’t really tell me. I was terrified to be singing in front of all these people with this camera in my face. And something like a billion people have seen the first episode. So thinking about that many people seeing me singing was terrifying.” Don’t worry Daniel – we all saw, and we all loved it!

Portman also shares why he believes fans have such an attachment to his character, saying, ‘It’s the innocence, it’s the honesty and the sweetness in a world where there isn’t a lot of that. There’s a lot of Machiavellian tactics and underhandedness, and to have a guy who is none of those things and is just as honest to the core and selfless and loyal – people like when they see something good happening to him, you know?” I couldn’t have said it better. If Pod dies, we riot!

The entire interview is well worth a read, so check it out at Esquire.

Florence and the Machine

Finally, The New York Times speaks to Florence and the Machine frontwoman Florence Welch about her band’s version of “Jenny’s Song” that played over the episode’s end credits. When showrunners Benioff and Weiss approached her with the song, “They just had a simple, stripped back, lilting melody,” Welch reveals. “The notes of it sounded like a Celtic folk song to me. I thought it was really beautiful. I love the idea of dancing with ghosts and never wanting to leave.That totally makes sense to me. I feel like I do that every night on stage.”

“I worked with Thomas Bartlett on ‘High as Hope,’ and he’s a piano genius. He helped formulate the chords, and then I kind of added my choir, my hellish soprano. We just tried to keep within the Game of Thrones world, to retain the ghostliness of it.” I’d say mission accomplished.

Welch admits she wasn’t given any backstory about the song’s importance at the time, which she believes was for the best. “What I wanted to do with this song was keep it as sparse as possible. It does get a bit more rousing at the end, but I really wanted to retain the simplicity of the melody and the lyrics that they sent me, because I found them so moving. If I had known the history of the song, I would have been like, ‘[Expletive], we need fanfares, and you’re going to have to get a dragon on here somehow.’ I might have — as I can do sometimes — overblown it.”

Read the rest here.


In this week’s “Inside the Episode,” David Benioff and Dan Weiss talk Jaime’s trial, Brienne becoming an knight, Jenny’s Song, and more.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WoNRogjJn1Q]

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Isaac Hempstead Wright, and Gwendoline Christie dissect Jaime’s arrival at Winterfell (this video is from the HBO website and can only be viewed in the United States).

Several cast members share their thoughts on the characters’ last night in Winterfell before the battle.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aWNUBgTMYcs]

“The Game Revealed” gives us a detailed look at Winterfell’s expansion and the arsenal of dragonglass weapons, and cast and crew discuss key moments from the episode.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dcqrNXKv628&w=700&h=394]

If you missed next Sunday’s preview, check it out below!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TdkS4Xazz7Q]

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Unsullied Recap, Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 2: A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms

Helen Sloan - HBO (3)

Spoiler note: The discussion in this post is primarily for non-book readers (book fans can discuss the show-only here). We ask that all Sullied book-readers refrain from posting any mentions/references to the books in the comments here, veiled or otherwise. No spoilers, at all! This show is best viewed without knowing all the surprises beforehand or afterwards, so please be respectful of your fellow fans. Thank you!

If there was any part of you that held doubt that you might not be emotionally invested come the onslaught next week, AKOTSK put that issue to bed without its dinner.

Installment 2 of the conclusion of the greatest show that ever was or ever will be gave Westeros a new knight, possibly the best fireplace congregation of all time, one less virgin, a distraught Queen, and a newly-crowned Westerosi Idol.

Come forth with a man, and let us prepare for an episode next week that will likely leave Winterfell (and all of us emotionally) in ruins…

I’m not going to give you some long prelude to the occurrences. I’ll just say that this episode filled in a lot of what was left to be desired from episode 1. I liked “Winterfell,” but I loved this one. It felt different. It felt complete. It felt “the feels” as Ozzette put it.

Here we go:

Helen Sloan - HBO (6)

The Kingslarraigment

We kick right off with the prosecution of Jaime for all of his past transgressions. This portion went about as expected although I was concerned that maybe the judges would more question his loyalty to Cersei and whether or not he was being strategically planted to infiltrate the enemy.

In the end, it was Brienne that stepped up to the plate convincing Sansa of his good intentions. Jon is only slightly preoccupied with other thoughts at the time.

And Dany? She’s more concerned with what Jaime did to her dad after admitting on multiple occasions that she knew how horrible a person the Mad King was.  Her concern over whether or not her neck would be slit in the middle of the night was justified. But after the others vouched for him, she should have trusted them and welcomed him to the team.

Sample #1: Dany not happy.

Dany and her afflicted relations with Tyrion continue in the hallway as she calls him a traitor or a fool for not knowing Cersei wasn’t sending troops. Of course, she doesn’t know that Cersei used her pregnancy (mentioned later) to make Tyrion think her priorities had changed. Plus, Dany remains focused on the fact that Cersei still sits on the throne and she doesn’t which completely ignores the fact that THE FUCKING DEAD ARE COMING TO KILL THEM ALL.

Sample #2: Dany not happy.

Where’s the two-day shipping on my fucking weapon?

The sparks are flying with the forging of the dragonglass armament. Arya and Gendry have a few as well. Arya pushes Gendry to tell her about the dead and makes it clear that she is quite the warrior herself, pushing him to get her damn weapon made. Later on, speaking of shipping… oh God, I can’t even talk about it.

Helen Sloan - HBO (4)

The Treeunion

Jaime and Bran meet up at the neighborhood Playground de’ Weirwood to discuss the whole “you pushed me out of a window after I caught you fucking your sister” conversation.  This was also what I expected; that Bran holds no anger and understands that both of their paths would have been astonishingly different had the incident not occurred.

Later, the Brothers Lannister catch up while dodging Northman expectorate. They discuss Dany and mistakes Tyrion has made that justify her current doubt. This is where Tyrion also mentions Cersei using her pregnancy to make him believe she was telling the truth about sending the armies. Jaime gets distracted watching Brienne oversee training and goes to speak with her.

Helen Sloan - HBO (13)

Podrick has apparently been showing up for practice early and staying late. Jaime and Brienne make small talk about it and discuss battle strategy when Big B asks where the damn insults are.  Jaime then humbly asks to serve under Brienne giving us the kind of emotional reunion we were looking for from other characters in episode 1.

Jorah enters to speak with Dany in what appeared to be a discussion about the mistake of making Tyrion her hand. But instead, Jorah tells her that it was the right decision stating that he owns his mistakes and learns from them. I feel like this conversation will have a major influence in the episodes to come. He also has one more suggestion…

Sansa Dany

Dany goes to meet with Sansa to try and put aside their differences and work together for the greater good. When Dany finally stops talking down to Sansa, things seem to take a turn for the better until Sansa asks a legitimate question: “What happens afterward? What about the North?”

Sample #3: Dany still not happy and pulls her hand away from Sansa. And what was with the comment, “fighting Jon’s war?” Here’s another friendly reminder that THE FUCKING DEAD ARE COMING TO KILL YOU ALL!!

Then we get arguably the most powerful reunion yet… Sansa and Theon. How good was the acting between these two?

Davos looking speculative, perhaps? Photo: Helen Sloan / HBO

 Photo: Helen Sloan / HBO

Davos’ Soup Kitchen

Davos serves it up hot and now when a little girl named Teela walks up and tells him she wants to fight. There was a definite reminder there of Shireen. You all emomo yet? Gilly talks the little girl into protecting her and Baby Sam in the Crypts.

Helen Sloan - HBO (15)

Meanwhile, Edd, Beric and Tormund show up to tell Jon that the dead will be there before the sun comes up tomorrow.

In strategy room, Bran explains that the NK will come for him to create an endless night and erase all memories and men from the world. Bran says that he will lure him to the Godswood and Theon offers to protect him (the Redemption of Reek continues).

House Stark

Tyrion gets relatively good news in that Dany commands him to be in the crypts instead of fighting (helping his death odds immensely). Bran also states that he doesn’t know if dragonfire will stop the NK.

This was a pretty telling discussion in that now we understand a little more why the NK is obsessed with Bran v3.ER. It also sounds like a decent plan if we assume that if they can kill the NK, the rest of the AOTD dies with him (see: wight heist, S7).

Side Note: The show runners could have devoted an entire episode featuring just Bran and Tyrion talking about their journeys to this point by the fireplace and I would have fully endorsed it.

Kit Harington (left) as Jon Snow and John Bradley as Samwell Tarly. Photo: Helen Sloan / HBO

Photo: Helen Sloan / HBO

And Now Our Watch Begins

Sam, Edd and Aejon all meet to talk about how far they’ve come since taking their oaths. Sam spouting his achievements to Jon after he suggests he goes to the crypts with Gilly and Sam was classic television.

Samwell Tarly Resume

Objective: To pursue a career in and actively contribute to the annihilation of white walkers, wights and associated frozen dead people.

Aliases:

  • Slayer of white walkers
  • Lover of ladies

Experience:

  • First man to kill a white walker
  • Killed Thenns (Edd note: a Thenn)
  • Saved Gilly more than once
  • Stolen a considerable amount of books from the Citadel library
  • Survived the Fist of the First Men

Who wouldn’t hire Sam???

Helen Sloan - HBO (11)

The All-Star Assemblage

The greatest fireplace convention of all time occurred before our very eyes starting out with two brothers but quickly growing to include Brienne, Pod, Tormund, and Davos. We were lucky enough to hear the bedtime story of Tormund’s giant killing at the age of 10.

knight

And then one of the most powerful scenes ever happens when our Lady Brienne gets knighted by Jaime. I know these are fictional characters. I know this is a TV show. But dammit, I don’t care. That scene, the words, the ceremony, and her reaction were damn powerful.

Now please Brienne and Jaime… don’t die next episode.

Gendry Arya kiss

Is That a Weapon in Your Pants or are you just happy to see me?

Arya finally meets up with the Hound and Beric but excuses herself to go find someone to spend her time with other than two miserable old shits. And then..

Then the real sparks fly. Arya learns that Gendry is Robert’s bastard and the clothes come off. Did anyone else think it was weird observing this person who we’ve been watching on television grow up from a little girl suddenly get naked? It felt kinda… dirty. But, good for them. It had been a long time in the making.

Helen Sloan - HBO (1)

The Confession

I really wasn’t sure if Jon would tell Dany right before the dead arrived considering none of them may survive anyway. But he does in the best way that he knows how standing in front of Lyanna’s statue. Dany unintentionally opens the door by talking about Rhaegar and the rape that wasn’t a rape. Jon explains what really happened, how he found out and that he knows it is true.

Sample #4-#6: Dany now REALLY not happy. Upon learning that her brother was not a rapist, and was married, and had a son before he died, and that she has a family member who is alive and well and standing in front of her, Dany automatically doubts the validity and is worried about how this threatens her claim to the throne.

I understand her mission since the beginning has been focused on the throne and learning that she may not be the rightful heir could be very traumatizing considering everything she has been through. But right now, her actions do not paint a very pretty picture of her true character. I’m not saying she’s mad. But at a minimum, she is being undeniably selfish.

I hope this changes.

Helen Sloan - HBO (8)

Episode 802 Personal Awards

Favorite Quotes:

“You want to know what they’re like? Death. That’s what they’re like.” – Gendry

“How do you know there is an afterwards?” – Bran

“He never should have trusted Cersei.”  “You never should have either.” -Sansa

“What about the North?” – Sansa

“It could be our last night in this world, you know?” -Giantsbane

“I fought for you, didn’t I?” – The Hound

“Fuck tradition.” – Tormund

“I’d knight you ten times over.” -Tormund

“I hope we win.” -Sam

Favorite Sequence:  The Knighting of Ser Brienne; the Theon and Sansa reunion, the Jaime and Bran reckoning, Sam giving Jorah “Heartsbane,” and basically anything Tormund says.

The “Ow, That Shit Hurts Award” goes to: Dany’s claim.

Official Season 8 Penis Count: Zero

Overall Thoughts: When Pod finishes up the party with a night-night song about Jenny and her ghosts and Sam lays down with Gilly and Baby Sam, Missandei and Worm kiss, and Theon glares into the eyes of Sansa, you know that we are getting near the end of the road for many of them. This episode filled in where episode 1 left me a little empty. I’ve always loved the Cogman penned eps and this may be one of my favorites. He’s always known how to get you reeled in just in time to break your damn heart. This one served the purpose. Next week is going to be rough.

That’s it for me guys and gals! Am I being too rough on Dany? How did you guys and gals see it? Thanks for putting up with my perspective and please share yours below.

Until next week, hang out and stay awhile. Invite a friend to join us. And may there always be peace in your realm. –Oz

Follow Oz on Twitter.

**SPOILER NOTE: The Management of this fine site would like to remind you that spoilers (book or leak) are not allowed in Unsullied posts. This includes spoilers covered by code or otherwise. Personally, I appreciate feedback from Sullied and Unsullied alike, so long as they do not include any type of hinting or conversation related to the written verse. However, spoiler coded comments do tend to lead to further Sullied conversation and for that reason, we ask that you please refrain from posting any SPOILERY content whatsoever in Unsullied posts. Thank you for the coop, ya’ shits. -Oz

The post Unsullied Recap, Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 2: A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms appeared first on Watchers on the Wall.

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Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 2 “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms” Recap

Courtesy of HBO (4)

Hello, loyal Watchers, and welcome back to week 2 of How Can HBO’s Providers Screw Up The Roll-Out of the Final Season of the Biggest Show in the World! This Sunday, fans were treated to an early preview of HCHPSUTROotFSotBSITW, leading to another stellar evening’s entertainment. But was it better than last week’s season premiere? Let’s take a look and decide.

Spoiler Note: This is our book reader’s recap, intended for those who have read the A Song of Ice and Fire series. The post and the comments section may contain spoilers from the novels, whether or not that material has appeared on the show yet. Because no, we are not all Unsullied now. If you have not read the books yet, we encourage you to check out our non-book-reader recap, by Oz of Thrones!

Checking out the credits and hey it’s a Cogman episode! Look out, nerds, ’cause here come the book references, as the people gathered at Winterfell prepare to fight for the living. (Edit: I didn’t know the title of the episode before I wrote this sentence. Well played, Bryan. Well played.)

Jaime Trial 802 Season 8

The episode doesn’t make us wait for the good stuff, AKA where we finished at the end of the season premiere: what happens now that Jaime Lannister has turned up in Winterfell, with Bran Stark staring into his soul and telling him he knows what he did last summer seven seasons ago? The northerners waste no time putting the Kingslayer on trial for all his misdeeds, with Daenerys actually quoting her brother Viserys as if she didn’t straight-up have him murdered for being a dick. Not exactly what you’d call a quality character witness, was he, Dany.

To his credit, Jaime admits Cersei’s massive deception and tries to convince the audience of his own good intentions. Dany is extremely done with Tyrion, and while not telling anyone what Jaime did to him, Bran does take the opportunity to unnerve him by throwing out a S1E1 reference of his own by quoting “The things I do for love.” He may be the Three Eyed Raven, but a part of him is still a snarky teenager. The issue is resolved when Brienne stands for Jaime;  that’s enough for Sansa to reverse her firmly fuck-that-guy stance. Practical Jon isn’t going to turn down a living ally, so Dany capitulates while seething and taking out her ire on Tyrion in private. Her Hand suspects he may not hold onto the gig for much longer.

Gendry is down in the forge sweating and while I’m not opposed to lingering shots of sweaty, open-throat-shirted Gendry (and neither is Arya by the looks of it), I’m not sure why because he should be chiseling and shaping dragonglass, not melting it. That’s a nitpick- I realize they still have to make handles and things of that nature- but it looked like they were forging dragonglass at one point and I was honestly confused about the properties of the material. Maybe it’s just me being really distracted by Joe Dempsie. Anyway, I don’t blame Arya for engaging in some intense stare-flirting. And I love the way the music lightens whenever she sees him, it’s a nice subtle touch.

Gendry gives Arya the low-down on their enemy: they’re death, which sounds bad (“really bad”) but we’re in luck- she’s better acquainted with death than anyone in Westeros. He’s suitably impressed by her knife trick and based on his reaction, before the scene ended I was 95% certain they were going to have sex.

Bran Weirwood Season 8 802
In the godswood, Bran waits. (Who rolled him there? How long has it been? Is anyone concerned?) Jaime apologizes for his misdeeds but Bran calls bullshit on that. He reveals that he didn’t tell the others what Jaime did because they need his help in the fight. Jaime wonders what will happen after the fight, but Bran points out, “How do you know there’s an afterwards?”

Hopping over to a more friendly face, Jaime and Tyrion have some brother bonding and honesty time about what a lying ass Cersei is. Tyrion seems to be using this time to accept his death as inevitable at Winterfell, before the battle comes. He recalls his long ago wish to die with a mouth on his cock, bellyful of wine, etc etc. But Jaime is distracted by a tall blonde in the field below. Sorry, Tyrion, your gloom and doom can’t compete with that.

Commanding the men in the yard (and observing a much-improved Pod), Brienne and Jaime chat, without insults! It’s funny, they’ve been apart so long I think sometimes we have a tendency to idealize them and forget that they’re almost always at odds, despite the respect built between them. It’s still hard for Brienne to let down her walls. But he volunteers to fight under her, and she’s touched.

Jorah and Dany confer and he surprisingly pushes her to forgive Tyrion. He admits his past misgivings but sees Tyrion’s gifts, and also sees that she needs to work with someone. And then we see Daenerys heading to meet with Sansa.

Sansa Dany

The two women find common ground as leaders, with Sansa defending Tyrion as well. She also owns her fear that Jon may be manipulated by Daenerys. The queen points out all she has done for the North when her own goal is in the South- the Iron Throne. So who is being manipulated then? It seems like the two are coming to genuine understanding and warmth for one another, until they arrive at a sticking point: if Daenerys is going to rule the Seven Kingdoms, what does that mean for the North, who insists on remaining independent after this war? The women are back where they started, wary of one another, with very different end goals.

Theon Sansa

But a visitor has arrived…THEON!  Looking sad and wet, but so alive. He declares he’ll fight for Winterfell. Sansa runs and hugs him and I’m a weepy mess. Oh god, he’s going to die, isn’t he?

The peasants of the North are being fed in the courtyard with Davos and Gilly, and people keeping telling them to go to the crypts because the crypts are safe. Has everyone forgotten that crypts are full of dead bodies and skeletons? Stop telling them to go the crypts! You people KNOW what the Night King can do with dead bodies, what are you DOING. We’re gonna see this spunky little girl dead and reanimated next week, aren’t we. CHRIST. Our dead kid quotient is gonna be through the roof this reason.

Tormund, Beric and the Night’s Watch men return from Last Hearth, picking flaming little boy bits from their hair. They report everyone has only “until the sun comes up tomorrow” before the attack. Everyone gets ready for war; this is the big show for real now.

House Stark

At the team strategy meeting, Bran suggests putting himself out there as bait, because the Night King always goes after the Three Eyed Raven (he has with “many” of them- interesting). Sam makes a lovely speech about death being forgetting and “being forgotten” and then Jon tries to put Bran in the crypt for safety- STOP WITH THE CRYPT, JON.

The bait plan is accepted. Theon volunteers to stay with Bran in the godswood, as penance for taking Winterfell. And I am crying because this kraken is going to die very far from the sea, but I guess he is at peace with that. Bran finally admits to a limit to his knowledge- that which has not been tried, the dragonfire. So that’s the plan, and everyone’s hoping for the best, and really just assuming the worst.

Afterward, Tyrion offers Bran a comforting ear, and it seems to me he may be the only person so far to do so. His family has been struck so much by Bran’s transformation, his oddity, that they can’t grasp what he is, and don’t really want to be around him all that much when he can’t connect with him. Because he’s not really their brother anymore. So it was touching to see Tyrion reach out and simply offer to listen.

Missandei and Grey Worm make touching plans for after the war, to return to her native Naath. Which means he’ll probably die, because there is nothing good in this damned world. Their recurring music is up there as some of the most lovely music Djwadi has composed for the show, and it always makes me ache. They’re such an underrated couple. I hope they live, and escape Westeros.

It absolutely warms the cockles of my Watchers heart to see Sam, Jon and Edd standing for one last watch on a wall- Winterfell but still. (Oh, and Ghost for people who are into that sort of thing.) Another “They’ll be safe down in the crypt” mention. The more they say it, the more it sounds like a dirty lie. Sam defends his fighting abilities (including book-stealing among his street cred is flawless), and we get a shout-out to Pyp and Grenn. I love my Night’s Watch fellas. The shields that guard the realms of men, doing so one more time on this final night.

Hound Arya

A fireside chat gang forms, with Tyrion and Jaime initially talking about how much has changed from their simpler but lonelier days. And then they’re joined by friends- Pod and Brienne- by the fire. These outcasts have a crew.

And then Davos, and Tormund come along, with Tormund picking up on the vibe between Jaime and Brienne.  Perceiving a romantic competition between himself and Jaime, the wildling postures hilariously with an absurd giant-suckling story that is just what everyone needs when they’re about to face the undead en masse.

Arya and the Hound have a slightly warmer moment on the walls, sharing a drink. She questions his presence in the North, fighting for good. He seems to resent the implication that he’s never fought for anyone but himself before- because he fought for her. He’s got you there, Arya! Beric interrupts the nice moment, and apologizes for the Gendry-kidnapping thing. I honestly expected her to stab him in the eye then. But she didn’t, go figure. The Hound forestalls one of Beric’s trademark velvety-voiced religious lectures by threatening to throw him over the wall.

Gendry Arya kiss

Arya decides to not spend her possible final moments with two miserable old dudes when she can spend her final moments with one fineass young one. Gendry delivers the custom weapon she ordered and she is pleased with his workmanship, among other things. He reveals his royal bastard heritage and Arya finds out about the close Melisandre encounter, quizzing him on his sexual past. She is persistent, in more ways than one. Arya and Gendry get busy. He sees her scars, but she doesn’t explain. He can take his own pants off.

I am of two minds here. One, I am delighted. Get it, Arya. Get all of it. I love the way he looks at her in awe. Two, I am terrified because when people are happy on Game of Thrones they are generally miserable or dead shortly thereafter.

Brienne knight

In less sexy camaraderie times, the fireside chat gang contemplate the irony of fighting for Winterfell when at one time, they all fought the Starks. Brienne’s lack of knighthood comes up and she’s terrible at pretending she doesn’t want it. Jaime gets right to rectifying that and knights Brienne, as a Knight of the Seven Kingdoms.

It’s not raining on my face, I’m fucking crying okay. Remember how everyone mocked and hated Brienne for wanting to play with the boys? Now she is accepted as she is by the people that matter to her. The knighthood is a technicality, but coming from Jaime, it’s a beautiful one that matters to her. So she accepts the title gracefully.

lyanna mormont season 8 episode 2
Outside Lyanna Mormont and Jorah have words. He wants her to hide in the crypts. You know what I think by now. She politely tells her cousin where to stick it. But good luck anyway, cuz.

Sam presents Jorah with the Tarly family Valyrian steel sword Heartsbane because it’s a generous gesture, and as Sam wisely notes he can’t do jack shit with this sword anyway. Valyian steel is very handy up against a White walker. Jorah just leveled up, my friends. This might also be a way of alleviating guilt too, because he stole the sword and then his family died. I wonder if Heartsbane now feels exactly like that- literally, “heart’s bane.” He no longer needs to carry it with him.

Tyrion Lannister Season 8 802

Tyrion asks for a song at the fireside, and wouldn’t you know it, Pod knows one. It helps that Daniel Portman (Pod) has a great singing voice. As Pod sings a Westeros folk song, we see scenes from people hunkering down for the night. Sam, Gilly and little Sam…Sansa and Theon sharing a meal…Arya looking inscrutably grim as Gendry sleeps next to her…Grey Worm kissing Missandei goodbye…Jorah saddling up, and finally Daenerys finding Jon in the crypts.

“Jenny of Oldstones”

High in the halls of the kings who are gone
Jenny would dance with her ghosts
the ones she had lost
and the ones she had found
and the ones who had loved her the most
the ones who’d been gone for so very long
she couldn’t remember their names
they spun her around on the damp oldstones
spun away all her sorrow and pain
and she never never wanted to leave
never wanted to leave
never wanted to leave
never wanted to leave
never wanted to leave
never wanted to leave…”

The song ends, and we see Jon is ready to tell Daenerys the truth. He points out the statue of Lyanna Stark, and she acknowledges the mixed reviews of Rhaegar, but Jon gives her the true story right away. R+L=J, and Ned’s not the father, Maury. Your boyfriend is your nephew, and a legit heir to the Iron Throne.

Dany smartly points out that having the only people who can back up your story being your brother and your best friend? That’s a little fishy.

Jon, this is where you tell her quickly you don’t want the throne, and that you just want her.

But… the horns are sounding, and it’s time. War has come, and the dead have arrived at Winterfell.

Courtesy of HBO (5)


Obligatory rock star version of Jenny’s song!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eTa1jHk1Lxc]

Stray Thoughts

A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms: Also the title of the book of “Dunk and Egg” stories. George RR Martin has revealed that the extraordinarily tall Dunk is an ancestor of Brienne.

Jenny of Oldstones: Always great to hear a song from the books. Loved the Daniel Portman version, and the Florence cover is interesting too!

Speeches for Sam: No one writes Sam as well as Cogman. The premiere was great for Sam, but so was this one. 2/2 for season 8 so far for John Bradley.

Gendrya: I’m sure some people will be having a heart attack over Arya having a sex scene but she’s 18 on the show (and Maisie Williams in her twenties). They’re a cute couple who care about each other. I’m bored in advance with the inevitable fandom discourse.

We Need To Talk About the Crypts: Did we need to belabor the point THAT much? I get that foreshadowing is a thing. But…still.

Pacing: There was some odd pacing issues in the episode where it felt like it needed breathing room in places early on, but then later on it worked much better.

Overall? 8/10. Some major high points, and more place setting for the big battle to come. Are you all ready?

The post Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 2 “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms” Recap appeared first on Watchers on the Wall.

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Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 2 Open Chat, with Night’s Cast Livestream!

lyanna mormont season 8 episode 2

Game of Thrones Season 8, Episode 2

Writer: Bryan Cogman
Director: David Nutter
Runtime: 58 minutes
Content Warnings: TV-MA: Adult Content, Adult Language, Brief Nudity
Video Preview: Season 8 Episode 2 Trailer

Join us now for live discussion, filled with hopes and predictions, in advance of tonight’s episode, with the Night’s Cast:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QPM6aIIBkk4?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent&w=700&h=424]

For those new to Watchers on the Wall or needing a refresher on the guidelines, here they are!

Please use spoiler coding when discussing ASOIAF/book or filming spoilers- any material that has not aired or been discussed on Game of Thrones. Please do not post extensive spoilers in this Open Chat! Instructions on coding/showing/hiding spoilers are found at the top of the Comments section.

Spoiler coding is required in the Open Chat post prior to the episode official airing (9PM EDT tonight!). We are aware that some material has leaked today online. We ask that fans use consideration for your fellow viewers- please cover and label your spoilers appropriately. After the episode has aired, you don’t have to cover spoilers from the episode anymore!

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Village Set in Construction in Northern Ireland; New Game of Thrones Prequel Set?

Arya and Sandor ride through the war-torn countryside in Season 4, Episode 1

Arya and Sandor ride through the war-torn countryside in Season 4’s “Two Swords”

Last week we reported on the immense new set in construction on Titanic Studios for the prequel pilot set thousands of years before Game of Thrones, as the Long Night first fell over the world and the living had to wage a War for the Dawn against the dead. Today, we show you what could be a new set in construction for this new show…

Edgar England just sent us these photos of a new set in construction that could be destined for Jane Goldman’s Game of Thrones prequel pilot currently in pre-production:

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

The so-called “Hidden Village of Galboly” is in County Antrim, which may ring a bell, as there you’ll find Magheramorne Quarry (where the sets for Castle Black, the Battle of the Blackwater, and Hardhome stood), Shane’s Castle (Winterfell’s crypts), Ballintoy Harbour (Pyke’s Lordsport), and many more Northern Irish Thrones locations. Galboly itself has been in Game of Thrones before, in seasons five and six, as Runestone. Though we don’t yet know if this is truly a Game of Thrones prequel set, it’ll be right at home if it is.

The Galboly set depicts a simple village with small houses clearly modelled after the actual ruins of the real-life village we can see in the background of the second photo. It’d look pretty idyllic, if not for one of the structures being marked as a “burnt out building.” It wouldn’t be Game of Thrones without war ravaging the innocent countryside.

The post Village Set in Construction in Northern Ireland; New Game of Thrones Prequel Set? appeared first on Watchers on the Wall.

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Check out the newest CultureFly Game of Thrones Subscription Box, featuring the Great Battles of Westeros!

GameofThrones Culture Fly Box

CultureFly is back just in time for the final season of Game of Thrones with a new assortment of premium collectibles in their quarterly Game of Thrones Premium Subscription Box. Game of Thrones Box IV features the Great Battles of Westeros. If you missed previous boxes or our reviews- CultureFly puts out a collection of officially licensed limited edition items in a special subscription box for fans every quarter, with only 5000 boxes in each batch. There are usually some pretty interesting pieces of merch that we’re happy to show you all. This week, we’ve received the new Battles box from CultureFly to preview, so we’re diving in to check it out!

What do we think? Going piece by piece…

The Great House Sigil Throw Blanket: Super soft and pretty. I love the bright variety of colors, and I’m a sucker for classic sigil designs. It has all the great houses of Westeros, and I’m a lap blanket hoarder, so I’m sold.

House Targaryen Sigil Banner PinHouse Targaryen Sigil Banner Enamel Pin: This pin is a continuation of CultureFly’s ongoing series of sigil banner pins. As we mentioned before, the banner pins are huge, approximately 4″ by 2″ and probably not the easiest pieces to wear on a day to day basis. At a con when you’re not interested in subtlety, go for it! They’re more for collecting, I would say, as the standing case they come in, plus the plastic container, can serve as a display case if you want to view them as mini-banners rather than as functional pins. It’s certainly well-made, with the Targaryen house motto of “Fire & Blood” in addition to the dragon sigil.

The Targaryen Sigil LED Lamp: This took a little bit of setup but it’s a cool little piece. I’d never have thought of purchasing it on my own, to be honest, but I like it. The black base supports a clear etched version of the Targaryen dragon sigil with flames rising from it. Lit up, it’s a nice effect and a unique piece of merch. Between this and the banner pin, it makes it a House Targaryen-heavy box, but since we’re living in the khaleesi’s world, I suppose that’s not always bad. We know Jon Snow would be buying it!

CultureFly Content

An official pic of the contents of the Great Battles of Westeros Subscription Box IV
Photo: CultureFly Instagram

Battle of Blackwater Glow-in-the-Dark T-Shirt: This T-shirt is honestly just as vibrant as it appears in the photo above. I knew what the design was going to be a graphic of, pulling it out of the box and spying a corner of fabric, when I saw just a bit of the color. So they pretty much nailed the explosion of wildfire on the Blackwater. The shirts from CultureFly are unisex and when you order a box, you can choose your size XS-3XL.

Red Wedding dinner platesThe Red Wedding Plate Set: I cracked up laughing when I unpacked this set. This is the kind of sick humor I’m here for. The four-pack of plates show the house sigils for Houses Stark, Bolton, Lannister and Frey, the families involved in the notorious Red Wedding massacre. They’re on the small size to be considered dinner plates and not made of the sturdiest material. I would consider these to be decorative more than anything, and put them up for display. Like your grandma’s commemorative plates, you know.

Battle of the Bastards Magnetic Bulletin Board: The bulletin board has a slight imperfection in that the writing utensil that comes with it was broken, and the magnet needed to keep the utensil sticking to the board has fallen out completely. So that bit is worthless. That said, the rest of the board is awesome and I already took it to work because I love it. The board resembles the shield Jon Snow grabbed at the end of the Battle of the Bastards, with the House Mormont bear sigil. The message board comes with three dart-like arrows with magnets for tips. The magnet-arrows work great for keeping messages stuck to the board. So I just use the board for sticky messages and the like. And throw magnet darts at it when I feel like it. Screw the writing utensil.

Anyway, if you like what you see, swing by CultureFly.com to sign up today- it’s $49.99 per box (quarterly), and usually well worth it for the fun and the unique surprises that turn up on your doorstep every few months. It always puts a smile on my face.

The post Check out the newest CultureFly Game of Thrones Subscription Box, featuring the Great Battles of Westeros! appeared first on Watchers on the Wall.

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On the Fandom Road: What is Dead May Never Die

TheonSansawall

Answering the question “how’d you get into Game of Thrones?” is a two-part process for me. There’s recounting how I started reading the books and watching the show, which is quite simple: I saw a copy of A Game of Thrones in my university bookstore freshman year and thought, “Well, if this is popular I don’t want to miss out.”

Then there’s explaining how I came to be a fan site-contributing, convention-attending, Ballintoy Harbour-visiting diehard. This takes a bit longer. It’s also an infinitely more personal story to divulge because I can’t honestly discuss my origin as a Game of Thrones fan without also addressing mental illness. The two topics are, for me, inextricably linked. I wouldn’t be a contributor to Watchers on the Wall, a panelist at Con of Thrones or a friend to so many wonderful Game of Thrones nerds if I weren’t also mentally ill. Life’s funny, isn’t it?

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My beloved Ballintoy Harbour

When I started reading A Song of Ice and Fire and watching Game of Thrones my freshman year of college, I liked it. I appreciated the moral ambiguity and I thought the subversion of fantasy tropes was clever. Tyrion was my favorite character. However, for a variety of reasons I didn’t reach A Dance With Dragons and season 4 until my senior year by which time my mental health had deteriorated.

Now, this is an article about my love of Game of Thrones, not my brain chemistry. However, to properly illustrate why the events of A Dance With Dragons and season 4 impacted me the way they did, I should elaborate on what I mean by “deteriorated.”

I’d been on medication and in therapy for depression and anxiety since high school but college exacerbated my symptoms hundredfold and none of my old coping mechanisms worked anymore. By senior year I was crying in class and having panic attacks regularly. On one memorably bad afternoon, I arrived at my university’s counseling center in hysterics, holding onto the walls for support (I’d damn near crawled across campus to get there) and told the first counselor who could see me that I was having a nervous breakdown and wanted to be hospitalized.

The counselor told me that “nervous breakdown” isn’t a technical diagnosis but rather an umbrella term for when psychological problems render someone unable to function. I said, “Yeah, okay … that’s me right now” and that I felt like I had my hand pressed to a hot stove every second of every day, with no chance of reprieve until graduation. The counselor was not unsympathetic but explained that I was too lucid to be hospitalized. She wished me luck. “Just keep your hand on that stove,” she told me.

All of this is to explain why Reek’s storyline in A Dance With Dragons and season 4 struck a chord with me. It’s an unusual plotline to find comforting, I’ll admit, but sometimes it’s vindicating to see elements of your own experience reflected in someone else, even if it’s disturbing. Suffering hadn’t made Theon Greyjoy compassionate like Daenerys or witty like Tyrion. It had made him pathetic. I could relate. But it hadn’t killed him. And if Reek could scrape through, so could I.

Months later, I graduated college (somehow or other) and returned to my parents’ home burned out in most respects but full of Game of Thrones fervor and excited to funnel that energy into features for The Mary Sue. Then The Mary Sue announced that it would no longer be covering Game of Thrones after the events of season 5.

I thought, “Well, that’s awful timing” and looked up Game of Thrones fan sites that I could contribute to instead. I found Watchers on the Wall and the rest is history.

Looking back over the four years since I sent Sue that fortuitous e-mail, I realize it’s impossible to overstate how much Game of Thrones has impacted my life. It turned fandom into a communal experience for me. Through Watchers on the Wall, Con of Thrones and the Burlington Bar I’ve met and befriended so many people who are just as moved by Game of Thrones as I am.

That sense of connection proved a literal lifesaver as – wouldn’t you know it – my depression and anxiety did not go away after college. In some respects they got worse as it was not until postgraduate life that I experienced serious suicidal ideations and started scratching the skin off my forearms with my fingernails. I like to think that if I hadn’t had Game of Thrones I would have found something else to fixate on but, the way things happened, it was Game of Thrones and its fandom that I clung to, to get by.

There are far worse coping mechanisms.

In talking with other mega-fans I realized that I was not the only one drawn to Game of Thrones for deeply personal reasons. I remember chatting with the regular Burlington Bar crew about favorite characters and scenes. I told them I relate to Theon Greyjoy and, instead of getting a raised eyebrow or a “who’s that, again?” I got an “ohhhhh c’mere,” and a hug.

Looking forward, I admit the prospect of facing life after Game of Thrones is a little scary. It’s provided a framework and a support system for so long, I know its absence will be sorely felt. At the same time, though, confronting the end makes me realize just how far I’ve come and how grateful I am to Game of Thrones and its fandom for what they’ve given me.

I’m in such a better place than I was when Game of Thrones first entered my life. I haven’t self-harmed or thought about killing myself in nearly a year (there’s no way to word that that doesn’t sound a little funny). I’m working towards getting my massage therapy license (so my undergraduate education really can go fuck itself). I have people I care about who care about me. I’m finally starting to live a life I want to live and I largely have Game of Thrones and its fandom to thank for getting me this far. So, cheers, guys.

Don’t die so far from the sea.

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Are Jon and Dany Doomed in Season 8 of Game of Thrones?

Jon Daenerys Season 7 707

At the end of Game of Thrones season seven, the collective wish of the fandom was granted and Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen got down and busy with each other. However, that moment of passion on the boat with a Kit moon was undercut by events in Winterfell: Bran Stark and Samwell Tarly discovered Jon Snow was neither a Snow nor a Jon, but actually Aegon Targaryen, son of Rhaegar and Lyanna, and the nephew of the woman with whom he was currently wrapped up in bed. What this tells us, from the very start of their relationship, is that Jon and Dany may be doomed as a couple.

It’s not the ‘Targaryen’ part that may stand in the way. Targaryens are well known to be incestuous, going back to Aegon the Conqueror, who married both his sisters. The Mad King Aerys and Queen Rhaella were brother and sister. Daenerys herself thought all her life she would be married to her elder brother Viserys until she was sold to Khal Drogo. Although the Andal Faith of the Seven had significant problems with this practice, the Targaryen monarchs Jaeherys I and Queen Alysanne hammered out a truce that allowed them to continue their ways in violation of the Faiths ban on incest. This was termed “Targaryen Exceptionalism” in the recent book Fire and Blood, basically that the Targaryens are so different normal rules don’t apply. Or more accurately, dragons are very capable of burning Oldtown to the ground and the Faith enjoyed living.

Daenerys Season 1 101

The main issue here is that, as soon as Jon and Dany get together, the writers of the show introduce a problem with their relationship. From a story perspective, what the show is telling us is that there will be no honeymoon for them. Their relationship will be one of Romeo and Juliette, star crossed lovers trying to stay together while the rest of the world is trying to tear them apart. The first hint of this was Tyrion frozen at their door with a look of deep concern on his face. But the writers haven’t stopped there.

“Winterfell”, the season eight premiere, opens with Jon and Dany riding up the Kingsroad to Winterfell with their two armies in what should be a moment of celebration for the Northerners. Cold death is marching down from the broken Wall, and two massive armies from the South with two full-grown dragons have arrived. And instead, the roads are lined with glaring, visibly unhappy people. Not a smiling face except for that little boy running through the crowd and climbing a tree to see better and, of course, Arya smiling at the dragons and her long lost crush Gendry. But no one is happy Jon and Dany are together, least of all the Northern lords.

Even before the whole realm learns that the crown prince of the Seven Kingdoms is alive and well, Jon has major problems in his own house. Giving up the crown the North gave him and submitting to another Targaryen has made House Glover abandon their cause and march home. Lord Yohn Royce, who commands the Knights of the Vale in Robin Arryn’s stead, is shooting daggers at Jon and everyone associated with Daenerys. Lyanna Mormont is openly speaking out against Jon’s abdication. The alliance he needs to defend Winterfell is telling him he should abandon her, or at least pick the crown he threw at Dany’s feet back up. What we are being told in very stark terms is that no one wants them together, or at least not without Jon being her equal.

Varys Tyrion Lannister Davos Seaworth Season 8 801

Luckily, their triad of wise old guys in Varys, Tyrion, and Davos have a solution. As they look at the lovey-dovey couple from the ramparts, Davos suggests that they marry:

On the off chance we survive the Night King, what if the Seven kingdoms for once in their whole shit history were ruled by a just woman and honorable man?

This would go some way towards healing the wounded pride of the North. No one is quite sure what Jon is to Daenerys at the moment. Is he her Warden of the North? Her vassal? Her lover? Her fuckboi? A marriage between them would make Jon the Queen’s royal consort, securing that the North has a stake in the crown going forwards. This match would also make Jon’s “siblings” (cousins) a route towards power in the realm. Political marriages afterwards could smooth over the whole “gave up his crown” thing.

Unfortunately, as Varys says in the episode:

Respect is how the young keeps us at a distance, so we don’t remind them of an unpleasant truth… Nothing lasts.

Varys is unfortunately very wise in this observation. The most stable powerful couple in Targaryen history was King Jaeherys I and Queen Alysanne who ruled the realm as partners for decades. Yet, even within their marriage, problems raged over matters of succession and Jaeherys’ lack of respect for his daughters’ abilities and ambitions. The couple went through what are amusingly termed the “Quarrels”, which is a nice way of saying Alysanne was tired of his nonsense and twice packed up and left Jaeherys for two years at a time. Jon and Dany are in the honeymoon phase of their relationship, when everything is bright and exciting and new between them. The real issues that plagues every couple haven’t shown up yet, although it awaits them.

Jon Snow Samwell Tarly Sam Crypts Lyanna Stark Rhaegar Targaryen Revelation 801 Season 8

Jon and Dany face a much more pressing issue, though. Samwell Tarly informed Jon that he’s supposed to be Aegon VI of House Targaryen, the legal heir to the Iron Throne over Daenerys. Not only that, Samwell delivered this news by first telling Jon that Dany killed Sam’s father Randyll and brother Dickon Tarly by burning them alive. Sam is not just pushing Jon to take his claim seriously and rule over Dany, he’s making it a moral issue. Sam’s message is that Daenerys is a bad person, an unjust morally bankrupt ruler, someone that will do horrible things to the Seven Kingdoms if she takes control. And more than that, Sam is putting his friendship with Jon the line by making him choose between the loyalty he feels towards his best friend and fair rule he learned from Ned Stark against the love Jon finally feels again after his tragic loss of Ygritte.

This kind of persuasion has worked before in Westeros, particularly in the Targaryen family. They’ve had two full-scale civil wars known as the Dance of the Dragons and the Blackfyre Rebellions, and both started with conversations exactly like the one between Sam and Jon. The Dance was between the long-acknowledged heir to King Viserys I, Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen, and her half brother Prince Aegon. That Aegon, just like our current one, was not interested in the Iron Throne. Rhaenyra had been the heir for years, and while they never had a good relationship, Aegon was content to let her take the throne. Though accounts dispute the exact reasons for why Aegon changed his mind, the most plausible is that his mother Queen Alicent Hightower and Lord Commander of the Kingsguard Criston Cole argued that, should Rhaenyra take the throne, she would certainly execute Aegon and his mother and brothers to secure her claim. They argued that Rhaenyra was an evil, hateful woman who cheated on her husband and would be a morally bankrupt queen. Sound familiar?

And then there’s Daemon Blackfyre. His father, Aegon the Unworthy, had Robert Baratheon levels of bastard children across the Seven Kingdoms and on his deathbed legitimized them all. His only acknowledged true-born son Daeron was always careful to be kind and generous to Daemon, and there was no real quarrel between the half-brothers. Daemon was given basically all he wanted including holdings, money, and the ability to build a castle. Yet, there was a snag. Daeron had taken Brynden Rivers, another bastard of Aegon (and, in the books, later the Three-Eyed Crow,) into his confidence, enraging Brynden’s chief rival and half-brother Aegor Rivers. Aegor, along with others like Quentyn Ball, pushed Daemon to take the Iron Throne from King Daeron for their own personal reasons. Again, like we’re seeing from Sam here, Daemon was pressured into pushing his claim not out of a just cause but because those whispering in the ears of power had their own problems with the King.

Daenerys Jon Drogon Rhaegal 801 Winterfell Season 8

Two Targaryens, each with dragons and competing claims to the same seat of power, have been a problem before. And that is what the showrunners are telling us with the situations they have crafted and the conversations being held around Jon and Daenerys. All the world is against them already, and it’ll only get worse if the rest of the Lords find out who Jon is and push him to take power like happened to Aegon II and Daemon Blackfyre before him. And even if Jon, Samwell, and Bran keep their secret to themselves, there’s a very good chance in the coming episode that Jon will be found out.

When Jon got on Rhaegal’s back and flew around Winterfell, the aforementioned trio of Davos, Tyrion, and Varys all saw him. And between Varys and Tyrion you have two the most knowledgeable minds on the history of the Seven Kingdoms, Targaryens, and dragons in particular. In the past, Targaryens had many problems with bastards and pretenders trying to press their claims as the true Blood of the Dragon. A common way of deciding if they were legitimate or not was letting the dragons judge them. If the claimant could mount a dragon and not die horribly in the process, they were deemed true children of Valyria. This is something that Tyrion, who has read every book on dragons and dreamed of having his own since he was a child, will certainly notice and begin to wonder about. Varys as well. And perhaps even Davos. When he was learning to read Princess Shireen Baratheon would often tell him about the Dance of the Dragons where this very concept of dragon riding proving Targaryens was a key point.

As well, tensions are likely to only increase within Winterfell in the coming episode. Not only are the White Walkers bearing down on them, but as Sansa pointed out there’s not enough in the stores to feed the combined forces for very long. Jon may have given up his crown, but he hasn’t given up how much he cares about the Northerners. If they begin to starve, he’s likely to take their side over Daenery’s troops, especially with all the Northern Lords pushing him.

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And that is all even before the two deal with the revelation that they are aunt and nephew. While this could perhaps not be as terrible a reality for Dany, it will certainly not be an easy thing for Jon personally. Also, Dany has changed a lot since she was under Viserys’ thumb, so she may not be as accepting as she once was. Beyond the incest, Jon’s whole identity and relationships with the family he grew up with are going to be thrown into chaos. He wasn’t raised with the idea that he might marry a close family member. Even among the Northerners, who have very isolated homes and castles, marriages between first cousins are rare. Ygritte showed in A Storm of Swords (Jon III) that even the wildlings and their society of very few rules abhor what Jon’s heart wants:

He’s of my village. You know nothing, Jon Snow. A true man steals a woman from afar, t’ strengthen the clan. Women who bed brothers or fathers or clan kin offend the gods, and are cursed with weak and sickly children. Even monsters.

These intertwining and tough questions about what Jon and Dany will do in the coming episodes are neither easy nor simple to parse. The best way to unite their forces would be a marriage, but it would have to be one built on deceit, as all would object due to them being close relatives, and one that could easily crumble if anyone, particularly someone like Bran or Sam, lets Jon’s true identity slip. Dany and her advisors may even consider Jon, who recently proved himself a dragonrider, a major threat to her reign. From what’s seen in the trailer of the two in front of Lyanna’s statue, it appears that Jon may tell Dany, too.

The significance of being in front of Jon’s true mother, Lyanna Stark, can’t be overstated either. This set up, of a doom romance that tore a kingdom apart, is exactly the same story of Jon’s parents Rhaegar and Lyanna. And the same for Jon’s cousin Robb Stark who married Talisa instead of the Frey bride he was promised to. And we know how that one ended at the Red Wedding. The theme of characters following their hearts rather than their heads is a major one in Game of Thrones and A Song of Ice and Fire, and the consequences of that are often tragic and bloody. Can their budding romance survive history’s examples and every force pushing and pulling them? It seems to me about as likely as the White walkers turning around and marching home declaring their invasion a huge prank. But I’ve been surprised before.

The post Are Jon and Dany Doomed in Season 8 of Game of Thrones? appeared first on Watchers on the Wall.

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From the Maester’s Desk: A Brief History of Swords and their Role in Season 8

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There’s a saying around these parts that ‘what is dead may never die’ and with the final season already upon us the maester decided to pen a bit more words before we say goodbye to Game of Thrones as we know it. Today’s lesson: swords. Valyrian steel swords are the best weapons the living have against the dead, so what better moment than now, before the battle is done, to go through them, and a few other named swords as well.

Named swords (and other kind of weapons) can be found in both fantasy and history. Take Excalibur as an example, the legendary sword from the legends of King Arthur -which may be even more popular than the king himself. Or Sting, the Elvish blade that belonged to Bilbo Baggins (and then Frodo) in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.

Why would people name their swords, though? To be fair, naming inanimate objects (like ships, guitars or even cars) isn’t that uncommon. But when it comes to weapons, there can be a number of different reasons.

A well-manufactured sword wasn’t cheap. Bear in mind that making one can take a lot of time, especially if it’s a labor of love. A sword is a unique kind of weapon – hardly just a piece of pointy metal. It comes in a variety of shapes and designs (two-handed swords such as the claymore, double-edged swords like the greatswords or the longswords, edgeless such as the rapier, curved like the falchion or the katana), each with its own traits.

As an audience, we’re used to see brief montages of molten metal being poured into a cast, then some hammering here and there and ta-da, the sword is done.

A standard, cheap sword could be ready in a matter of days, but a more ornate one could take weeks – at best. It’s not just a butter knife, after all.

Swordmaking was an art, so it stands to reason that a good sword couldn’t be made by any blacksmith. You’d need a swordsmith, someone with the skill to not just shape the iron into a steel blade that is hard enough – but resilient and flexible as well, so they can bend but not break.

But most importantly, a swordsmith needed to know how to temper a blade. Back then there was no way to measure time or temperature like we can nowadays – no clocks or thermometers of any kind. So he had to rely on his experience and trust his instincts.

No easy task, as one mistake may possibly ruin a good blade, and then all that work would go to waste.

And that’s not even half of the process, since the blade would later need to be quenched (in water, oil or brine) and then polished, sharpened and decorated (if requested by the client).

Once done with all that, the blade still needed a hilt. And not just any hilt, there were no “one size fits all” kind of hilt, oh no – it had to fit perfectly, so the blade could be useable. Hilts could be made of metal, hard wood or bone, and decorated by incrusting jewels in it, give the pommel a particular shape or etch patterns in the grip.

As it still happens with people who are good at their job, talented swordsmiths were recommended and thrived thanks to word of mouth. And swords, especially if custom-made, were among the most valuable things someone might have in the Middle Ages. So it’s no surprise that the people who owned a sword would want to call attention to them (especially if we’re talking about kings or skilled warriors).

Some historical swords survive to this day and are on display at museums, such as “Tizona”, which belonged to Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar (“El Cid”) or Charlemagne’s sword, “Joyeuse”. And mythical swords keep showing up in fiction and are sold as non-lethal replicas.

There are places like Toledo (in Spain) where you can find “Ice and Fire” swords, from both the novels and the TV show. And it’s in this case where arguably Arya got the last laugh, because Needle can be obtained by collectors but the Hound’s sword is nowhere to be seen (his helmet is another story, but alas, it’s not a sword).

Just a handful of (named) swords have appeared in Game of Thrones, and even less of them remain in play. No doubt that they’ll prove valuable in the battle against the Army of the Dead, so I’d expect to see them along with their owners.

But which ones are they? Here’s a bit of a refresher:

ICE

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Eddard’s sword, Ice, is no more. But the Valyrian steel greatsword belonged to House Stark for hundreds of years (it comes from the Age of Heroes! Perhaps we’ll see it in the prequel?) before being melted by Tywin Lannister in order to make two other swords.

Greatswords were the largest weapons of their kind, and couldn’t be wielded with only one hand, since they were both long and heavy. They were as big as a person, so GRRM’s description of Ice (as taller than Robb) was pretty accurate.

Despite Valyrian steel is no common steel (it’s much lighter and also sharper, and doesn’t need to be sharpened since it won’t lose its edge), George himself suggests that it’s not likely Ned ever used Ice in battle, since it was so large and heavy (remember Theon had to hold it for Ned to be able to remove it from its scabbard!), which would have made him slow and clumsy.

So it seems it was more of a family heirloom reserved for special occasions (beheadings!) than a sword used for actual combat.

NEEDLE

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Arya’s weapon, according to actual medieval weapon experts, is more similar to a foil than a medieval weapon, since it’s not a full blade and its most important part was -you guessed it- the pointy end. Although it was used as a practice weapon for small-swords (the weapon of choice between mid 17th and late 18th century) you just needed to take away the protection to make it sharp and dangerous.

Much like Syrio Forel taught Arya about the water dance, the foil wasn’t used to hack, slash or hammer the opponent. It required near-perfect accuracy, since the user would need to target the vital organs of the enemy.

Duel weapons weren’t meant to be used in warfare (they were more useful as sidearms, like a bayonet), but they were highly effective in one-on-one fights, and they were also used as status symbols, not too different to, say, a top hat. If you wanted to look elegant and/or important, carrying a duel sword with you was a must.

Of course, that’s not the case nowadays, though small swords are still part of uniforms in both military academies or institutions.

LONGCLAW

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Longclaw is a bastard sword, which is either ironic or appropriate depending on how you look at it.

Bastard swords were in the middle of the road between greatswords (such as Ice) and longswords (like both Oathkeeper and Widow’s Wail). That’s one of the reasons this weapon got a name like that, since it couldn’t be categorized as one or the other.

The grip is long enough it can be held with two hands, but it’s not as heavy as a greatsword, which allows it to be used with one hand, no problem.

But what really makes it stand out from the other weapons in the show is the pommel, which looks like the head of Jon’s direwolf, Ghost. Originally a bear, Jeor Mormont had it replaced so the sword could be a present for his then personal steward.

It should be noted that pommels weren’t just decorative, they were meant to act as counterweights – a heavy pommel will result in a lighter tip, easier to maneuver, whereas a lighter pommel will have the opposite effect (but in that case the blade will hit harder). There wasn’t a blueprint for a “correct balance” since there could be different purposes for a blade.

A heavier tip would be useful to knock an opponent down with a strong enough blow, causing damage both to the body (and possibly the armor or chainmail) in the process. A forceful whack may also either break a shield or make the foe drop it.

On the other hand, a lighter tip was easier to direct to a vulnerable spot – and then thrust. Stick them with the pointy end.

Pommels doubled as weapons in their own right, too, as blunt instruments. Useful for striking enemies in weak spots – the face, for instance. It was a non-lethal (albeit painful) alternative to fell someone, unless the pommel was used to hit repeatedly, in which case things could get messy.

A lot of pommels were plain and round (or shaped like a pear of sorts), but some of them (like Jon’s) were unique, reflecting their owners’ beliefs or culture. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of different varieties and all of them tell different stories. We’ll soon get to see how Jon’s story will conclude – and I think the Night King may (or shouldn’t) not be too eager to get close to his valyrian steel blade.

OATHKEEPER / WIDOW’S WAIL

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Both Oathkeeper and Widow’s Wail are Valyrian steel longswords that were made from Ned Stark’s greatsword, Ice. The longsword got its namesake not for having a long blade, but a grip that was intended for two-handed use. Its purpose was to be a weapon for warfare, and were mostly used by full-plate armored knights.

Longswords have a great reach and were able to cut off limbs or heads with a single clean stroke. If used by a knight on horseback, the thrusting ability of the weapon became especially dangerous, being able to be lodged deep into the bodies of enemy combatants.

They were quick, reliable and strong weapons, useful both for the battlefield and one-on-one duels, which made them a standard military sword for at least a couple of centuries. By the late 15th century they started to decline, though, and became obsolete by the time the 16th century arrived, replaced by rapiers and broadswords, among other kinds of blades.

It’s safe to assume Oathkeeper will remain in Brienne’s hands, and the same can be said about Jaime and Widow’s Wail – though it’s gonna be interesting to see how the Kingslayer handles himself against the undead. Losing his right hand turned him into a mediocre fighter to say the least (he has received help by both Dickon and Bronn in battle), but he remains a brave warrior who’s willing to risk his skin in order to change the outcome of a fight – he did try to take Dany out even if it meant getting burned to a crisp by Drogon.

The name of Brienne’s sword perfectly sums her up – she’s loyal and determined and fulfilled his oaths to both Renly Baratheon and Catelyn Stark (which was quite satisfying to watch, considering Brienne’s quest in the novels has been unfortunate so far). Jaime’s weapon keeps the name Joffrey chose for it (“He really was a cunt”, in the words of the late Olenna Tyrell), which is a bit curious. Conscious choice to honor the memory of his deceased son? Or not enough interest to rename it? Be that as it may, it’s rather apt that, in a way, Ned’s sword is coming home at long last.

HEARTSBANE

heartsbane

The ancestral sword of House Tarly is a two-handed greatsword, a (seemingly) smaller one than Ice however, and thus easier to handle: Sam was able to remove it from its stand with a single hand!

As one of the few remaining Valyrian steel blades, it is sure to see battle against the Army of the Dead soon enough, which is yet another difference with the Stark ancestral sword, which was more of a ceremonial weapon than one designed for combat.

While Ned’s sword was relatively plain-looking, Heartsbane is richly decorated, its hilt depicting a hunting scene and the blade itself sporting a beautiful pattern. The prop makers really went to town with it, and it’s kind of a shame the camera just cannot pick up every detail.

Since Sam is not a fighter and we probably won’t see him riding into battle, he’ll give up the sword so someone else can use it. It’d be far too valuable an asset to waste. In the trailer, and the next episode preview, we see it’s Jorah he gives it to, appropriately.

Assuming Heartsbane doesn’t get lost (if, say, Jorah gets killed), then by the time all is said and done, it should return to Sam’s hands.

LIGHTBRINGER

lightbringer

It is possible that the show is done with Lightbringer – it was never given all that much attention to begin with, and once Stannis was out of the picture, the sword was gone as well. The legend of Azor Ahai could make its way to the final season if one of my theories regarding Melisandre proves to be correct, but I’m not sure the screenwriters will want to drop some more lore in what surely will be some action-packed episodes.

So why include Lightbringer at all? Well, it has to do with the “magic sword” theme, which I feel couldn’t be left out from the article.

Magic or legendary swords are a staple of the fantasy genre, there’s at least one in most popular written fiction. But they have their roots in real ancient history.

Much like in Game of Thrones, there were swords that passed down from generation to generation, and were kept as a symbol of status (especially if the sword was used in an important battle, killed many enemies or belonged to a famous warrior) and beloved family treasures.

And some of them were believed to hold a soul (or many souls) inside – it could be one of its own, its maker’s soul or the stolen spirits of its victims.

There were swords that were considered to be cursed or bloodthirsty, or even worse, possessed by a demon. It was up to the wielder to see if he was able to control such blades.

The story of Lightbringer in the Ice and Fire novels follows this well-established path, by describing how Azor Ahai’s sword was imbued with the soul of his wife Nissa Nissa after he drove the blade through her heart, turning it into a magic sword made of living fire.

Whether or not a variation of Azor Ahai’s legend will happen in the adaptation remains to be seen.


Hello again. It’s been a while.

Much like the Starks after retaking Winterfell from the Boltons, I feel happy to be back at writing about Game of Thrones. The show is about to complete the final lap, and the journey we started back in 2011 is coming to an end.

It’s both with a sense of excitement and curiosity that I’ll be finally be able to find out how my “Endgame” theories stack up against the final six episodes. I’m expecting to be wrong about a lot of things, but that’s part of the fun, to be surprised by the twists and turns of the narrative.

It’s going to be hard to say goodbye to the show, even if we still have two novels and a HBO prequel to look forward to. There’s nothing quite like it, and I’m confident David and Dan will stick the landing, thus cementing its place as one of the best TV series from our time. Surely not everyone will like the ending, but hopefully it’ll be satisfying for most fans.

But the epilogue is still some weeks away, and even after the credits roll for the last time, there’ll be still a lot to discuss and write about. I hope you enjoyed this new article and the ones that’ll follow, this time with a bit of historical flavor. 🙂

The post From the Maester’s Desk: A Brief History of Swords and their Role in Season 8 appeared first on Watchers on the Wall.

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“Game of Thrones” Season 8, Episode 2 Preview

Jaime Lannister Winterfell Trial 802 Season 8 Daenerys Targaryen Jon Snow Sansa Stark Tyrion Lannister Varys Missandei Jorah Brianne Davos

The second episode of Game of Thrones Season 8 is right around the corner! While it remains without a title for now, there is plenty of anticipation and fervor awaiting before the Battle of Winterfell arrives on our screens and doorsteps.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R6YCfVe4eR0?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent&w=700&h=424]

The first scene we see in the preview is that of Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), the infamous Kinglsayer, standing before the court at Winterfell. As expected, Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) is less than thrilled to see the sight of the man who had killed her father. This may perhaps be a bit of a misdirect as Daenerys is eager to not be her father, but meeting the man who had stabbed her father through the heart may nevertheless bring forth an emotional, trauma-imbued confrontation. It looks like only Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) may be happy to see his brother.

Sansa (Sophie Turner) and Daenerys may be finding common ground in not trusting Cersei (Lena Headey), which could signal an overcoming of hostilities between the two. It also suggests that the news of Cersei’s betrayal is now within the halls of Winterfell, which is probably not great news for Tyrion.

Sansa Stark 802 Season 8 2

Arya (Maisie Williams) voices her desire to see this new face of Death as the Winterfell preparations for battle fill the screen in quick edits. Jorah (Iain Glen) appears to be holding Samwell Tarly’s Valyrian steel sword, Heartsbane; Daenerys approaches a brooding Jon (Kit Harington) in the crypts beneath Winterfell, in a scene that could mean Daenerys is now also aware of Jon’s parentage; Arya loosens a bow and arrow in another echo to the series premiere; and last but not least, Tormund (Kristofer Hivju) announces that Winterfell has until sunrise, if that, to prepare for the Night King and the Army of the Dead.

Jorah Mormont Heartsbane Valyrian Steel Sword Season 8 802

What are your predictions for Episode 8.02? Who do you think will make it? How uncomfortable is Jaime’s first conversation with Bran (Isaac Hemsptead-Wright) going to be? Chime in below!

The post “Game of Thrones” Season 8, Episode 2 Preview appeared first on Watchers on the Wall.

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Binge Mode’s Jason Concepcion & Mallory Rubin Join Con of Thrones Guest Lineup!

Con of Thrones Binge MOde

Con of Thrones has announced an exciting addition to the Game of Thrones convention taking place on Nashville this upcoming July: The Ringer’s Binge Mode podcast!

Wonderful returning guests Jason Concepcion and Mallory Rubin will be in attendance for all three days of Con of Thrones 2019 and participate in a multitue of panels. They are the hosts of Binge Mode, which is not only the most-popular Game of Thrones podcast on the Apple Podcasts charts—it’s on the top 10 list of podcasts overall!

Binge Mode joins a growing guest lineup, such as other returning fan-favorite podcasts History of Westeros and A Storm of Spoilers, as well as Game of Thrones starring cast members Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime Lannister) and John Bradley (Samwell Tarly), both of whom will be attending the convention for the first time ever. And let’s not forget about the wolf dogs, with whom you’ll get the opportunity to take a photo!

Con of Thrones, the premier convention for fans of Game of Thrones and George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire, will take place in Nashville, Tennessee, at the Music City Center, on July 12–14. Tickets are still available at ConOfThrones.net/register!

Watchers on the Wall are proud to be the official programming partner for Con of Thrones, working with Mischief Management. Look for regular updates and additional info at the official Con of Thrones Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, with more to come in the near future. We hope we see you in Nashville this Summer!

The post Binge Mode’s Jason Concepcion & Mallory Rubin Join Con of Thrones Guest Lineup! appeared first on Watchers on the Wall.

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12 Things You Didn’t Know About The Kingsguard

The Kingsguard is a prestigious order that has been on going for hundreds of years. Their service is invaluable and has undeniably changed the course of history in Westeros. Here are fifteen facts about them that you may or may not know, but will certainly enjoy. Who Formed The Kingsguard? The Kingsguard was formed during […]

The post 12 Things You Didn’t Know About The Kingsguard appeared first on A Blog Of Thrones.

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Jon’s revelation explored, meaning behind White Walker symbol revealed by Game of Thrones Season 8 premiere writer Dave Hill

Lord Umber burning Winterfell episode

If you were wondering about what the Night King’s spiral-like symbols signifies, especially after its last startling appearance during the season eight premiere, the writer behind the episode is here to tell all—and it really appears to be all. Also, there’s that small matter of Jon learning the truth about his parents and royal status…

At the New York Post, Lauren Sarner interviews the writer behind “Winterfell”, Dave Hill, who admits “there’s always a lot of pressure” writing Game of Thrones, though it was especially challenging to write Jon learning the truth about his parentage:

“This scene was trickier than many because Sam is conveying information that we the audience already know, and that Jon has to hear pretty much in its entirety to get the full effect,” Hill explains. “But it’s tough to balance so much necessary exposition and rehashing (for the audience) with the emotional charge that makes the moment actually land with the audience. Luckily for me, John Bradley and Kit Harington could perform the words of a phonebook, and David Nutter would win an Emmy for directing it.”

Speaking of another key scene in “Winterfell”, Hill opens up about the spiral symbol we have seen the White Walkers use many times, though never as gruesomely as in Last Hearth. The symbol has been described before as a way to show they have a culture, distinguishing them from their mindless thralls, but there’s more to it than that:

“As we saw with Bran and the Three-Eyed Raven,” Hill begins, referring to one of the most consequential yet oft-overlooked visions in season six’s ‘The Door’, “The spiral pattern was sacred to the Children of the Forest, who created the Night King by sacrificing a captured man in a spiral ‘henge of stones.’ The Night King then adopted the symbol as a sort of blasphemy, like Satan with the upside-down cross.”

That’s simply fascinating. Honestly, I don’t know how it never occurred to me that recreating the Children’s Stonehenge-like art with body parts may have been a purposeful perversion instead of just an honest replica. Thankfully, others in the fandom have been more astute than me. In fact, Watchers on the Wall’s own contributor JoeMagician advanced this theory on his Youtube channel just a few days ago!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dTzXSKAhKBQ&w=700&h=394]

Before you go, be sure to check out JoeMagician’s whole video and to read Lauren Sarner’s complete, in-depth Dave Hill interview, which you can find here.

The post Jon’s revelation explored, meaning behind White Walker symbol revealed by Game of Thrones Season 8 premiere writer Dave Hill appeared first on Watchers on the Wall.

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Pilou Asbæk talks about Euron’s evolution, Bella Ramsey on the joy of shaming grown men, and Isaac Hemsptead Wright chats about growing up on Game of Thrones

Euron Greyjoy (Pilou Asbæk) unleashes his mad fury in season seven's "Stormborn"

Euron Greyjoy (Pilou Asbæk) unleashes his mad fury in season seven’s “Stormborn”

In recent interviews, Pilou Asbæk talked about what’s motivating Euron in season 8, Bella Ramsey reflected on Lyanna Mormont’s strength, and Isaac Hempstead Wright joked with Jimmy Kimmel about the the theory that Bran is the Night King.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Asbæk discussed the evolution of Euron Greyjoy and revealed that quite a lot of the differences between Euron in season 6 and 7 had to do with Asbæk’s increased creative input. For example, Euron was toned down considerably in the Kingsmoot from what had been originally planned.

“I had some great lines at the Kingsmoot that they took away,” he said. “I had some lines where he’s talking to Yara and then, there was like 20 more lines where he was being ruthless, where he was like doing a comedy show for the Iron Islands. And [David Benioff and Dan Weiss] were like, ‘This is too much.’

By contrast, in season 7 when Benioff and Weiss wanted to omit Euron’s “two good hands” line, Asbæk felt comfortable enough to fight to keep it.

“Because I had more confidence in season 7 and felt like I belonged more, I went to them like, ‘Guys, don’t take it away. I know exactly how to be this guy, he’s gotta be charming, he’s gotta be arrogant, he’s gotta look Jaime right in the eye and say it with the biggest fucking smile — because he’s an idiot and a prick and that’s what I like about the character,” he said.

Discussing Euron’s motivations this season, Asbæk doesn’t seem to think that Theon and Yara are really on their uncle’s radar.

“I don’t think Euron gives a shit [about them].” he said. “For Euron his main focus is power and Theon doesn’t have any. Yara and Theon are nothing to him. They’re not a concern.”

Cersei, on the other hand, is very much at the forefront of Euron’s mind.

“He thinks Cersei is sexy and he wants to be the king with her and wants to be on the Iron Throne,” he said. “Because what’s more sexy than a powerful lady? He wants to become the king of the Seven Kingdoms. He’s also blackmailing Cersei — if you want a fleet you gotta do stuff.”

As for Euron’s longevity … of course, Asbæk couldn’t disclose if, how or when Euron dies, but he did strongly hint that, whatever happens, Euron won’t go out quietly.

“My agent sent me a text that said the most likely character to die first is me,” he said. “So a lot of people are gonna lose money … I do some cool shit,” he said.

Lyanna Mormont 801 Season 8

Bella Ramsey, who plays Lyanna Mormont, recently spoke to The Cut about her fan favorite character.

“I wasn’t sure whether people would like her or not, because she’s quite a unique character. But I’m very glad and very grateful that people do like her,” she said. According to Ramsey, playing Lyanna really is as empowering as it looks.

“I think [I’ll miss] the opportunity to stand up in front of a load of grown men and shame them,” she said when asked what she’ll miss about Game of Thrones “I think playing confident characters also helps with your own confidence. Say you’re in a situation where you’re feeling anxious or nervous — you can become a character and work through it that way. I’ll miss that about her.”

When asked which character she’s rooting for the most (aside from her own, of course) Ramsey named Arya: “She’s little and powerful. There’s this great line from the show Matilda: ‘Even if you’re little, you can do a lot. You musn’t let a little thing like this stop you.’”

Fun fact, Kerry Ingram was one of the actresses who originated the role of Matilda in the West End. So, in a way, Ramsey just praised Arya with the wisdom of Shireen Baratheon.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IMdp6rgrruk?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent&w=700&h=424]

Lastly, 20-year old Isaac Hempstead Wright appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live to discuss what’s it’s like to have spent literally half his life on a hit HBO show.

Hempstead Wright could “neither confirm nor deny” the theory that Bran is the Night King (by all means, keep adding gasoline to that dumpter fire) and offered some insight (pun intended) into how he does that unsettling Three-Eyed Raven stare.

“I’m kind of getting good at this sort of intense stare but it’s actually aided by the fact that I’m completely blind when I’m on set. I don’t have glasses and I don’t have contact lenses.”

He also demonstrated his ability to do the warg-eyeroll sans CGI. It’s fun! Give it a look.

The post Pilou Asbæk talks about Euron’s evolution, Bella Ramsey on the joy of shaming grown men, and Isaac Hemsptead Wright chats about growing up on Game of Thrones appeared first on Watchers on the Wall.

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Game of Thrones Season 8, Episode 1 “Winterfell” Video Recap Roundup

Arya Jon Needle 801 Season 8

You’ve waited, and waited, and waited some more! But now that the season eight premiere is finally behind us, it’s time for your patented Watchers on the Wall Video Recap Roundup, featuring analyses, reviews, reactions and a few funny additions!

Kicking things off we have Westeros History, with an into almost as good as the show’s!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U8xRcwiQAR8?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent&w=700&h=424]

The ever lovin’ Ozzy Man with his take on our first episode!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bml7cgg9pAA?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent&w=700&h=424]

Some Smokescreen with their episode one breakdown.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UmLTUGGPm-Y?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent&w=700&h=424]

Got Academy get philosophical as they ask ‘who is the ruler?’

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WXHUNjkanPM?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent&w=700&h=424]

HappyCool with special guest reviewer Erik ‘Blackfyre’ Kluth

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U0Pqjvv8GrE?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent&w=700&h=424]

The smashing Rawrist with a premiere breakdown.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tnIMeZeTZik?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent&w=700&h=424]

Some Thrones Talk, courtesy of Collider.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CgIKvCoVYNI?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent&w=700&h=424]

And finally, of course, we have Dem Thrones!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DlkxWo4XYwA?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent&w=700&h=424]

We’ve also got some glorious reaction videos, like this one from Blind Wave:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o6558Fbk_E8?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&start=3070&wmode=transparent&w=700&h=424]

This cosplay-tacular one from The Normies:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rq7Gc9ni4jE?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent&w=700&h=424]

And, of course, all the awesome chaps at the Burlington Bar:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rc0AoeeUxPs?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent&w=700&h=424]

Last but not least, it’s not quite a recap, but a little animated story depicting the time David Benioff challenged Jason Momoa to the slap game. I think we can all guess the outcome…

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There’s also this wonderful (and unexpected) Game of Thrones collaboration with… Sesame Street, of all things! Did you want to see Elmo teach Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) and Cersei (Lena Headey) respect? Well, probably not, but I’m sure now you do:

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That should occupy your viewing schedule until the next episode, right?

Did I miss your favourite recap video? Sound off below!

The post Game of Thrones Season 8, Episode 1 “Winterfell” Video Recap Roundup appeared first on Watchers on the Wall.

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On the Fandom Road: The Writer and the Viper

Oberyn Ellaria

My journey with Game of Thrones began underneath a quiet tree at night, at the edge of the campus green. It was not as a grand of a tree as the Weirwood in the Winterfell courtyard, but it was quiet and pleasant. It was an odd moniker of a tree, a symbol between the wide open grass and the parking lot right next to it. It was the smokers’ tree, hovering above a bench perched precariously on the dirt ground. I didn’t smoke, but it was a place to be. I wanted to belong, perhaps.

On a quiet night, a couple of friends mentioned that they were going to go watch Game of Thrones. The title perked my ears, for it sounded like something I would enjoy just based on those words alone. My friends joked that it was a show full of people having sex and killing each other for power, and therefore I would enjoy it. I raised my eyebrows jokingly, walking into the second episode of the series with that description as my only context. I instantly fell in love with Arya. I wanted Sansa to stab Joffrey. I screamed internally as Lady was executed for the sake of the hideous Lannisters. I was in, hook, line, and sinker.

I binged the first season when it came out as a set and then I simply needed to know what happened next. Season two was not there yet, but the books were. I delved into A Song of Ice and Fire with relish, finding my takes on characters and their journeys divided between the two mediums. I preferred show Cersei to book Cersei but I found something deeper in book Tyrion than the show’s version, who was excellent in his own right. I threw A Storm of Swords across the room when Arya reached the Red Wedding. I got to the end of A Dance of Dragons and rolled my eyes audibly.

Sometimes I think about how much my life has changed since that moment in the auditorium. I was barely an adult then, having just turned eighteen. I was in my first year in college, far away from my family and basically unsure of pretty much anything. I graduated, went back to school because I wasn’t sure what to do, and then become an adult with a minutely paying job and an apartment. I am now a little bit more of an adult (not quite sure how much) and in law school. I gained several dear friends, lost some, and learned how to forge a more independent relationship with my family (still working on that one). I became a better writer. I really got into baking.

The most significant thing that happened to me during this Thrones era was my acceptance of my sexuality. It first hit me over the head when I was in fourth grade (his name was Gregory). It continued to hit me over the head and in my chest and in other parts until I was about twenty-three. I simply had to tell someone for otherwise it was going to burst out of my chest like wildfire. I texted a friend (whom I brought into the Thrones fandom, btw) and he responded with a “Oh, yeah, I thought so.” It perhaps felt a bit anti-climactic but it was affirming. People assumed and not everyone who did treated me with scorn and distaste.

The more I grew into the world, the more open I started to become about being gay. There was something about the necessity of it that is ever-present, never contained, eager to leap out of the closet. My interactions with the Thrones fandom increased substantially during this period. I talked to more and more fans as just a gay person. With every interaction where we simply talked, tweeted, or theorized at lengths in with the cast and crew of Watchers, it helped me become more comfortable in my own skin. It’s one thing to theoretically know that people can know a defining characteristic about you but not define you to by it. It’s another to find a community where you are able to experience exactly that.

And did I mention Oberyn? My beautiful pansexual hero, so crisply written on the page and brought to great life by Pedro Pascal. He was the absolute antithesis of everything I was taught someone like me was simply not allowed to be. He was brown and a hero. A warrior. Fiercely loyal. He was confident and even though his hubris caused his death, hubris was something queer characters of color are almost never allowed. He was open in his sexuality. The perils to that in the real world are obvious. He was in love, committed, but also open about wanting to be with others. For a world that deems such open sexuality with disparagement, Oberyn and Ellaria’s fierce ability to be in love and lust was important. To say that I was sad to see him die would be an understatement.

Game of Thrones and A Song of Ice and Fire had an intense impact on me as a writer. When the show first premiered, I was an eager writer but without a sense of voice. A part of that was not knowing who I was, so the writing often felt voiceless, listless. The words would appear on the page, on the screen, but they often seemed to be without a purpose. There were gorgeous scenes, scenes that I could see in my mind as painted across a vast canvas. But they seemed to lack a depth. How did characters grow? How did they learn and adapt while remaining true to themselves? What was poetic justice? What did it mean to love something but recognize when it is problematic? How do you retain on your focus on the stories that needed to be told?

I searched for the answers to those questions in both Game of Thrones and A Song of Ice and Fire and I became a richer writer for it. It didn’t really matter whether or not the answers were what I was looking for. The process was valuable and rewarding in and of itself. The process of analyzing, world-building, and character enrichment were what I was hopefully able to bring to my own writing. When I joined Watchers on the Wall as a features writer, I was thrilled that I would be able to dig deeper into the multiple layers of writing in the series, both on a plot and a character level. I gained a better sense of what it meant to be a writer creating a world, a reader looking into one, and the necessity of balancing both as I wrote my own novels into being.

The show is coming to an end. The books are still coming. And there will be more characters to know and fall in love with in spite of ourselves in the spinoffs to come. I hope to continue being on that journey with you and perhaps we can stop at the Inn at the Crossroads for a pint of ale and a lemoncake. Or two.

Valar Morghulis.

You can follow Akash Singh on Twitter at @AkashSmarts and starting May 15th, you can find his writings on akashjsaran.com.

The post On the Fandom Road: The Writer and the Viper appeared first on Watchers on the Wall.

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Fighting the Night King will be hard; coming together to do so might be harder

Sansa-Stark-Daenerys-Targaryen-Season-8-802

“The northmen are loyal to Jon Snow. Not to her. They don’t know her. The Free Folk don’t know her. I’ve been up here awhile and I’m telling ya, they’re as stubborn as goats. If you want their loyalty, you have to earn it.” —Davos Seaworth in “Winterfell”

With these words, Ser Davos encapsulated the political situation that the Stark/Targaryen coalition faced as it tried to prepare the North for an invasion by an enemy that comes out of the distant past, out of the songs and stories of old.

Daenerys’s problem is that the northmen she has come to aid are not recognizing her claim; the problem the North has is having gone unexpectedly from being an independent kingdom to being relegated to vassal state status once again under an outsider queen with a large, hungry foreign army; former King in the North Jon Snow has the problem of competing private and public loyalties, as what he wants to do and what his people and family want him to do are not exactly aligned; and everyone has a big problem in that face-eating wights are streaming into the North, looking for faces to eat. (Reports of actual face eating might be exaggerated for artistic license.)

In the overall list of policy and personal problems, an army of wights should take priority. So why do these other problems even exist now that the Wall has a hole in it? Why are they given narrative and screen time?

Because wights are simple, with uncomplicated motivations. Humans are not like wights.

The North might be excused for not jumping in on the Queen Daenerys train with the fervor one might expect from a population threatened by supernatural horror. Even if we assume that the existential threat of the White Walkers has fully taken seed in the northmen’s consciousness already, they’re still collectively suffering with the stages of political grief, in the loss of the King in the North Robb Stark. They’re being buffeted with political whiplash in declaring their first King in the North after centuries without, losing him months later, getting saddled with a Bolton Lord Paramount, watching an army of outsider knights install Sansa Stark (whom they initially refused to help) as Lady of Winterfell, declaring a new King in the North to scratch their need for a homegrown hero king, and then having him months later set aside his crown and abdicate his authority to a Targaryen queen. The new kid in town.

In fact, their unwillingness to follow Daenerys is consistent with a previous example.

Stannis-Baratheon-Jon-Snow-Davos-Seaworth-Season-5

The last time an outsider monarch showed up to defend the North from a threat beyond the Wall, it was Stannis Baratheon, whom they also rejected.

Bear Island knows no King but the King in the North, whose name is Stark

Stannis routed Mance Rayder’s refugee army at the Wall, and offered to remove the Boltons for the low low price of recognizing him as king. But Stannis was not the King in the North. After centuries of being ruled by southerners, the start of the War of the Five Kings sparked the desire to have their own traditional king, and it took deep root.

The moment that Ned Stark was dead and Robert Baratheon’s acknowledged-heir Joffrey had his claim disputed by both of Robert’s brothers, the independent spirit of the North had practically manifested in the shape of the hulking Greatjon Umber:

Catelyn was thinking of her girls, wondering if she would ever see them again, when the Greatjon lurched to his feet.

“MY LORDS!” he shouted, his voice booming off the rafters. “Here is what I say to these two kings!” He spat. “Renly Baratheon is nothing to me, nor Stannis neither. Why should they rule over me and mine, from some flowery seat in Highgarden or Dorne? What do they know of the Wall or the wolfswood or the barrows of the First Men? Even their gods are wrong. The Others take the Lannisters too, I’ve had a bellyful of them.” He reached back over his shoulder and drew his immense two-handed greatsword. “Why shouldn’t we rule ourselves again? It was the dragons we married, and the dragons are all dead!” He pointed at Robb with the blade. “There sits the only king I mean to bow my knee to, m’lords,” he thundered. “The King in the North!”

And he knelt, and laid his sword at her son’s feet.
— A Game of Thrones, Catelyn XI

The North would object to the R’hllor-worshipping Stannis on religious grounds, too:

Greatjon Umber: Even their gods are wrong.

Daenerys’s storyline had featured echoes of Stannis’s ever since she first occupied his former holding of Dragonstone. Both couldn’t get the lords of Westeros to recognize their claims, both had inconsistent results in trying to oust the Lannisters out of King’s Landing, both had Melisandre of Asshai insinuating that they were the Prince(ss) That Was Promised, and both eventually were convinced by their respective Hands to set aside their southern campaign priorities and make their focus in the North.

Like Stannis, Dany is in the North wanting to be given her due as monarch of the Seven Kingdoms, and relies on Jon Snow to facilitate this. Stannis tried to get a political lever in the north by offering Jon legitimacy and making him Lord of Winterfell. Jon refused.

Dany tried to get a political lever in the North by accepting Jon Snow’s fealty. Which removed his King in the North status, and made him …

Lyanna Mormont: Nothing at all?

It might be a problem that Daenerys is so closely following the model of Stannis in her interactions with the North and its established northern power. Instead of being so much of a Stannis, perhaps she should adopt some of the compromise practicalities of his peachy little brother, Renly.

Renly

Renly doesn’t get much credit due to his attempt to seat himself on the Iron Throne. Much of the criticisms leveled against him are fair. He could have supported Ned Stark during the transition period of Robert’s death and avoided much bloodshed (including his own.) Renly could have served his brother Stannis as advisor, rather than opposing him as rival usurper. Stannis did not like Renly, but Stannis liked so few people that it probably didn’t matter. Renly decided to defy both his brother and precedence to attempt to usurp the throne. But he was prepared to make one interesting move as king.

When Catelyn Stark was acting as an ambassador for her son Robb’s wartime court, she attempted to treat with both Renly and Stannis, to forge a coalition against the true threat of the Lannisters. Stannis rejected this out of hand, considering Robb a thief and a usurper. Renly at least was willing to listen. He recognized that between the Stark forces in the Riverlands and his combined Reach and Stormlander forces, King’s Landing would quickly fall. In exchange for Stark support, he would allow Robb to remain King in the North on the condition that Renly was recognized as Robb’s superior.

Then Renly was abruptly murdered by a shadow assassin and those plans were ruined.

Thanks, Stannis.

Unfortunately, when Jon swore fealty to Daenerys, he didn’t plan ahead and keep his crown as the Wartime Winter King, or King Pro Tem, or some other designator to establish a reasonable limit that the northmen could get behind. Daenerys would have to agree to be flexible in this, which doesn’t sound too out of character. After all, Daenerys told Tyrion that she was willing to consider independence for the Iron Islands and she’d touted breaking the inflexible wheel of the political system currently in vogue in feudal Westeros. She might have allowed Jon to keep his crown conditionally. But that didn’t happen. He came back to the North crownless.

Even if Daenerys decided at this stage to declare Jon a kind of sub-king, in hopes of satisfying the northmen’s need for a King in the North, it wouldn’t be like Renly and Robb, two monarchs, coming to a power-sharing agreement. That boat has sailed.

Jon had already abdicated his power to Daenerys and if the northmen were grouchy about acknowledging her power, they’d just as be grouchy about Jon having his authority reinstated by her. The derived authority would be seen as hollow.

Lord Glover: Nice try. But I’m still staying in Deepwood Motte with my men.

Jon himself is disadvantaged by essentially being powerless, with Sansa Stark the legitimate face of authority in the North. And it might get worse when his identity as Aegon Targaryen becomes known. He’d be another damn Targaryen.

Varys Tyrion Lannister Davos Seaworth Season 8 801

Ser Davos has proposed Daenerys marrying Jon, to wed north and south together in a political marriage and smooth things over. Although Davos should be respected for his forward-thinking, this plan is not likely to come through. Not that it’s a bad plan, but the show’s history indicates that once any plan is stated out loud, it is doomed.

  • Varys convinces Ned to confess, take the Black and live? Joffrey beheads him.
  • Robb has his uncle Edmure marry a Frey to smooth things over? Red Wedding.
  • Tyrion plans to take Casterly Rock with the Unsullied thanks to his knowledge of its cisterns? Jaime leaves it abandoned to capture the wealth of Highgarden.

Based on the show’s history of things being undercut, a proposed political marriage won’t solve things so simply. The evident fly in the wedding soup would be Jon probably not wanting to marry his aunt.

Daenerys: I don’t see why not. I’m not his sister.
Jaime: Not that there’s anything wrong with that either.

So what can be done? Jon might not be able to do much, but there is someone who can.

Sansa Stark could start to rectify the situation by prioritizing the world’s needs over her relatively newly-embraced northern pride and working with Dany on public relations.

Sansa Stark Season 8 801

Since Sansa now eclipses Jon as the symbolic authority in the North, especially after performing as an effective civil administrator in getting her people ready for winter, Sansa could help her people accept Daenerys through example and also reassure Daenerys that she’s welcome in the land she’s trying to save.

Dany is somewhat of a fish out of water, and Sansa should empathize since she’d been raised throughout her childhood by Catelyn with an eye to the south. When Jon and Sansa were doing their recruitment tour of the North and trying to muster support, Sansa had setbacks dealing with the irate northern lords. It has only been recently that she’s kind of hit her stride as the Lady of Winterfell. Sansa also seized effective power with an army of outsiders, the knights of the Vale. So she might be able to bond with Daenerys over their similar experiences. Hopefully she still can.

And even though it might be difficult, it might not be too difficult.

Davos wouldn’t be warning Tyrion and Varys about the northern disposition if there were no problems he foresaw, and Daenerys is not wrong to be worried about Sansa not showing her the respect she expects. With Jon crownless, Sansa is the symbol of legitimate power in the North and symbols have power. Daenerys spent seasons in Meereen learning the difficulties of working with a population that didn’t accept her.

Grey Worm Missandei Unsullied Winterfell 801 Season 8

The northmen are not the Meereenese slavers, angry that Daenerys was disrupting their position and the economy. But Daenerys is a Targaryen and her father burned Rickard Stark alive. Some of the older men who watched Daenerys march into Winterfell with a dragon-bannered retinue might have fought against Rhaegar’s similarly-bannered forces at the Trident during Robert’s Rebellion. The fact that Randyll and Dickon Tarly chose death by dragonfire rather than bend the knee is going to reinforce any association Daenerys might be trying to avoid with her mad father Aerys. (Honestly, Randyll Tarly was so abrasive, he actually found a way to be an irritant in death.)

The folksy phrase the North Remembers seems a bit of a misquote since the northern lords were reluctant to rally to Sansa’s side against the Boltons. The North was not remembering its oaths to House Stark at that moment, but the North always seems to have a better memory when it comes to grudges. And the North remembers this grudge.

The northmen have now lost their second King in the North in a handful of years. They barely had time to get used to Jon Snow the White Wolf before he abdicated for a southern ruler, something the Greatjon had railed against. Robb’s death allowed the northern lords to either accept or deny Stannis as king (they denied), but Jon’s swearing of fealty to Daenerys forced the decision on them unbidden.

They’re as stubborn as goats. If you want their loyalty, you have to earn it.

Daenerys has yet to earn their loyalty. Still, the northmen do seem willing to play ball.

Ned Umber Season 8 801 2

Wee Lord Ned Umber requested wagons and horses to extract the Umbers from Last Hearth, he addressed Sansa and Jon as “m’lady” and “m’lord”, respectively, and Daenerys as “my queen.” So, on the surface, this doesn’t seem to be a problem, right? The northmen can call Daenerys queen, and she can go about her business marshaling her forces against the wights.

However, Dany being recognized as queen – sincerely being recognized – will only come after she earns it by facing the wights. The doomed Ned Umber called Daenerys queen and now he’s dead. Dany should honor his example and act as his queen, engaging with the Army of the Dead that killed him before making further demands on the North.

All the major actors currently in the North are going to have to make some changes if this is going to work out. The only faction that doesn’t have to change a thing is the Army of the Dead. They have their role covered.

Even though it makes sense that the humans in the North should set aside all these issues, at least until they can secure their long term survival, from a narrative perspective the story, the characters and their world demand that this conflict exists and that these conflicts be resolved.

The Night King and the wights are an overwhelmingly clear threat, and humanity is obviously going to resist them. Even if the North refuses to bend the knee to Daenerys, she’ll fight for them – for the living, because it is so evidently the correct thing to do. What kind of person would ignore the manifest threat of the White Walkers?

Cersei Lannister Season 8 King's Landing

But Game of Thrones has never been a straightforward good versus evil show.

Since the White Walkers represent such a monolithically motivated force, our heroes and villains and those in-between who represent the opposition to the supernatural threat will have to make up the difference in complexity and having cross-purposes. If the Night King represents cold and brutal order, then the defenders of the realm must be messy and chaotic and very, very human.

Or else it’s boring. And Game of Thrones is not boring.

The post Fighting the Night King will be hard; coming together to do so might be harder appeared first on Watchers on the Wall.

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What If “Game Of Thrones” Was Cast In The 1970’s

Whatif the greatest Television Series of recent times had been made in the 1970’s? Here are some casting choices. Share away your thoughts and/or improvements? Jack Nicholson – Ramsay Bolton Steve McQueen – Jaime Lannister Meryl Streep – Cersei Lannister Orson Welles – Tywin Lannister Burt Reynolds – The Hound Barbara Streisand – Melisandre Marlon […]

The post What If “Game Of Thrones” Was Cast In The 1970’s appeared first on A Blog Of Thrones.

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The 15 Most Satisfying Moments In Game Of Thrones

Seven long years have passed since HBO’s Game of Thrones first aired the silver screen, and in all of that time many satisfying moments occurred. Whether it be a deceased character being avenged or a character coming out on top after having endured hardships, the moment has happened. We have composed a list of 15 of the most satisfying moments that we all know we enjoyed watching.

The Reunion Of Jon Snow & Sansa Stark

via HBO
via HBO

7 long years had passed since the cousins, believed to be half siblings – Jon Snow and Sansa Stark – had last seen each other before he rode north to join the brothers of the Nights Watch and she rode south to Kings Landing to further her courtship with Joffrey Baratheon.

Sansa – having escaped her abusive husband Ramsay Bolton in the last episode of season 5 – ventured to Castle Black in season 6, where Jon was believed to still have been the Lord Commander of the Nights Watch.

Weary and tired, the believed to be last member of House Stark, Sansa rode into the courtyard of Castle Black and dismounted nervously as the brothers of the Nights Watch and wildings stared at her with curiosity.

She looked around until she caught sight of Jon Snow standing on the ramparts. Without taking his eyes off of her, he made his way down the stairs and onto the courtyard. They stared at each other bewilderedly before fiercely embracing as the House Stark theme swelled in the background.

Daenerys Takes The Khalasar

via HBO
via HBO

Having been captured by the Khalasar in the last episode of season 5, Daenerys Targaryen was taken back to Vaes Dothrak where her fate was to be decided by the many Khal’s who had gathered there.

When she was brought before the Khal’s, they began to discuss what to do with her including taking turns raping her or giving her to the Masters of Yunkai. She, talking in fluent Dothraki, told them about the promises Khal Drogo made her the last time she was there.

They mocked her but she told them they were small men who were not fit to lead the Dothraki people but she was. They told her they would definitely rape her as well as let their bloodriders do so as well but she merely smiled and placed her hands on the fit pits.

She told them they would not serve her, they would die, before pushing all of the pits over which caused the temple to be engulfed in flames. As she stepped out of the burning temple unharmed, the Dothraki bowed to their new leader.

Daario Naharis Joins Daenerys’ Cause

via HBO
via HBO

While Daenerys was bathing, Daario Naharis, Ed Skrein version, snuck in her tent and held Missandei at knife point. It seemed as though he was going to kill her but he released her and revealed himself. He – under Daenerys command – let her go.

They discuss why he is there and he reveals that he killed his captains, who wanted him to kill Daenerys. He explains why she should trust him and as he does, she steps out of the bath and is dressed by Missandei.

He withdraws his sword and bows before her, pledging his sword, lie and heart to her and her cause.

Jon Is Named King In The North

via HBO
via HBO

In the Great Hall of Winterfell, the northern lords discussed what to do for the coming winter and the White Walkers that come with it. They appear to dismiss Jon Snow’s warnings and say that they wish to return to their own castles.

There is tension in the room but Lyanna Mormont, the lady of Bear Island, stands up and dresses several of the lords who were directly affected by the Bolton’s – whom Jon defeated and liberated the north from. She states that she and House Mormont have always remained loyal, and that the only person they will address as king, is a Stark – whom, despite not having the name, Jon is.

The other lords apologise for not committing to his cause at first and begin to pledge their loyalty. The entire hall, even the Wildlings and Knights of the Vale, raise their swords and declare him the King in the North.

The Death Of Viserys Targaryen

via HBO
via HBO

Spiteful and cruel, the Beggar King – Viserys Targaryen – violently abused his younger sister – Daenerys Targaryen – and threatened her if she should not comply with him in episode 1 of season 1.

His cruelty became even more apparent when he sold her as a bride to a frightening Dothraki warlord in exchange for an army, especially when she begged him not to and he told her that to claim his throne – he would let the Khalasar of 40 thousand men and their horses rape her.

When his sister began to break free of his control, he tried to beat her – whilst she was pregnant although he did not know at that time – but she hit him round the head with a golden belt, which in hindsight acted as foreshadowing for his satisfying death.

After having drunk excessively, he stumbled into Khal Drogo’s hut and shouted about wanting his crown. When he was told his place is back with the common Dothraki people, he threatened the lives of Daenerys and her unborn child.

Khal Drogo had him restrained and his arms broken while he melted his golden belt. Daenerys looked on as her husband poured molten gold over her abusive brother’s head and watched emotionlessly as he fell to ground with a chilling clank.

Tyrion Escaping & Killing Tywin

via HBO
via HBO

In season 4 of HBO’s Game of Thrones, Tyrion Lannister, having been accused of the murder of King Joffrey I Baratheon and having lost his trial by combat – waited in the dungeons of the Red Kept for his impending execution. His elder brother, Jaime Lannister, however freed him after and emotional goodbye.

Instead of meeting Varys, whom was going to take Tyrion across the Narrow Sea to Essos, Tyrion took a crossbow and went to his father’s chambers – where he found Shae, his former lover who spoke out against him at his trial.

He killed her by choking her to death, though it pained him greatly, before findin