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  1. A lot of people seem to hate the capture-a-zombie scheme. Fair enough, if you don't like it, you don't like it. I'm curious though -- do people think this is going to be a show-only plotline? Are they going to be angry about it if it shows up in the books too? 'Cos I'm pretty convinced it will do. Everyone did notice that Jon Snow just travelled through the icy wastelands to the ancient centre of power of the Children, where they first created the WW, right? With 12 companions, a dog, a horse and a sword? Jon is fulfilling the Last Hero role, Dany the Azor Ahai role -- the champions of Ice and of Fire.
  2. Subjective feelings are the only thing that can be discussed when the scale is subjective, which an undefined scale is. "Us" as in those of us answering the question. It's not a universal yes or no answer -- it will make some people think, it will not make other people think. Again, this is subjective. I entirely agree that a subjective judgement should not be considered equal to an objective judgement, but some things can only really be judged subjectively. Is GoT better than Breaking Bad? Does chicken taste nicer than lamb? Tastes differ. We could of course discuss elements of the show from an objective viewpoint -- does character motivation make sense, is it well acted, does the pacing hold up, so on. However when the question is "how do you rate this episode", that's not the question being asked. I said "Maybe that's because..." not "That is because..." because I *don't* know that. It was an example. Nor do I expect everyone to be as tolerant of it as me -- I did indeed say "well fair enough". However this too is a subjective matter. You say "GoT often doesn't make any sense at all, and you can't expect everyone to be as tolerant about it as you are," but what makes one person more tolerant than another? Why does a bit of nonsense in GoT raise such ire and intolerance amongst some fans? Is it really so much more nonsensical than other shows? I really don't think so. Consider the eagles problem in LoTR, for example. Or how nobody can tell that Clark Kent is Superman because he wears glasses. These are examples of grade A nonsense that anything GoT has done pales in comparison to, but the almost universal reaction is to have a bit of a laugh about it, make a meme or two out of it, and shrug your shoulders. We can of course objectively discuss the degree of nonsense there is in GoT (though even the discussions of that are rarely objective), but how important that is to our enjoyment of the show remains entirely subjective.
  3. The problem is that there can be no basis for objective judgement without specifying the nature of that judgement. We're asked to score the show from 1-10, but on what basis? Is this a rating of the literary qualities of the show? Of its entertainment value? Of how accurately it follows the books? That isn't specified. On top of that, what does a rating of x actually mean? Does a 10 mean absolute perfection and a 1 mean absolute failure, in which case those scores should never be given? If so, what's the point of having them? Or should we see the scores as percentiles, in which case a 10 is simply a way of saying it's one of the best 10% of episodes. Or should that be amongst the best 10% of TV shows in general? Or maybe it's a logarithmic scale, and the extremes are the best or worst 0.1%? I chose to judge the show based on the simple calculus of how much I enjoyed the hour spent watching the show. This is, after all, entertainment. Entertainment is a good basis for judgement because it encompasses a lot of separate factors. Is there spectacle? Did it make us think? Did the acting transport us? Everything comes into it. This episode was undoubtedly flawed, and there were many nits to pick. Nevertheless I gave it a 10 on the simple basis that I'm hard pressed to think of an hour I spent watching a TV show that I enjoyed as much as this. What's the point of having a 10 in the scale if you won't give it? Was Arya's fight with Brienne a bit silly? Yes, yes it was. However that doesn't really bother me, and it was fun to watch. Someone else might be more bothered by it, to the degree that it significantly mars their enjoyment of the show. And hey ho, we're back to subjectivity. I assume that people who scored it a 1 are working on a similar basis to me. They really, really, didn't enjoy the show. For whatever subjective reason, they hated spending an hour watching it, felt their time had been stolen. Maybe that's because they were impassioned to see a show that fitted their expectations from the book, and didn't get that. Well, fair enough, though it baffles me that anyone who would score this episode a 1 would bother watching the show at all. That's a lot more sensible than suggesting they honestly thought that it was worse than 90% of the programming on television, for example.
  4. This is very much my guess, though I can add a couple of thoughts. Firstly, I think these numbers are a bit more precise: Stannis: 1000+ (<1500 at the wall, some left at the wall, some died en route). A few dozen horses left. Northern hill tribes: 3000ish assorted foot. Karstark men: 400 spears, 40ish archers, a dozen horse. Others: 500+ assorted Mormont, Hornwood, Cerwyn, Tallhart, random. Total: Around 5000 (Stannis' letter to Jon) Freys: At most 1500 foot, 500 cavalry Manderly: 300 cavalry With the expected Karstark betrayal, that makes by Roose's count 1940 foot and 812 horse against >4500 foot. Even with the advantage of the Karstark betrayal and the poor state of Stannis' army, Roose can't be expecting that to be an easy fight for the force he sent. Theon expects Ramsay to be following along behind, presumably to mop up after Stannis and the Freys & Manderlys have weakened each other considerably. What's left at Winterfell? I don't think we can do better than 2500-4000 Bolton men and unknown others. Theon says there are more men at Winterfell than Stannis has, but that might include the Frey forces. A third force? Manderly seems to be making a play, with very few men at hand. There may be another Manderly force in the area. So if the Freys fall into the ice lake trap, and are charged from behind by the Manderly men (possibly including another hidden Manderly army), we could see the Frey forces slaughtered with little loss to Stannis, and Stannis could find himself with some new options. Stannis gets the maester to send a raven to Winterfell, claiming that Stannis has been defeated and requesting more men to help mop up. This brings more men out of Winterfell, splitting the Bolton forces further. What's more, this might bring Roose out rather than Ramsey. With the belief that things are now pretty secure, Roose might want the glory. With the real battle believed over, some of the other Northern lords might start leaving, and there would be less tension at Winterfell, so Ramsay might be trusted to run things for a few days. This would leave Ramsay in charge at Winterfell, less cautious than Roose. Under strict orders from dad to reign in his flaying instincts while there are other northern lords present, we've got the perfect situation for an angry Ramsay to write the Pink Letter in the form we see it. We also have the pieces in place for Stannis to make a plan for taking Winterfell that would set up the contents of the Pink Letter nicely. Step 1. Surviving Frey, Karstark and Manderly forces return to Winterfell, bringing lightbringer as proof of the victory, and a bunch of heads. The Freys are in fact Stannis' men dressed up in Frey gear. We now have Winterfell held by perhaps 1000 Bolton men, 1000 northerners of dubious loyalty, and 1000 men secretly on the other side. (Stir-crazy Ramsay, frustrated at not being allowed to flay Mance in front of the northern lords and wound up by Crowfood's men outside, learns from the returning fake Freys that Stannis sent "Arya" to the wall, blows a fuse and writes the Pink Letter while frothing at the mouth). Step 2. Stannis' men on the inside plan to open the doors to Stannis' army. 4000ish on Stannis' side, 1000 Bolton men, and 1000 northerners who'll probably very quickly switch loyalties. There's probably no fight. Step 3. Stannis has 5-6000 men inside Winterfell, Roose has a couple of thousand outside Winterfell. Roose isn't stupid. Game over. Step 4. Optional sneakly Stannis-doesn't-know random just for fun speculation bit, if all the rest falls into place: Roose high-tails it to the Dreadfort and finds his small forces left there have fallen to a large Manderly force. Manderly claims Hornwood and Dreadfort lands.
  5. I couldn't find this one, but I'm convinced it's a nod, so:
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