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GoT Open Thread

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Hey gurl, wassup?

Stay away from this thread if you don’t like spoilers.  Otherwise, spoil away!

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  • David Hunt

    This site’s own Steven Attewell is also live-blogging the episode at:

    http://69.89.27.238/~gotseaso/2017/07/16/the-game-of-thrones-season-live-blog-episode-one-dragonstone/

  • Sharon1W

    That’s my former mayor?

  • Stephen Reineccius

    Holy shit it’s starting! I’m so excited!

    • LeeEsq

      And I just can’t hide it.

  • Murc

    Dang it, Robert, I can’t be both here AND at Attewell’s joint!

  • Stephen Reineccius

    And we are off to a murderously good start. Go fucking Arya!

    • Murc

      Looks like our little murder girl has become a murder woman tonight.

      • cpinva

        it’s so nice to watch them grow up and become independent.

    • (((advocatethis)))

      That was about the most satisfying scene in a season premier that I’ve ever seen.

      • David Allan Poe

        The best part was that as soon as Walder Frey was the opening shot, I knew exactly what was about to happen.

        • jmwallach

          There need to be witnesses but why leave direct ones?

    • Marlowe

      I guess this is going to be taken as dickish, and maybe it is, but really, why the fuck would you want to to watch a show while simultaneously sitting at a computer commenting on it? This is just unimaginable to me. Maybe I’m just too old (64 in two months) to understand electronic multi-tasking. And I don’t want to. And FWIW, I watched the show (streaming on HBO Go about 40 minutes after it started) in the dark with computer off like God intended.

      • jim, some guy in iowa

        it’s just another way of sharing the experience. Though if God cares how we watch a tv show that could explain why s/he/it hasn’t smited Mike Pence and Paul Ryan

    • TheBrett

      Definitely glad to see the Freys go down, although it’s kind of sad it’s not really tied into anything other than Arya getting revenge. “Oh, the Freys are all dead now”.

      Meanwhile, the Brotherhood appears to be headed north – odds of Cleganebowl are shrinking.

      • Eric K

        It has a little significance, The Freys weren’t very effective rulers, but they were at least an ally for Cersei and controlled the Riverlands, so now she has to send troops there and it isn’t like she has any to spare.

  • LeeEsq

    Game of Thrones description I saw on Facebook: Knot’s Landing Meets Dungeons & Dragons.

    I also thought it was Game of Thorns rather than Game of Thrones for several years.

  • Stephen Reineccius

    Lady Mormont is by far my favorite.

    • Karen

      Westeros should turn over its entire defense to Lady Mormont and Arya Stark.

      • jmwallach

        Arya is more of an enforcer type.

        • wjts

          I’m inclined to think her plan for “defense” would be:

          1. The White Walkers kill you.
          2. I kill them in revenge when they least expect it.

          It’s not a great plan, if I’m honest.

          • jmwallach

            She’s a teenager with revenge on her mind.

    • As someone observed on Twitter, if Lyanna Mormont had dragons, this show would’ve ended after two seasons.

  • NewishLawyer

    How do you get that look where you are graying at the sides but not on top?

    Asking for a friend.

    • Tell your friend it’s natural, but a little hair color doesn’t hurt any.

    • jim, some guy in iowa

      the hair on top falls out before it can go gray?

      …no, probably not the answer you’re looking for…

    • N__B

      I’ve got that but somehow I still don’t look distinguished.

      When it happened to my father, forty years ago or so, my grandmother’s comment was “Look at this! An aristocrat!”

      • cpinva

        “I’ve got that but somehow I still don’t look distinguished.”

        i got my first glasses when i was in the 4th grade. they were black frames. my teacher, in an effort, i’m sure, to make me feel better about it, said they made me “look distinguished”. i thought they made me look like a dork, as did all my classmates. turns out, i was right.

        • N__B

          My problem is expression related. I have two default facial expressions: psycho-killer and delighted-moron.

    • BigHank53

      Pick the right parents. In my case, the temples went gray nicely, but the hair on top is fighting a retreating action against my forehead, and losing.

      • wjts

        For a few years in my 30s I had two streaks of white in my beard. I thought it looked pretty cool, but it spread and then I just looked prematurely old.

    • Marduk Kur

      Had it at about 20. Not so great at that age. Even today I look 10 years older than my contemporaries.

      I tell myself it’s attractive. Leave me my delusions.

  • Stephen Reineccius

    Wait, why is Ed Sheeran in this?

    • TheBrett

      They’ve had musicians pop up as one-off guest characters before (I think a guy from Coldplay was in a scene in one of the prior seasons). Ed Sheeran is just more noticeable.

      Although having read that full song’s lyrics in the books, I could totally see Ed Sheeran’s westerosi equivalent composing it.

      • Hob

        I was amused that they left that song in entirely as an Easter egg for book readers, since those guys never explained to Arya what it was about. (Non-readers, this isn’t a spoiler: the song is about how Tyrion murdered Shae in the Tower of the Hand. It’s mentioned here and there that all the gruesome melodrama in the Lannister family is making for some great popular entertainment.)

        • TheBrett

          Minor nitpick: the song is about how he’s keeping Shae secret and hidden away while he’s at court, not that he murdered her.

          • Hob

            Whoops, yeah you’re right – in fact, in the book at least, it was written prior to Tyrion’s downfall, as blackmail (“pay me off or I’ll make your girlfriend famous”).

            • TheBrett

              It’s all good. It’s a good song, aside from the nasty Tyrion murder that involved the chorus line. For she was his secret treasure; She was his shame and his bliss – I could imagine how that might be sung even before seeing Ed Sheeran sing it on the show.

              And it is kind of hilarious that it’s just a wink towards the book fans, since nobody in the show tried to blackmail Tyrion with it.

      • Kevin

        I believe Sheeran has already been on the show (I may be wrong though), as an extra musician at the red wedding. I’m too lazy to Google it right now.

    • Donalbain

      Partly because Maisie Williams is a huge fan of his. This was a gift to her from the producers.

    • Bufflars

      Apparently, the actor who plays Arya really likes Ed Sheeran so someone (?) arranged for him to have a bit part as a surprise for her.

  • N__B

    Man, that thing that happened. So very.

    Really.

    [Mrs__B and watch when the disks are available. I’ll post for real in this thread in about nine months.]

  • Murc

    Man, Littlefinger’s pinky ring looks ridiculous. That’s a ring that screams “I have poison inside me.”

    • Stephen Reineccius

      I was slightly hoping that Brienne would kill him first thing this episode.

      • jmwallach

        He’s like a villager that everyone feels comfortable having around.

  • keta
    • wjts

      He was amazing in Ed Wood.

      • Drew

        One of my favorite movies of all time.

    • Jordan

      Romero too :(

  • Mayur

    The discussion between Cersei and Jaime pretty much sums up the Lannisters = Republicans analogy.

    The real sin of the Lannisters is that they have absolutely nothing to offer. No protection for their subjects. No prosperity. No hope of protection against the White Walkers. Just nothing.

    Bad policy, bad politics.

    No wonder I hated them in 1996.

    • Murc

      That’s the show Lannisters, tho. The book Lannisters are all about an orderly realm and protection for their subjects. Tywin’s entire rise to power involved taking a demesne that was collapsing into bloody anarchy and giving people peace, plenty, and order.

      • Mayur

        Nah I think that’s making up a separate system of governance (i.e. “only the Targaryens have agency”). It’s pretty clear from day 1 that the Lannisters don’t care about the realm at all and that this is one of the central tragedies of the series (i.e. if Westeros at least had smart + evil in charge there might be a chance). Tywin uses the specter of anarchy (in the same paper-thin way the (R)s use law and order stuff) as a way to cement power firmly into his house’s corner.

        There are people who seem concerned about an orderly realm, and we don’t know the sincerity of their convictions. Those people, in the books, are:

        1) Varys
        2) Illyrio
        3) Daenerys
        4) Randyll Tarly
        5) Jon Connigton

        That seems about it.

        • wjts

          Tywin does use the specter of anarchy to enrich and empower his house, but he seems to understand that he needs to deliver what he promises.

        • Murc

          Tywin uses the specter of anarchy (in the same paper-thin way the (R)s
          use law and order stuff) as a way to cement power firmly into his
          house’s corner.

          That is not at all how Tywin rose to power. The Westerlands really, actually were collapsing into anarchy. Tytos Lannister actually was very bad at his job and was failing to uphold his part of the feudal contract with his loyal vassals. Those loyal to House Lannister were forced to turn to Tywin, who wasn’t even a lord, merely an heir, at the time to set the Westerlands aright.

          As for whether or not he cared about the realm, that’s separate from your original contention that the Lannisters have “nothing to offer.” Tywin spent thirty years in a thankless job as Hand of the King attempting to keep the Realm orderly and controlled, he appeared to rule the Westerlands wisely and well, and after Blackwater he set to the task of stabilizing the realm and bringing order back to it with vigor.

          That’s not “nothing to offer.” That’s “I am offering order and stability to my friends and death and destruction to my enemies.” Whether he actually gives a shit about people or merely sees them as a means to an end is completely irrelevant to that.

          Randyll Tarly obviously doesn’t give a shit about people either, and he’s totally on your list of people who care about an orderly realm despite the fact that he holds the vast majority of the people of the realm in contempt and is entirely willing to violate some of Westeros’ most strong cultural taboos, same as Tywin is.

        • ADM

          In addition to what Murc says below, Daenerys, too, seems indifferent towards governing. Her advisors note that she has a knack for overthrowing regimes, but statecraft requires a different set of skills: alliance-building, which requires some forgiveness and tolerance for local customs and autonomy. The moment Xaro coerced her to accept compromise with local lords and customs, she fled to the outlands with Drogon, and it looks like she’ll be bringing hell to Westoros instead of doing the hard, ugly work work of compromising her values (revenge) for the sake of her people (various victims).

          And that seems to be a theme of the books – young people say: “shit’s fucked up and bullshit!” Throw up a banner, violently overthrow the old guard, only to discover the wisdom of the old ways they just overthrew.

      • rewenzo

        Arguably, Tywin *offers* order and protection, but (a) he’s dead and (b) he’s the one who caused all the disorder in the first place. To elaborate on the second point, he started a rebellion against the throne by (1) sending Gregor Clegane to attack peaceful innocent villages in the Riverlands in the hopes of goading a response from the royal government; and (2) ambushing a delegation of said royal government coming to bring justice to Gregor Clegane.

        Then, throughout the war, he deliberately sowed chaos and anarchy and pointless destruction before winter, intentionally setting the Riverlands ablaze and sending Gregor Clegane, Amory Lorch, Vargo Hoat et al to rape and pillage and spread terror, and kidnapping peaceful residents and torturing them and enslaving them at Harrenhal. He also massively destroyed the concept of guest right by orchestrating the Red Wedding. Not to mention that during Robert’s Rebellion he pointlessly sacked King’s Landing even though they opened the gates to him without a single casualty. These are all war crimes under even Westerosi standards.

        So his “offers” of peace order and good government are completely hypocritical. Offering “stability” to people who’s lives you just ruined and put into chaos is not “offering” anything. He’s better than Joffrey and Cersei but that’s not saying much.

        To elaborate on the first point, Cersei is in charge, and order and protection for her subjects are nowhere near her list of priorities. (Jaime cares about this but he’s not in charge.)

        • M.

          Thank you for this. Saves me having to jump in again.

          Murc: Tywin clearly was an able administrator and excellent commander in Aerys ‘s time, but he pulled a massive heel turn when Aerys laughed off the notion of Rhaegar and Cersei marrying. After that point (and through the actual “current” timeline of the books) he’s a grasping shit devoted to the welfare of his family (well, except the one actually useful member of the bunch) at the expense of the common people, the overall stability of the realm, and the very existence of Westeros.

          Then, of course, there are Cersei and Joffrey. Yes I get that the Republican Party once had Javits and Weicker, but we are currently in the era of Inhofes and McConnells and Ryans. The metaphor does sort of hold.

  • Socrets

    I just started the episode and; DAMN, Arya does not do “half measures”.

    • TheBrett

      Nope.

      You’d think that would be a bigger deal, especially since Arya left witnesses. “Holy shit, House Frey has been completely extirpated in one night”. But it seems like we’re just going to get “I guess House Frey is all dead, whatever”.

      Still a very good sequence in isolation, and a helluva way to start the season.

      • Hob

        There was a line like “We still don’t know how all the Freys got killed, or what the people who did it are up to.” Which is pretty much all anyone could say; they’ve got no way to get better information. But it’s not really that shocking an event (at least if you leave out the part about it all being done by one person) – the Freys’ deal with the Lannisters was pretty obviously a risky one: “We’ll murder these people for you, and in return you’ll let us run this whole territory right next to 100,000 ferocious Northern hillbillies who all want us dead.” Ramsay was the only one watching Frey’s back in the North.

        • wjts

          There was a line like “We still don’t know how all the Freys got killed, or what the people who did it are up to.” Which is pretty much all anyone could say; they’ve got no way to get better information.

          A whole hall full of unwounded dead men clutching half-empty wine goblets? You don’t need to wait for Ser Hercule of House Poirot to gather everyone in the Accusing Keep before you can start making some pretty good guesses about what happened. (And some reasonable, although wrong, guesses about who did it.)

          • Hob

            Yes, it sure is possible to read my comment in the most literal-minded way imaginable and conclude that I was saying there was no way to tell that the Freys were poisoned.

            • wjts

              Less snarkily, what the Lannisters presumably know is that:

              1. Every (or almost every) adult male Frey was poisoned at a banquet.
              2. The surviving witnesses say that Walder Frey pulled off his face, turned into a teenage girl, and said, “When they ask you about this, tell them I said, ‘The North Remembers.'” before disappearing.

              The first part is a big deal, and hugely shocking. A fairly significant house has been effectively wiped out at a stroke. It’s not as shocking for the audience as the Red Wedding, because none of us care about Walder and Walter and Wallace and Waldo and Whatever Frey, but for the people in the story, I would think it would be just as big. I don’t think anything like this has ever happened before in Westeros.

              The second part… well, I don’t know that they’d believe Walder’s widow’s story about the girl who was pretending to be Walder and poisoned everyone. (I don’t remember how much people in Westeros know about the Faceless Men or if they’d make the connection.) If they believe her and know about the Faceless Men, then, oh, shit, someone from the North managed to hire the most deadly assassins in the world to come after the people responsible for the Red Wedding, and presumably we’re next. This is a big deal. If they don’t believe her, then the obvious conclusion seems to be that someone from the North figured out how to infiltrate the Twins and poison the wine (with or without the aid of the servants). And if they could do it at the Twins, what’s to stop them from doing it to us here in King’s Landing? This is also a big deal.

              • kathy Klos

                I agree it is interesting she showed her hand and a bit of mercy. But both by sample chapter and show it hard not to think even thought she has to see Lanister solders as just people, they are not dead men walking and she will be using one of their faces when she walks into the capital.

                • wjts

                  She showed her hand, but I should probably add to what I wrote above that the Lannisters almost certainly can’t know that it’s Arya Stark who’s responsible. I doubt that any of the witnesses would have been able to recognize her, and even if they realize that the attack was carried out by one of the Faceless Men they have no reason to think that it was specifically Arya because they don’t know she’s been in Braavos learning the trade for the last however long.

          • There were several women servers who were standing there alive as Arya stalked out.

            • calling all toasters

              But Arya has never been to the Twins except for that moment at the end of the Red Wedding.

  • Karen

    I loved the Sam Tarley scenes with the Archmaester, especially the part about “the simplest explanation is that you are telling the truth about what you saw” and “can’t be fabrication; too many unconnected sources say similar things.”

    • David Allan Poe

      And then shrugging it off. “Oh, the Wall will protect us. It always has.”

      Not that smart people in our world ever do that.

      Also the Sam/shit/soup montage was excellent. Here’s a guy who just wants to save the world, and he’s getting treated like every other dipshit student studying in Oldtown.

      • kvs

        That montage exists solely so some enterprising soul can remix the audio as the GoT theme song.

      • Socrets

        Sounds like most law students/interns.

      • jmwallach

        Interns get scut.

      • BobOso

        I was thinking if the White Walkers and their army is an allegory for climate change and the wall is the “technology will save us” argument.

    • David Allan Poe

      Also, it occurs to me that a scene whose dramatic meaning is “The horrible thing you are vocally terrified is going to happen is, while it has happened elsewhere/in the past, not going to happen here because of reasons, so go back to your business” might have some pretty haunting personal resonance with you.

    • Deborah Bender

      Wasn’t he giving Sam tacit encouragement to snoop in the restricted area of the library?

  • wjts

    I liked it.

  • CrunchyFrog

    There are a few cable TV series that just dominate all of the entertainment media attention. None of these get particularly high ratings, mind you, unless you grade on a “cable TV curve”, but the RIGHT PEOPLE like them so they get all of that attention. Sopranos (GOD I LOVE WATCHING ASSHOLES KILL PEOPLE, ESPECIALLY IN A NEW YORK AREA SETTING … I PRETEND TO BE LIBERAL BUT THIS IS WHAT I LIVE FOR), Mad Men, Sex and the City, GoT – these stand out but there are others.

    All of these fall under the general umbrella of “really interesting psychologically-disturbed people treating other people really badly”. Why do our intelligentia love these so much?

    • Dr. Waffle

      Ross Douthat, is that you?

      • N__B

        Douthat liked Nelson Van Alden in the first season of BE. He doesn’t have the guts to scourge himself, but watching it on HBO was almost as good.

        • Dr. Waffle

          I found out today that he’s only 37 years old. 37!

          • LosGatosCA

            Only 37? I always had the impression he was vainly fighting his way through puberty.

    • wjts

      Tits and dragons, man. Doesn’t matter where you set your show – New Jersey, 1960s New York, Westeros – you throw in enough tits and dragons and people will line up around the block.

      • CrunchyFrog

        Well, the point is people *aren’t* lining up to watch these. Check the ratings. Unless you define “people” as everybody but the 85% who are the proles.

        • mds

          Well, then, they obviously didn’t throw in enough tits and dragons, did they?

          • mds

            It figures this would earn an upvote from ThusBloggedAnderson.

            VAARSUVIUS: My, those are quite lovely, Miss Starshine.

            HALEY: Oh, thanks!

            VAARSUVIUS: So round and flawless.

            HALEY: Aren’t they just, though?

            Plus, dragons.

        • dhudson2728

          Keep in mind, ratings are pretty skewed, especially for cable shows, since they don’t reflect people watching them online (or pirating them).

          GoT is a cultural event at this point, damn near everyone (in the US, at least) has heard of it, even if they don’t watch it. Heck, Bloom County mentioned it in the latest strip. (Granted, Bloom County and GoT probably share a lot of audience, but still…)

        • calling all toasters

          “Deadline reports that when accounting for repeat airings, DVR, HBO Go, HBO Now, and HBO on Demand together, Game of Thrones averaged an insane 25.1 million viewers for its sixth season. And that’s not even counting the record-breaking number of people who watched the season illegally through online torrents. Going by HBO’s numbers, Game of Thrones appears to have even beaten out ratings juggernauts like The Big Bang Theory and Sunday Night Football.”
          http://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2016/07/game-of-thrones-most-popular-show-ratings

    • Socialist Cubone

      Wait, Carrie and Samantha killed people? Why did that never happen in the episodes I watched?

      • wjts

        If you read between the lines, the show was basically Hannibal with worse dress sense.

        • BigHank53

          Even the crummy episodes are more satisfying when you imagine how the jerk-of-the-week is going to end up in a shallow grave, or chained to an engine block in the East River.

      • CrunchyFrog

        “Treat each other badly” = “Killed people”.

        Sigh.

    • Aaron Baker

      “The trouble is that we have a bad habit, encouraged by pedants and sophisticates, of considering happiness as something rather stupid. Only pain is intellectual, only evil interesting. This is the treason of the artist: a refusal to admit the banality of evil and the terrible boredom of pain. If you can’t lick ’em, join ’em. If it hurts, repeat it. But to praise despair is to condemn delight, to embrace violence is to lose hold of everything else. We have almost lost hold; we can no longer describe a happy man, nor make any celebration of joy.”

      -Ursula K. LeGuin, “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas”

    • Thom

      “The Americans” also fits under CrunchyFrog’s general umbrella, though it has never had a large audience.

      • Drew

        The Americans has some great spycraft sequences but the last season was pretty quiet.

    • dhudson2728

      “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” Contentment is boring, conflict is interesting. I’m not sure why this would be surprising.

    • http://www.hollywoodreporter.com//live-feed/tv-ratings-game-thrones-premiere-crushes-previous-audience-record-1021845

      Winter arrived in July with the seventh-season premiere of Game of Thrones, but there’s nothing cold about the HBO series’ viewership. Coming back from the longest hiatus in its history, the drama nabbed a series high showing for a first-run telecast with an average 10.1 million viewers.

      What’s more, initial views from streaming have the tally growing to 16.1 million viewers, shattering any previous one-day record for the show.

  • Drew

    The Hound is great.

    • Socrets

      Understatement. Personally, I find myself being incredibly empathetic with him above all the other characters.

      • Drew

        Me too. He’s also funny as hell.

        • calling all toasters

          The tavern chat with Polliver might be my favorite piece of dialogue from any TV show or movie ever.

        • wjts

          He’s funny, but he’s not Bronn funny.

  • Fats Durston

    Was Sam’s Citadel montage directed by Edgar Wright? Anyway, that graduate school sequence was not entirely unfamiliar to those of us who did our research in Tanzania.

    • Dr. Acula

      Some of the Citadel stuff reminded me a bit of Doctor Strange.

    • calling all toasters

      John Bradley is the Nick Frost of Westeros. Sadly, Simon Pegg was not cast as Jon Snow.

  • TheBrett

    The Sam sequence was seriously gross. Well-shot, but gross – although I guess when you think about it, Sam might have had some experience with that since he was helping Maester Aemon as a steward.

    The trailer for the next episode looked like it had Littlefinger in trouble. Trap him and take him down already, Sansa!

    I hope Bran doesn’t teleport to Winterfell next episode. I want Jon to be the last person to know that he’s a secret Targaryen bastard. That’d be hilarious.

  • Dave W.

    One problem I had with this episode was that while Dany landing at Dragonstone makes for some dramatic possibilities and stunning visuals, it makes little strategic sense (unless you already know about the value of dragonglass against White Walkers). With Westeros allies already secured in both the Reach and Dorne, she should have landed near one of those two places, joined her army to theirs, and proceeded to march on King’s Landing with this newly reinforced army. The problem with landing on Dragonstone is that it’s a strategic dead end – the only way off of it is via the same fleet that brought you there, rendering her vulnerable to a sudden attack from Euron’s fleet.

    There’s also a prominent example of Star Trek Away Party Syndrome in Dany’s landing on Dragonstone. She seems to have gotten lucky that Stannis didn’t even leave a token garrison behind, which the Lannisters seem not to have noticed, but you really shouldn’t have your entire leadership corps make up the advance landing party. That renders the whole side vulnerable to a decapitation strike should the fortress turn out not to be quite as deserted as it appeared at first glance. You’ve got a huge army available to you, you should use it by having a bunch of grunts scout and secure the fortress before you risk most of your leadership.

    • Monte Davis

      Hey, MacArthur was first ashore in the Philippines on 20.10.1944. There are photos (quite a lot of photos, from many angles) to prove it. After the photos were taken, he replaced the corncob pipe between his teeth with a Kbar knife and went after a Japanese pillbox.

      • jmwallach

        He was also there at the end of the war because he started a pointless campaign on a huge landmass defended by an army that made rational decisions for defence.

    • I think with three dragons as advance scouts/protection she can afford a *little* bit of throwing caution to the wind when making that landing.

      • Dave W.

        The dragons aren’t going to be able to help her out if she gets in trouble inside the fortress. I would have been more comfortable with the beach scene if the dragons were visibly flying cover overhead at the time, but proceeding alone into the fortress is just reckless, dragons or no.

    • Denverite

      Could the Dothraki horsemen realistically pass through the passes if she landed in Dorne?

      Also, by occupying Dragonstone, the Targaryen army/navy provides an eastern threat to King’s Landing.

      Also also, it’s unlikely that Dani knows about Euron.

      • It seems quite likely she knows about Euron since she’s got Euron’s niece and nephew as part of her team and they explicitly came to her because of Euron.

        • Denverite

          “knows about Euron” = “knows that Euron has built a massive fleet that is now based in Blackwater Bay”

          • Bernard Rieux

            Danaerys knows he’s out there. She knows he’s bested Theon and Yara once. She knows he’s headed for her. Given that (1) her own fleet is very obviously her weak spot and (2) Dragonstone affords her no actual strategic advantages whatsoever and in fact comes with major disadvantages (such as barrenness–whereas her ally Olenna is in command of all the provisions she could ever want over in the Reach), why in the world should she put herself in a position in which Euron and his fleet-of-undetermined-strength could bring her whole plan down by wrecking her navy and thus stranding her entire massive land force on a meaningless island? …Where they will presumably starve?

            • markefield

              I’m sure she’s counting on the dragons to destroy Euron’s fleet. Whether she’s wise to do so is yet to be seen.

              • Bernard Rieux

                That does appear to be the Benioff/Weiss rationalization, yes. And it’s pretty obviously unwise, even if Danaerys turns out to be right.

                To wit, she has no need to take this risk whatsoever; she could place her forces on the continent and then let the Greyjoys tear each other apart, with dragon help for Yara and Theon if she feels like it, and little worry for the broader campaign if Euron ends up winning. She only needs Yara and Theon’s ships until her massive host is on the Westerosi mainland. After that, meh, she can deal with Euron after the Lannisters are taken care of. Betting her entire campaign on the Greyjoy kids (and dragon air support) by landing on Dragonstone is massively reckless, mainly because it’s totally unnecessary.

      • Bernard Rieux

        Re getting through the passes: why not? We just watched them make their way down not-particularly-wide paths in Essos on their way to Meereen. In any case, (1) the invaders are in no hurry, because with Cersei’s city headed for starvation time is entirely on their side, and (2) their Dornish and Reacher allies hold both ends of the passes, allowing them to string out and ease their way over as gingerly as they’d like. They’re bringing horses, not tanks and trucks; they’d be fine. (And even if not, no sweat; they can land in Old Town instead and live it up with Olenna and the foodstuffs she’s not sending to Cersei. Hi, Sam!)

        Re: eastern threat—huh? Why does that matter? With the current land-and-air lineup, Dany’s forces can crush Cersei in a simple frontal assault from the west. They don’t need to surround her. Of course, it would be perfectly nice for the Ironborn Kids’ Navy to try to pull off a pincer move on King’s Landing from the east while Dany and her land troops march in from the west–but if Yara and Theon don’t make it (because, say, Euron sinks them), no biggie. Cersei’s a sitting duck anyway.

    • Hob

      It’s where she was born, and it’s historically the origin of Targaryen rule over Westeros— there’s no way she’s not going to make that landing first, strategy be damned. The shot of her touching the sand, plus the time given to Viserys in the “previously on” montage, goes right to the irony of Dany’s story: as much as she’s made herself into a visionary ruler, she’s also still following through on myths that were beaten into her head (sometimes literally) through her whole childhood. And she’s also prone to big reckless gestures.

      • Dave W.

        Dany may be prone to big reckless gestures, but she has also generally been willing to listen to the advisors that she trusts and take their advice into account. She’s got quite the brain trust advising her now – between Tyrion, Varys, and Grey Worm, I find it hard to believe that none of them were willing to point out the military disadvantages of this plan.

      • Bernard Rieux

        “Strategy be damned”? She’s barely breathed a word about Dragonstone in six seasons. By contrast, she has ranted constantly about the Iron Throne (and the Seven Kingdoms it rules), which at last check was not within marching range of that island.

        The notion that Danaerys actually cares the slightest whit about Dragonstone was never even hinted at anywhere until this episode. It’s being invented out of whole cloth to both explain and defend the writers’ decision in this season. WTF?

        • John F

          Yes, having Dany walk ahead alone was silly and stupid, but taking Dragonstone was not:

          It’s her family’s castle and it was where she was born.

          It’s where her ancestors launched their initial invasion of Westeros from.

          It’s considered to be virtually impregnable- not taking it when Stannis left it undefended is a mind boggling military mistake by the Lannisters (one they do not make in the books- and Stannis did not leave it undefended in the Books)

          She now has a stronghold that even allying with the Greyjoys the Lannisters would not be able to dislodge her from.

          Plus, it was UNDEFENDED, landing in Dorne (Doran Martells’ long term plans included allowing Dorne to be used as a staging area for Visery’s/Daenery’s invasion of Westeros) or the Reach obviously would make more sense if the Dragonstone landing was going to be contested- but it WASN’T.

          Now Cersei not only has two armies to her south, she now has a large one to her east.

          • Bernard Rieux

            “It’s her family’s castle and it was where she was born.”

            That has no military value. (And she’s never even hinted at any point on the show that she cares the slightest bit about Dragonstone. I don’t remember anything in the books, either.)

            “It’s where her ancestors launched their initial invasion of Westeros from.”

            That has no military value. Westeros was a very different place 300 years earlier. Most notably, there was no King’s Landing, for obvious reasons. Aegon left from Dragonstone because that was where he lived. Dany has no need to be there at all.

            “It’s considered to be virtually impregnable….”

            So what? Who needs to attack it, or to “dislodge” anyone? Cersei and Euron just need to cripple Dany’s navy (which happens to be *the weakest element of her forces*), after which her enormous army will simply starve on that barren rock. A strong castle is just a big cell to die in.

            “Plus, it was UNDEFENDED….”

            Goodness, name a potential landing place on Westeros that was *defended*! Dorne and the Reach are friendly beaches. The Stormlands are apparently emptied out. As Jaime pointed out in Sunday’s episode, it’s not clear that Cersei’s armies actually control any land at all outside of the King’s Landing walls; by this standard, Dany could have landed just about anywhere!

            “[Dorne] or the Reach obviously would make more sense if the Dragonstone landing was going to be contested- but it WASN’T.”

            But Dragonstone offers no advantages whatsoever. Dorne, the Reach, and the Stormlands would all allow Dany to march directly on the capital. Dragonstone forces her to load all those poor horselords *back* onto the boats and risk the sea voyage all over again. It’s nuts, and it renders the treacherous journey from Meereen basically pointless.

            “Now Cersei not only has two armies to her south, she now has a large one to her east.”

            Wait, what? What “armies to her south”? What indication is there that the Tyrell and/or Martell armies are still on the continent? No one has said that. The final sequence of Season 6 showed Martell ships sailing in Danaerys’s armada; there’s no indication that the Dornish troops are anywhere but cooped up on Dragonstone with everyone else.

            If it’s true that the Reacher and Dornish armies are at or near home and ready to hit the capital from the south, that does lessen Dany’s risks somewhat; she then wouldn’t have ALL her eggs in that barren-rock basket. Still, it would be ridiculous for her to risk her best troops–thousands of Dothraki and Unsullied–to take a meaningless island.

    • Bernard Rieux

      Thank you! I’ve been saying this all day on other fora. The whole Dany-lands-at-Dragonstone strategy is a massive Idiot Plot, in which an important character does something mind-bogglingly stupid for the service of the greater narrative rather than for any reason the actual character should care about. Ludicrous and insulting to the audience’s intelligence.

      “With Westeros allies already secured in both the Reach and Dorne, she should have landed near one of those two places, joined her army to theirs, and proceeded to march on King’s Landing with this newly reinforced army.”

      Yes, yes, and yes, and I’m in frustrating Disqus threads elsewhere today saying exactly the same thing. (Somehow MacArthur has come up over there as well.)

      C’mon, folks. This story deserves better care than it’s getting.

  • Denverite

    My (unfortunate) suspicion is that next episode we’ll see a big naval battle between Euron and the Targaryen fleet. Euron’s “priceless gift” obviously could refer to Tyrion, and the synopses of the episode includes “Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) receives an unexpected visitor.”

    Plus, in the trailers, we see a nighttime naval battle and a daytime assault of Casterly Rock. That strongly suggests that they occur in different episodes (and not that they’re some sort of unified sea-land battle, though it’s possible that it’s an amphibious invasion that starts in the dark and continues past sunrise). And with only six episodes left in the season, that doesn’t leave a lot of room. (And if I’m sketching it out, the penultimate episode will be the assault on Casterly Rock, and the last one will be Dani and Jon/Jaehaerys agreeing to fight the threat from the North, so that really only leaves four possible episodes.)

    … adding, I say unfortunate, because then Euron’s TV plotline would make little sense — he’d be in like three episodes — and it would seem to me that he’s only in the show because he’s in the books, too.

    • Drew

      I assumed Euron meant a dragon horn (to control Dany’s dragons) when he mentioned the gift but maybe the show isn’t going with that. That would be a great twist. Otherwise I don’t know how they stand a chance against Danaerys.

      • Denverite

        That would be interesting and would answer the question of “how the fuck would a navy of wooden ships and sails even have a chance against even a single dragon,” but I’m not sure that there is time for that.

        • Drew

          I think my previous reply to you was eaten.

          I could be way off the mark. The show cut out a ton of Euron’s story (and other iron islands stuff-much of it justifiably so) so I don’t remember if the horn was mentioned or even foreshadowed.

        • Another thing I’m wondering: it’s painfully obvious that the best way to fuck up the White Walkers is to burn them with dragonfire in aerial attacks. (See also, the series title.)

          SOOOO painfully obvious, in fact, that I’m wondering if GRRM is gonna kill off the fucking dragons and leave us going “NOW what?”

          • markefield

            I’m pretty sure that the WW themselves can’t be harmed by fire. That’s in the books and is consistent with what we saw at Hardhome. It’s the wights who can be destroyed by fire. And yeah, that’s pretty obvious.

            Long time no see. It’s a good thing GoT exists to bring you out of hibernation.

            • John F

              The wights could be pretty easily destroyed by wildfire (or as I call it day-glo green napalm)… In the Game of Thrones backstory, the Targaryens took over the whole continent despite being massively outnumbered with three dragons- they just wiped out an entire Essos fleet two episodes ago, so yes they are a “narrative” problem at this point. The WWs literally have to have a way to counter them or otherwise, what’s the point?

              • Bernard Rieux

                Of course, Dany and her dragons have to get through their *human* enemies in the semis before taking on the White Walkers in the championship round of the tournament. And humans have shot down dragons with ordinary military equipment and tactics in Westeros’s past. (Including “a navy of wooden ships and sails”–look it up!) So don’t count your wight-roasters before they’re hatch… er, done torching Cersei.

      • Denverite

        Otherwise I don’t know how they stand a chance against Danaerys.

        Well, canonically, there are three ways to beat an army with dragons. (1) Also have dragons, (2) water magic (Rhoyne temporarily beating a Valyrian army with three dragons, only to see Valyria respond by attacking it with ALL of the dragons), or run for the motherfucking hills (Dorne against the Targaryens in the first century AC).

        Non-canonically, it has been suggested that the Targaryens were wary of flying their dragons too far north for fear that they could be warged.

        • Bernard Rieux

          Multiple dragons have been felled by straightforward human effort (i.e., no magic, no dragon-on-dragon combat) within recorded Westerosi history.

          • Denverite

            Sure, but that wasn’t a dragon-led army (except the Rhoynar one).

            • Bernard Rieux

              Huh? The Rhoyne is in Essos, not Westeros.

              On this side of the Narrow Sea, the Dornish shot down the Targaryen dragon Meraxes (one of the Big Three that Aegon brought with him in the Conquest), with Queen Rhaenys aboard, in 10 AC during the First Dornish War. The Dornish only needed a standard-issue artillery piece, and both dragon and royal rider bit the dust.

              Less definitively (but very significantly given the current threat), Jacaerys Valerion and his dragon, Vermax, died in the naval Battle of the Gullet in 129 AC, during the Dance of the Dragons. Vermax “flew too low . . . and crashed down into the sea, possibly wounded from a crossbow bolt to the eye or pulled down by a grapnel.” There’s no suggestion that another dragon had any part in his death, though there were several others involved in the battle.

              And then there was the infamous Storming of the Dragonpit a year later, in which a mob of smallfolk charged the cage in King’s Landing in which the Targaryens kept some of their dragons and managed to slaughter five of them. (In light of the wounds we saw, Danaerys’s own Drogon came close to being killed by the Sons of the Harpy in similar fashion in the Season 5 GOT finale.)

              So there’s demonstrable historical precedent under which one or more of Dany’s dragons could be brought down by Cersei’s forces, by Euron’s, or by mob violence. (The kind of subterfuge by which, say, Ramsey Bolton slaughtered Stannis’s horses is conceivable as well.) Dragons aren’t invulnerable, and everyone involved in the story undoubtedly knows this.

              • Denverite

                Huh? The Rhoyne is in Essos, not Westeros.

                Right. It’s one of a handful of examples of a Valyrian/Targaryen army sporting dragons and still losing in pitched combat. (It’s also “Westerosi” in the sense that it directly led to the creation of Dorne.) Not a dragon being trapped in a pit or being killed by a lucky shot or the like. An army actually employing dragons in pitched combat and losing. The only other times that happened, it was because the other side had dragons too. And then there was the post-AC Dornish, who didn’t “win” per se, but who didn’t lose because they just evaporated to the hills (and mountains).

                So there’s demonstrable historical precedent under which one or more of Dany’s dragons could be brought down by Cersei’s forces, by Euron’s, or by mob violence. (The kind of subterfuge by which, say, Ramsey Bolton slaughtered Stannis’s horses is conceivable as well.)

                See above.

                • Bernard Rieux

                  Okay. So it’s impossible for a dragonless army to kill a dragon because in all of the instances in which that has happened, it was a “lucky shot” or the dragons were trapped. Which is to say that when you ignore all of the instances in which X has happened, X has never happened. Sounds like an airtight theory to me! Danaerys is unstoppable!

    • John F

      ” Euron’s “priceless gift” obviously could refer to Tyrion”
      There’s a lot of things it could refer to, especially if you’ve read the book, but alas I’ve seen the leaked set photos and know with 90% certainty what the “priceless gift” refers to… and my sole spoiler is that it is indeed something or someone that Cersei would/will be happy to have possession and control of…

      • wjts

        …and my sole spoiler is that it is indeed something or someone that Cersei would/will be happy to have possession and control of…

        A really big bottle of wine? That doesn’t seem like enough somehow. Two really, really big bottles of wine?

    • Bernard Rieux

      “My (unfortunate) suspicion is that next episode we’ll see a big naval battle between Euron and the Targaryen fleet.”

      Yes, indeed. And it’s frankly terribad that the writers had to make Dany do something so flagrantly dumb (i.e., land on Dragonstone rather than somewhere reasonable, such as Dorne, the Reach, or the Stormlands) so that that battle has major stakes. Blech.

  • RovingYouthPastor

    What is dead may never die; that in which no plot meaningfully advances cannot be spoiled.

    • Bufflars

      Yeah, for a season with only 7 episodes, this episode made almost no meaningful headway on really any of the storylines.

  • The Wet One

    Loved the opening. Great stuff!

  • Midwest_Product

    Next week on Game of Thrones:

    NYMERIA! That 20-second preview has me more hyped than the entire first episode.

  • kindasorta

    I think Jon has the better of his argument with Sansa over the ownership of Karhold and the Last Hearth.

    Sansa’s right that politics entails rewarding your friends, but even the bannermen who might have profited from a redistribution of the Umbers’ and Karstarks’ lands might be relieved at this display of Jon’s character. If their new king is not the sort to seize lands from innocent heirs when their fathers and uncles commit treason, he is certainly not the sort to seize them on a pretext.

    • Bernard Rieux

      Agreed—but ISTM that Sansa’s bigger mistake is committing the deadly Sonny Corleone Sin of contradicting the Don in a conference with outsiders. By sparring with Jon in an open meeting rather than raising the point with him behind the scenes, she is telegraphing to the world that there is a gap in House Stark that can be wedged open. Littlefinger, especially, is now obviously going to try to capitalize on this to shove Jon aside (just as Sollozzo tried to whack Don Vito after Sonny spoke out of turn) and spin Northern politics in his favor.

      • John F

        “just as Sollozzo tried to whack Don Vito after Sonny spoke out of turn”

        Sollozzo was still a moron, there was zero chance the Corleones wouldn’t seek revenge… of course Sollozzo and the Tattaglias were being used by Barzini – killing Don Vito would help him by weakening the Corleones and everyone else in the subsequent mob war, even if Don Vito lived he’d be helped by everyone being weakened by the subsequent mob war- basically it worked, when Don Vito fresh out of the hospital after Sonny’s death literally sued for peace.

        Of course Don Vito and Michael turned out to be far more Machiavellian and vindictive than Barzini or anyone else in the room. Sue for peace, bide your time and plan for an “out of the blue” decapitation strike on… EVERYONE.

        To bring it back to GOT, the Cersei blows up the Sept sequence was modeled on the ending sequence of the Godfather….

        • Bernard Rieux

          Whoops, sorry—wrong literature!

          I’m not saying Sollozzo’s move was a smart one. (His analog here, Littlefinger, is likely to bite the dust sooner rather than later as well.) It’s just that Sonny talking out of turn encouraged him to do what he did, in the same way that Sansa’s approach gives Baelish way too much of an opening to make trouble.

  • Mr. Ziffel

    I’m surprised nobody has yet mentioned one of the GoT preview advertisements I saw in a magazine earlier this year showed the Night King with what appeared to be…a ZOMBIE ICE DRAGON!

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