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  1. Apologies for bringing up this thread but it has much important stuff going on. Many fans contributing well-researched, well thought-out analyses and thoughts and speculations, of the symbolic reading kind. It enriches our reading, our experience, our understanding of the books. You might not agree with all the interpretations, and your reading, your experience, your understanding is different, but all are good to have. The diligent English-language search for puns/word play is fun and fruitful, contrasted with the posited foreign language puns/word play. I think this should be addressed. If positing puns/anagrams/whatever in a foreign language (eg. German), we should know if GRRM actually knows that language well enough to do that and give obscure clues and hints. To only those readers who know German (or whatever language is posited), rather than his main audience: ordinary U.S. readers, few of whom have any deeper knowledge or understanding of a foreign language. I'm a professional translator and one thing I know. Puns cannot be translated, they're language/culture specific, and translations are always approximations. The kind of analysis being done here ignores this fact and is, frankly, anglocentric (or US-English centric). Appropriating words from other languages as suits their English language interpretations, without heed to the deeper connotations and meanings the words have in their own languages and cultures.This is almost offensive, to GRRM and to speakers of other languages. GRRM has written all of his output in English,US English, and English is the language we should interpret and analyse his works in. This also raises another question. Does GRRM think his readers are as proficient and able to "decode" the putative foreign language puns/word play? He cannot "pun", easily and freely, switch between languages, if his readers (not you, nerds! :-) ) are mostly left baffled and have no way of decoding or understanding because they don't know the right foreign language. They might only know the wrong foreign languages, like Finnish, Swedish, Russian, whatever. U.S. readers mostly have nonexistent to very poor to shaky foreign language skills, GRRM doesn't seem like one to make his writing unintelligible to the them, his main audience. He'll write in U.S. English, his native language. It helps if you know some basic European (western culture) history and mythology, Latin, stuff like that. One thing I find interesting is how U.S. and European culture have diverged in the past 300-200 years, and it shows, but that's another story and not one for here.
  2. I'm dragging up this thread because I admire all the work you've done, all the food for thought you've given. I don't agree with many of the - to me - tenuous pun/word play "links" like anagrams or foreign language "hints" but this kind of idea swapping will produce some gems in the end, it's good that this kind of conversation is going on. We'll all be enriched by it. One query I have, though. Does anybody know GRRM's German skills? In the 1980s in the US, you needed to have taken a year or two of a foreign language in high school to get into university. (At least in the states I lived in). Maybe it was similar when GRRM applied? So he might well have some knowledge of German. Or French or Spanish or whatever. To make cryptic foreign language word plays in his books. Right? In my country, you don't even get to university without having done 2 foreign languages in high school. At university, you have to demonstrate a certain level of knowledge of 3 foreign languages. The easiest is reading comprehension, then listening comprehension, writing, speaking... aaw, I actually fluently speak 3 or 4 languages. Make terrible grammar mistakes, though. I can properly write only two, mine own and English. I salute Missandei of the Island of Naath for her superior linguistic skills.
  3. If you've read the books, there's a "foreshadowing" of Edd becoming the Lord Commander. Pyp (or someone) names him in the votes that Jon eventually wins, and Edd dolorously says yeah, right, I'll be harboured with it. We all love Edd, and how dolorious his life is. About to get even more dolorious. Poor guy. :-)
  4. Poor Dolorous Edd thinks he might be the Lord Commander now, so in charge of everything that goes on in the Night's Watch. Even the food. Not that he'd cook it but he's the cooks' boss. And trying to be a gracious host to a highborn lady or two (Sansa and Brienne). Out of his depth, but top marks for trying. We all love Dolorous Edd, don't we? Oh, and the TV show version of CB cook, "Three-finger Hob" maybe died in the battle for the Wall. He was the one who killed some wildlings with a meat cleaver in the mess hall.
  5. Vaes Dothrak – it’s now Khalar Vezhven, the meeting of the Khals. Khal Moro is obviously a fairly reasonable guy, except when it comes to traditions. – blink and you’ll miss it, but Dany gave a good look at those nice braziers when she was led to the khals. – the khals bow to the Dosh Khaleens who bring Dany. I think that was a nice touch, showed how the khals respect the Dosh Khaleen. Then it all kicks off. Gods, I loved it when Dany called all the khals “small men” Ouch! It’s nice that the temple was so flammable. The Unburnt walks out, and all bow to her. Job done. Now, Jorah and Daario. Jorah just saw confirmation of his faith. But Daario? I saw “oh shit” “WTF” “oh, I’d better bow” in his eyes. He’ll betray Dany. What I really liked about the scene, it wasn’t Drogon come to save mummy again. Dany did it on her own. The Unburnt doesn’t need dragons. (And cue internet wars about whether show!/book! Dany is immune to fire… Yawn.) One thing that this episode left me wondering… Dany’s solution to her khal problem. Burn them all. Her daddy, the Mad King, used that phrase, “Burn them all!”, before Jaime Lannister made sure he couldn’t. The reviled man. We like Dany and cheer her and let her do atrocious things because we like her, but, really… Dany in Westeros? “Burn them all!”?
  6. Castle Black – some levity with that awkward meal scene. Not quite the last supper, despite the beautiful light falling on them. Edd, Jon, Tormund on one side, Sansa, Brienne and Pod on the other. Ooooh, I loved it how slightly snobby southron lady Brienne was appalled by the table manners of Edd, Jon and especially Tormund. And then Tormund’s look… Tormund likes the look of the wench. Tall, strong, fighter. A woman after Tormund’s heart. Sorry, Tormund, she loves another. The levity stops when the Pink Letter arrives. Rickon is a shock but big bro Jon only stops reading when… Sansa grabs the letter. Your sister will be raped by my men etc. etc. Jon’s tired of fighting. Sansa eggs him on. Little brother, home, your father was the last true Warden of the North, Lord of Winterfell. And then he nods. I really loved this scene. It starts with some comedy but then gets serious and dark. Loved the music slowly building up and then taking over. And I squeed! Jon and Sansa, the North, the Starks, squeeeee!
  7. The Iron Islands – everybody, of course, draws the parallel of Theon arriving at Pyke in season 2 (all lordy-lordy arrogance) and this Reek/Theon one. It’s heartbreaking. And Yara sitting on the chair in front of the Kraken fireplace, just like Balon. Ominous. I can understand Yara’s anger and suspicion, but man, did I get the feels when Theon stammered out ” You should rule the Iron Islands. I’ll help you.” Now, where’s Euron? Yara and Theon don’t stand a chance against him. Winterfell – well, it begins and ends with Ramsay flaying an apple. Not a very subtle cinematic cue, but I liked it nevertheless. Osha was so great, for a while I thought she might pull it off. She was using the same tactics she used before, on Theon… But, alas, Ramsay is a psychopath, unlike Theon. But the music and the camera… the suspense… will she get the knife… Of course not, we knew she was a goner. RIP Osha, and Natalie Tena. I’m just glad that her exit scene was such a good, tense one.
  8. King’s Landing – Marg is taken to the High Sparrow. Loved it how she was blinded by the light. A well-known torture technique. Marg holds her own agaist the HS. Quotes the Book of the Stranger, verse 25. HS tells her his backstory, and you can see cogs turning in her head. Marg and Loras. He’s given up, Marg tries to rally him, she hasn’t given up. She’s shocked at the state and unfight in Loras. She’ll never give up. She’ll do whatever it takes, she rejects the religion his brother might be embracing. As a cinematographic thing. The camera zooms in closer and closer to the HS. He never looks at Marg, looks to the side, to the past… until he nails his eyes on Marg! So scary and effective! Cersei interrupts Pycelle counselling the king. I lol’d when Pycelle slowly shuffeled himself out, chain clinking and taking his sweet old man time. Just to annoy Cersei. haha! Small victories. We get yet another masterclass of motherly manipulation. Poor Tommen tries to do his own thing but Cersei grabs his chin. “Look at me. What did they do to me, the King’s own mother!” Poor Tommen articulates something he’s known for some time. “You don’t like Margaery, do you?” Cersei brushes it off, pretends it doesn’t matter… AND turns away from Tommen, walks away from him. Nice mum. Gods, I loved that scene! Cersei is so gooood at manipulating poor Tommen. She only faltered for a heartbeat when she heard Tommen had been seeing the High Sparrow, a surprise to her. She showed a bit of her anger there, but almost immediately got it under control and made it work for her. “I am your mother, you can always trust me.” And she places her hand on his chest, in a semi-aggressive gesture. We viewers get the idea Tommen’s going to spill the beans about the High Sparrow and his plans because he draws breath to talk… before we’re cut away. I loved, loved, loved how the Small Council chamber was shot from above in the beginning and then at a key moment. (Loved the way Olenna’s skirt spilled. An aesthetically pleasing picture.) Now, as a book-reader, I’m a bit amazed that Cersei can be so astute and intelligent, and put personal grudges and grievances aside. It’s the right thing to do, and she convinces Kevan (the Lancel thing) and Olenna. And Jaime is her lapdog. Show!Jaime’s and Show!Cersei’s plan is, of course, a good, smart one. Let’s stop bickering amongst ourselves, let’s take down the High Sparrow first. It is still personal to Cersei, but she can couch it as a wider cause. We saw Lena Heady’s Cersei at her manipulative best. Gods she’s good! Oh, and Jaime? Grow a pair! Leave Cersei, otherwise Tormund’s gonna take your girl! Wake up! Wake up! Wake up!
  9. Vaes Dothrak – Everybody’s favourite bro-duo gets there. Daario needles Jorah for being an old man. (Jorah needs to catch his breath for a while as they climb – is the greyscale affecting him?) The most important point from this scene is, of course, that now Daario knows about Jorah’s greyscale. It’ll have to pay off in some way. On a slightly less elevated level… When Jorah began to take off his sword belt, I thought he was unlacing his breeches to take a piss. Kinda ruined the drama of the scene for me. Oh, and Jorah’s legendary shirt. Poor Jorah, he’s been wearing it since season 1. I’m told it’s been washed in between but this scene showed good sweat patches on a dirty, dusty rag. Dany is being taught, even mentored, by the old crone, and she isn’t too far off. As Dosh Khaleen, these women have some power and influence, as opposed to khaleesis of living khals or widows of lesser men. Good shots of those nice braziers, too. Dany doesn’t give a shit and goes for a piss, escorted by the young widow (neon lights: she might play a role later). Oh, and it’s Jorah and Daario! Whoopidoo! Jorah and Daario want to try to sneak her out or die trying, but Dany has other plans… Aaand we’re taken off to King’s Landing! I just don’t understand how or when Dany came up with her plan? Why is she so confident fire magic will work again? Why is she so confident she won’t burn?
  10. Meereen – why isn’t anybody mentioning the 2 dragons at large? For the second episode running! Did they just fly away?!? Grey Worm and Missandei are NOT HAPPY with how Tyrion is handling things. Tyrion is being a tad arrogant. “A wise man once said…” This is the second time he says that, and both times it refers to him. Is Tyrion a wise man? We get a payoff when Missy quotes him to the freedmen. Missy and GW reluctantly back up Tyrion but they’re NOT HAPPY. Missy’s and GW’s mindset is so totally different from Tyrion’s. I loved Missandei’s burn: “How many days were you a slave?” I see trouble ahead… (GW’s dagger wasn’t as prominent in the shots as it was in the previous episode, but it was there. Just saying.) Anybody else notice how Tyrion brazenly presumed to speak for the Queen? Missy and GW didn’t like that. There was some levity with Tyrion’s bad Valyrian (“… you wait for so fat a time…”) and his brilliant move to step down those throne room steps… but, nah. They’re in trouble with every faction in Meereen and amongst themselves.
  11. The Vale – well, Sweetrobin is still an inept little shit. Loved Bronze Yohn Royce’s deep sigh before he puts on an encouraging smile. Littlefinger’s back! Uncle Petyr! Even more devious than before! Let’s give the boy lord a prezzie and hey presto! he’ll do whatever I want him to do. I loved the closeup of the falcon. Gyrfalcons are quite rare, I've only seen them once in the wild, in the far north of my country. A worthy present. I felt a bit sorry for Bronze Yohn Royce. He’s a man like Ned Stark. Loyal and honourable. Can never win against dishonourable people. Sweetrobin’s really a real little shit. Moon Door for Bronze Yohn? OK, fine, not then. I’ll help my cousin Sansa – just as LF wanted – and call the Knights of the Vale. Whatevs. OK, Sweetrobin’s a shit, LF is übershit, but if they’re going to help Sansa & co. against the Boltons, I’m fine with it. Expediency. I love how this show makes moral relativists of us all.
  12. Castle Black – OK, the episode starts with a closeup of Longclaw. Jon’s leaving, attempts humour (I’ll go south and get warm) but Edd’s not taking any of that. He reminds Jon of Hardhome, what’s coming, his vows… But they’re saved by the bell. Or the horn. Brienne, Pod and Sansa enter CB, and Tormund takes a looong look, and I don’t think that was at Pod or Sansa. Then the feeeels. Jon sees Sansa. Wonderment. Walk. Pause. Hug. I welled up. Aah, a Stark reunion, at long last! Snif. The siblings alone together. Childhood memories. Sansa apologises for being an arse, Jon laughingly brushes it off, he was sulking in the corner anyway. Sansa is almost playful, a sister to a brother. Then it gets serious. They should never have left WF. She wants WF back. Jon’s tired of fighting. He’s fought every day since leaving WF, he had to execute a boy younger than Rickon, he’s done. Meanwhile, elsewhere in CB, Davos confronts Mel. She’ll now follow Jon Snow, the Prince that was Promised. Davos is sceptical, wasn’t Stannis supposed to be the one? I loved that scene, practical Davos doubting unsure/lost faith Mel nearly as much as she doubts herself. And just as Davos is asking Mel about what happened to Shireen, Brienne butts in. Stannis murdered Renly by blood magic. Ooooh, that Brienne-Mel glare! And she executed Stannis. Davos and Mel are both shocked at that. Shireen’s fate is forgotten for the moment, but these three are in for sooo much trouble. It’s delicious. (I hope Davos and Brienne emerge alive from it.)
  13. There were several subtle and not-so-subtle cinematic things I liked. It all begins with a closeup of Longclaw. The Old Bear’s sword, Lord Commander’s sword, Jon’s sword. Immediately taking us into the conflicts of vows and identities, before Edd even says a word. Other closeups in the episode: the gyrfalcon while LF manipulates Sweetrobin and Lord Royce. The worm/bug in Marg’s dungeon. Zooming ever closer in on the High Sparrow as he tells his story. The knife on Ramsay’s table. Dany’s hand on the brazier. Another cinematic device. People in light framed by a tunnel/some dark indoors. Davos and Mel on the CB walkway. Davos, Mel and Brienne in the CB courtyard. Cersei before she confronts Tommen and Pycelle. Even Marg when she’s taken to the High Sparrow has a shade of that. I loved the “above” shot of the small council. First, it’s just Kevan and Olenna, waiting, two empty chairs (for Pycelle and Mace, presumably). Cersei and Jaime burst in, and the next “above” shot we get is Olenna and then Kevan sitting down, now with Cersei and Jaime in the frame, ready to take their places. Theon on a ship approaching Pyke. Who doesn’t compare and contrast that to his appraching Pyke in season 2, all lordly and arrogant, and now… Yara sitting at the Kraken fireplace like Balon. It was the exact image we had in season 2. The not-so-subtle but still fun cinematic thing. Ramsay starts and ends the scene with semi or full closeups of him flaying an apple. OK, the focus on the knife on the table was a bit flashing neon lights… but it didn’t work for Osha. Am I the only one who’s been on the lookout for shots of Grey Worm’s dagger? It was so prominent in the last episode, in a frame with Tyrion, that I looked. It’s still there, not as obviously as last episode, but still there. Blink and you’ll miss it, but when Dany is led before the Khals, she takes a look at those nice braziers. From then on, you know what’s going to happen.
  14. Sorry, late to the party as ever. I blame my HBO Nodic online thingy, can't get episodes until 24hrs later than US screening. And then IRL things intervening. First thoughts: – strange seeing Jon Snow in anything but black. And the man-bun!!! – OK, who ships Tormund and Brienne now? – LF is even worse than ever and Sweetrobin is still a little shit… but that’s OK because they’re going to help the Stark cause! – nobody mentions the 2 dragons at large, for the second episode running! Did they just fly away or something?!?! – love the Dothraki language – badass Dany is back, complete with epic music!!! – much trouble brewing here and there
  15. "I wish you good fortune in the wars to come." I explained my understanding above. Arthur Dayne isn't thinking of his wars but Ned's. Arthur Dayne knows that if he dies and Ned survives, Ned will have to face the wars to come. Because AD knows the secret hiding inside the tower. Yeah, maybe AD was a bit resigned to fate, but wouldn't you be if you were 2 against 6? The best swordsman in the Seven Kingdoms isn't an invincible superhero. He was quite gracious to Ned. Almost like passing the baton.
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