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  1. ASOIAF is more Dune + Dune Messiah (especially structure but also story), put in a blender with the wars of the roses as seasoning. HOTD is far more WOTR with Jaehaerys standing in for Edward III, Viserys for John of Gaunt, then on down to Aegon III and Jaehaera standing in for Henry VII and Elizabeth of York uniting the warring branches of the family that George then tweaked completely for plot purposes. And rightly so considering HOTD takes place before ASOIAF and is foundational for everything that comes after. George is such a master at crafting characters and repositioning them into different and exciting situations in the exceptionally fun and amazing world he established, that it’s all new and wonderful.
  2. Why should time-served matter? It still happened in the story. Considering the story is based on the wars of the roses… Edward V, one of the famous Princes in the Tower who was never anointed and mysteriously disappeared causing Richard of Gloucester to proclaim himself King Richard III, is definitely counted as one of England’s Kings and why Henry VIII was succeeded by his son Edward VI instead of Edward V. Jane Grey who was Edward VI’s chosen heir on his deathbed because he didn’t want Mary to bring Catholicism back to England, ruled for only nine days, and whose rule was, “disputed” is still acknowledged as the Nine Days Queen. Henry VI, who was deposed by Edward IV, then was briefly reinstalled on the throne for a few months before being re-deposed by Edward IV, is the closest parallel to Rhaenyra and Aegon II. Rhaenyra wasn’t some scullery maid who wandered into the throne room one day and decided to have a seat. She was Viserys’s chosen heir who every lord of the Seven Kingdoms swore fealty to, and she actually ruled and made decisions, etc, which is more than Edward V and Jane Grey got to do. William Henry Harrison died 32 days after being sworn and is still acknowledged as being the 9th President of the United States.
  3. In addition to what Ran said, it also is clear by Daemond being tolerated, Vermithor hadn’t gone feral, and can be bonded to a new rider, adding another dragon firmly of the Blacks.
  4. I will be shocked if HOTD doesn’t get a Drama Series Ensemble nomination for the SAG Awards. Definitely Paddy Considine. (SAG & Emmys 2023) I think most people have seen him in more things than they realize, but he’s that kind of character actor who’s really brilliant at being part of the storytelling that draws you in without standing out apart from it. He’s brilliant at comedy. Two of my favourite films of his are Hot Fuzz and The World’s End with Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. (Emma D’Arcy has also worked with them in Truth Seekers, which was hilarious!) Paddy Considine - IMDb And I think Milly Alcock will definitely get a supporting nomination. She’s got the most screen time of all four the Rhaenyra/Alicent actors. I don’t see any of them getting nominated in any Lead Catagory for this season. Of course it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if all five of them completely took over the supporting category: Milly Alcock Eve Best (in the most episodes) Emma D’Arcy Olivia Cooke Emily Carey The entire cast is brilliant.
  5. No and no. Apologies, I thought that was clear. My fault entirely. Let me try again. Grand Maester Mellos tells him they can attempt to save the child or lose them both. I cannot fathom breech birth mortality is as foreign a concept in 105 AC Westeros as it obviously is today in 2022 Earth with modern medicine. In fact, I’d venture to say most were as familiar with just what a long, horrible death a woman would suffer in Aemma’s condition as those who lived in 15th century Britain. Who wouldn’t want to spare someone they love from such a fate? When Mellos tells Viserys, “There’s a technique taught at the Citadel…” and explains how they might be able to save the child, clearly implying there’s no way to save Aemma, “but the resulting blood loss…” Viserys is clearly and willingly in denial at that point, but you see it dawn on him what’s happening… Aemma is going to die a long, horrifically painful death. Paddy plays it brilliantly. You can see his brain working as it clicks in his head and he almost vomits at the thought of what Mellos is saying but they both know Aemma is faced with a far more tortuous end than what she’s already experiencing. Mellos is actually offering more of a mercy for Aemma than anything else. The astronomically small chance of saving the child in the process, is more to ease Viserys’s conscience so he can attempt to live with making the right call rather than “leaving it to the Gods” and putting her through a long, painful, and gruesome death of sepsis causing all her organs to slowly shut down. I doubt there’s enough milk of the poppy to ease her way, since it’s likely not morphine-grade. The only person who would question his character is Viserys himself. He absolutely makes the right call. Everyone fully aware of the horrific dangers of childbirth in 105 AC Westeros knows that. But because of his deep love for her, her death leaves a hole in his soul that can never be filled, and he blames himself for the rest of his life, because that’s what humans do. We always blame ourselves for not doing enough, regardless if it was completely out of our control, and torture ourselves with, what if as if we could will ourselves back in time to make different choices and somehow cause a different outcome. It’s part of the grieving process for most of us, even in the death of relationships. His guilt also makes him vulnerable to Otto manipulating him into naming Rhaenyra his heir while pimping his own daughter into being Viserys’s new Queen. The most heart breaking moment is the end of episode 8. “My love.” #2 is when he says to Alicent in Ep7, “I’m going to bed Aemma.” He never stopped loving her, and it most certainly informed his behavior. How could it not?
  6. Thank you, (and everyone else who) actually answered the multiple choice. I get that a lot of people weighing in on this have never even been pregnant let alone gone through a long, difficult labour and delivery even with the help of modern medicine and have no concept of how much hormonal biology takes over a woman’s survival instincts/brain during it. To assume Aemma would have been anywhere near capable of being altruistically rational enough to make a choice and not have completely gone into feral aggro panic mode of denial she wouldn’t survive once told of her situation is absolute fantasy and, IMO, would have been laughably implausible on screen to everyone who has gone through anything remotely close to it, which is a lot more women (and their partners/family/healthcare workers) than you imagine. I completely agree. And speaking of not showing an heroic man killing zombie children… I have a feeling Blood and Cheese will likely mostly or entirely happen off screen. Which will be exponentially more horrific happening in non book-readers imaginations. (Like Poe never specifically describing the horrors of the Pit in The Pit and the Pendulum. If you think you know that short story because you’ve seen the Vincent Price film - which only has the title in common - you don’t. Do yourself a favour and go read it. It’s free online at eapoe.org.) I think having Aemond hearing a report of an incident then racing to Helaena’s chamber and seeing Alicent trying to comfort Helaena cradling a pile of bloody sheets containing Jaehaerys’s headless corpse, then having Alicent take him quietly aside to explain in VO out of Helaena’s earshot while we see a silent montage of what happened up until they grab Jaehaerys instead, then back to Alicent telling Aemond of the killing blow with the shot focused on Helaena getting closer to her face, If we don’t get all of it in Alicent’s exposition with the camera on Helaena the entire time getting closer to her face. Then the growling rage on Aemond’s face…
  7. Viserys’s job is Protector of the Realm. That’s the gig. It’s not really a gig you can quit due to the risk of instability, death, war, and famine that would likely occur if he decided to peace-out of said gig. One of the most important parts of that gig is keeping the realm stable, and that entails securing the succession which means a male heir in the world where these characters exist. (Obviously, changing that is what gives us the story of instability and chaos anyway…) Aemma was a willing participant. By the time she was full term in this pregnancy, she’d had enough and told Viserys her participation in that endeavor was at an end. Unfortunately, she exists in the fictional world of Westeros with the equivalent medical science of 15th century England. Aemma has reached the point in her obstructed labor where she cannot survive. Viserys is given the information that she will die. That part is non-negotiable. The choices are: Be honest: Tell her she’s going to die, hope she’s rational at the point in the female delivery stage where she’s exponentially hopped up on very specific hormones and adrenaline so instinct and the drive to survive childbirth at all costs takes over your mind and body preventing you from going insane and forces you to assist passing a life form the size of an adult cat out of your genitalia if things go smoothly as designed. She accepts the news of her impending death calmly, as fact, and volunteers to have a quick death to attempt to save the child. Be honest, but… it causes her unimaginable stress and panic because of course it does because there’s no rationalizing your unavoidable death because your mind won’t allow that because your mind can’t biologically allow it during childbirth. She doesn’t have Bene Gesserit skills. Say nothing: Let them both die while trying to comfort her and communicate how much he loves her which she’ll likely be oblivious to due to the pain and violence of the ongoing labor which her body will continue until she’s dead. If her heart doesn’t fail from exhaustion, it will likely take a day or two depending mostly on how quickly sepsis sets in from the decaying corpse of the breech which will likely die from trauma and asphyxiation long before the mother. So she has lots of unimaginable pain ahead unless she’s given gallons of milk of the poppy. Be honest, but withhold telling her she’s terminal, giving no details and hope to give her a shorter time of panic and pain since that’s going to happen no matter what. Basically exactly what Viserys does in the show. I’m curious, what exactly would you have preferred Viserys do or say to Aemma at that moment? This is a “Yes, and…” exercise, like improv. You must choose one of the choices above. No cheating by wishing there was a time machine to go back and prevent any more pregnancies.
  8. That’s incorrect. Saving/choosing Aemma was never on the table. The choice was: “To sacrifice one, or lose them both.” The child was breech. All efforts to turn him had failed. Aemma wasn’t going to live through it no matter what. Attempting to save the child likely was a mercy for Aemma. Not attempting to save it would have prolonged her agony and inevitable slow and painful death. Google: obstructed labour and maternal mortality.
  9. He does indeed defend her, and I desperately hope (need it to be) more than just wanting what Aegon has, but Helaena does say it herself before Alicent and Otto come in looking for Aegon. ”It is our fate, I think, to crave always what is given to another. If one possess a thing, the other will take it away.” Nanny: Yes, Princess. (Alicent and Otto enter) Alicent: Where’s Aegon? Helaena: Not here. Otto: He’s not in his rooms. (Helaena looks down at her embroidery. Otto exits.) Alicent: Father Helaena: What’s happened? (Nanny leaves with the twins. Alicent sits next to Helaena.) Alicent: Your father- Helaena: There is a beast beneath the boards. Alicent: oh, my dearest love. (Alicent tries to comfort her, but Helaena pushes her hand away not wanting to be touched.) Aemond walks into the room and looks at her and Alicent with the closest thing to sympathy and actual caring/love that he’s had thus far… And sure, that comment could be about anything, including the Hightowers’s coup…and still might be. But why give Aemond the line in episode 7 about marrying Helaena and doing his duty after Aegon complaining about having nothing in common with their sister? Surely they could have related the Aegon’s-Helaena betrothal in a number of ways. Interesting they chose that one. And yes… I want it to happen so Aemond isn’t a one-note needs-a-mustache-to-twist super-villain in the vein of Ramsay and King Joffrey, so I’m likely fixating on those moments… Sure is fun though. And having Aemond be the father of her kids would give both of their story arcs more depth, agency, dimension, sympathy, and makes them both more tragic because they will have experienced some happiness.
  10. I agree with everything here except I absolutely loved Cole killing Joffrey. Show Cole is exponentially more of a three-dimensional human than book Cole. Beating Joffrey to death contained everything Cole had experienced up to that moment, made complete sense, and gave him far more realistic agency than the book, which it should, considering it’s supposed to be a history book, not dramatized history. Even though his offer to marry Rhaenyra and escape with her to a life he truly believes will not only restore his own honor and self worth, but will also free her and give her a life of happiness and freedom he believes she wants and deserves. But being a male of his time, he doesn’t consider her duty, her honor, and most of all, her opportunity to shatter the status quo by proving she and women everywhere are just as capable as men in addition to being brood mares. (We are multitasking ninjas!) Of course his first reaction would be the same reaction most women have had in the same situation throughout history. But as a man, even a commoner, he doesn’t entertain the possibility of rejection to his brilliant rescue plan or that he’s aiming out of his league at someone who doesn’t really have a choice. He’s just blind to the reality of her station because of her gender. If she was a male and had impregnated Cole’s sister, he’d never entertain the possibility the pair could run away together, and he’d chide his sister for putting herself in that position in the first place. (However, I’m sure part of his rage is directed at himself for that exact reason.) He never considered she wasn’t complaining about doing the job, only being forced into an arranged marriage on her father’s timetable. So he’s shocked, insulted, hurt because he’s in love with her, and now out of hope because he’s broken his vow, is angry at his own weakness, and angry at her rejecting what he honestly thought was a solution she’d embrace. (So many shades of Rhaegar running away with Lyanna.) Then top that off with Joffrey’s parlay, which Cole finds insulting to him for assuming he knows what’s going on (being found out), to Rhaenyra who he’s still in love with at that point and won’t tolerate his insolence, and it’s all taking place at a wedding he knows is a sham, and wishes it was his own wedding. It’s the perfect alignment of events to ignite the walking powder keg that is Ser Cristin Cole at that moment in time. I love the way they’ve written his character with time making him more bitter, angry, and seething with hate, because he can’t get over her. And Frankel plays it brilliantly.
  11. While I love the way the show handled Luke, I completely agree that show Aemond is much better than book Aemond. Regarding show Daemon, I think it’s clear (to me, anyway), that he’s been in love with Rhaenyra since forever. In Ep one it’s just a love of his niece, nothing sexual. She’s smart, witty, and demands to be treated as an equal which he finds surprisingly refreshing, and can’t help but admire and respect her especially being the only child of his brother the King being raised around a bunch of men who prefer to see her on the same level as Alicent: chattel. Daemon sees a lot of himself in Rhaenyra. In episode 2 when she flys to Dragonstone of her own accord and demands he either kill her or give her the egg and stop being a petulant child, it’s very much on par with the wooing scene from Taming of the Shrew in that he recognizes an equal in her. Someone as smart, witty, sees no reason tolerate his tantrum and won’t hesitate to call him out for it. She earns even more of his respect in that moment, and he begins to see her for the amazing woman she’s becoming. The entire reason (to me) that he has a physical issue with having sex with Rhaenyra at the pleasure house (and bails on her out of anger at himself), is because he actually loves and respects her deeply (something he may never have realized until that moment), and knows he doesn’t want to cheapen his experience with her and/or risk ruining her sexual future by causing any trauma that might come with the shame of having her first time be anything less than amazing which (in his mind) couldn’t possibly be in a seedy pleasure house. Even the crazy horrific rage-choking scene in Ep 10 seems rooted in his esteem for her and the disappointment, frustration, and anger at himself for believing at that moment (from his perspective because he’s completely unaware of the prophecy), she’s ineffectual like Viserys (and that could be fatal for all of them.) It’s no surprise to Rhaenyra once she figures out why he feels that way when she starts talking about Aegon’s dream that Viserys told her about, because he believes/needs her to be better than her father who, “…was a slave to his omens and portents.” because his reaction is the tell that Viserys never told him nor showed him the evidence etched into the dagger. The scenes just after her miscarriage show both their grief, and are amazing in their simplicity. I just love the chemistry that Emma and Matt have together. George has made it clear he left television because he got sick of the network suits telling him to rewrite scripts because they were too expensive to shoot, so he bailed to write the story he wanted to write even if that meant it stayed on the page. So I cannot fathom he’d ever sign away his IP completely to anyone. Not D&D. Not HBO. Not anyone. George knows, likely more than most, how adaptations from written word storytelling to visual storytelling must make narrative changes. (House of the Undying is visually all spoilers as written.) He agreed to that concept when he chose to allow this journey we’re all on. However that doesn’t mean he ever agreed to allow full rein.
  12. While it was amazing, the sapphire is exponentially more expensive than the eyepatch, and I personally think there’s better use for that part of the budget. Also, the less we see of it, the the longer it will remain awesome.
  13. I’m sure he’d be relieved having Aemond take over since he was very vocal of not finding her to his tastes back in Ep 7. And it’s, “Mostly ignores… unless he’s drunk.” Which I took to mean that’s when he tries, because he’s too plowed to care who she is, but alcohol has rendered him unable. Every line they’ve given her thus far has a future meaning, including her first lines about the 60-ringed bug with eyes but cannot see, and two-pairs of legs on each ring, except the last ring with no legs. Perhaps it’s Aegon himself. The last ring being after his injuries with the fight with Baela since Sunfyre never flies again. I can’t quiet work out what the 60 (59 with two pairs of legs?) mean. Some measure of time maybe? The number of his bastards (two pairs of legs = the sexual encounters making each one? Having said that, it might be closer to when she said it, as everything else she’s said come soon after her statements. Someone pointed out she’s the infant earlier in the season who won’t stop crying when Alicent is holder her, likely because she doesn’t like being touched. I can see Helaena being the one person Aemond is completely kind and gentle with. And even if I am overthinking it, so what? It’s fun.
  14. To be fair, HOTD shoots on a Volume when they’re not on location or in smaller interiors where it’s not needed. That tech didn’t exist when GOT was in production. The Mandalorian was the first to shoot on one.
  15. Makes complete sense in the show: Aegon confesses to Aemond in Ep 7 at Laena’s funeral that he has no interest in Helaena whatsoever, and Aemond responds he’d happily do his duty if he was the one who’d been betrothed to her. What she says about Aegon in her toast to Baela and Rhaena at the dinner in Ep 8, regarding marriage, “Mostly he just ignores you… except when he’s really drunk.” Sounds like a straight up confession how there’s little to no chance they’ve ever had sex. Her reaction to Otto asking her, “He’s not in his rooms?” in Ep 9 and- The way she and Aemond look at each other when he walks into that room in the same scene after Otto’s exit. It also makes complete sense for his reaction after he realizes just how much damage he’s done and the ramifications going forward of hanging onto his animosity towards Luc at the end of Ep 10. I would LOVE it if that’s the direction the show is going.
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