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[Book Spoilers] EP404 Discussion


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I don't feel spoiled at all by the ending. We now know perhaps another canon fact about the Others, but we don't know any of the implications here. Maybe we just have even more questions. :)

Do the babies grow into....? Full grown Others? Babies are pretty useless when it comes to killing people so I am assuming they may be growing an army. That would take some time to do. This is interesting. Or perhaps this is how they procreate, and this kind of thing isn't very prevalent. Any ideas?

It's also interesting to remember they only get Males, at least from Craster. This may be their only way of growing in numbers. Have they been stealing babies from the wildlings all this time? Are there female Others?

Episode was interesting, they strayed a lot, I don't like that Jon knows about Bran. I guess the whole Craster's Keep stuff is interesting. But so now Jon goes out there, then comes back fights to defend the back of the wall, fights to defend the front of the wall?

I have a theory that perhaps Coldhands comes before Jon and the rest of the Nights Watch and saves Bran and the others, destroying everyone in Crasters, sending them fleeing. Leaving Jon and them to happen upon an empty destroyed Craster's Keep.

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My pet theory was that Margaery was drinking the moon tea to keep her relations with Tommen secret, but I could be wrong.

Not much need for moon tea when guy is eight years old ... might start worrying when he is 12 or 13 ...

Btw where was it explained in the books that the WW are ruled by the "Great Other/Night's King"? I can't remember that. Everybody in the WIC comments section seems to regard it as an established fact ...?

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This was how I felt too. I love the first 40 minutes of this episode. I sat confused at all the Craster's Keep stuff, then I loved the Other ending. I didn't hate the Craster's Keep stuff but it was so strange. I don't understand why they needed to have Jon know about Bran but I'll reserve judgement to see what happens.

I think they needed to do this to put him on screen.
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And the NK, or whoever he was, had on decent clothes, black to be specific. The other Walkers we've seen have been half dressed in rags.

If that's supposed to be the nights king, how will D&D portray that to the unsullied? Or just let it be. We're getting into some very dangerous waters here.

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I'm really annoyed with this constant response to the valid criticism that the show seems to use rape scenes for sensation. No one here has said " those NW men woldn't rape" They just are annoyed with having to see it on the screen. We saw a guy drinking from Mormont's school while a bruised and battered woman sat next to him. Was anyone at all confused by what these guys were doing? What that ten seconds of "rape them til they're dead" and boobs flapping necessary to the plot? Also, apparently men being raped is something that occurs in this world but for some reason we only see it threatened...wonder why?

People can legitimately be annoyed by the fact that with other things that are cut there always seems to be enough time for the rape scenes so maybe for once one of you guys can stop acting like these people are too stupid to understand the world and give a cognizant argument why that scene added something we didn't already know and understand about the show for once?

I get it. Rape is not something to be discussed about lightly. People who rape women are cowards, pathetic, terrible humans. That's clear. If you want to argue that Jaime and Cersei's scene last episode was not necessary I'm fine with that. This episode though, I disagree. I felt it was fine for them to show it for impact. These are the some of the worst humans in Westeros here. Again, people who have already committed murder, rape, etc. This is HBO here. Just because we see a woman sitting by Karl with a fat lip and a bruise we are to assume she was raped? We see Cersei walking around in season 1 with bruises on her cheek so we should probably assumed she was raped also? Now, because they showed it how they did, as an audience we know these guys are f****** scum, and we are rooting for them to be agonizingly killed. I don't think they are just including it to "meet their nude quota" as so many people like to say. I hope this is the last we see of anything that even implies that a rape might be happening in the series, but I don't think they are out of line here with this episode. They wanted it to be a jarring scene for the audience, and they achieved that, Much more so than if we just saw them sitting in a circle talking.

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Its hard to say that this was the weakest episode of the season, because last week they ruined the best character in the series in 35 seconds.


What I Liked:

“I Want to Fight for the Side That Doesn't Allow Babies to Die in the Snow, or Worse -Feed Them to a Fucking Freezing Zombie Army. Because That Shit is Fucked Up! It’s a Harbinger of Chaos, Anarchy and Ruin. And it Makes For Some Fucked Up Television Viewing When You Area in a Room with Two Pregnant Woman. That Shit is Fucked.” - Jon Snow (in my mind). So, when I watched the dumpy guy take the last of Craster’s sons out to die in the snow, it almost made me wretch. Watching a helpless baby be left in the snow to die- listening to it cry, watching it struggle to stay warm- was a heart-wrenching, physically uncomfortable thing for me to watch. And as I was watching it – with friends, two of whom are pregnant women- I was almost shivering- not from the cold –but from my nerves not wanting to listen to a little baby die in the cold, alone.

And that was powerful. Deeply, gut-wrenchingly powerful. Maybe a tad unnecessary, though, but I admire the guts it took to stay on that sound of the baby crying. I like the push-the-envelope way of making that scene.

And it made me realize that whether or not the enemies on the other side of the Wall are the Walkers, depraved wildinglings or the barbarism that comes from living without any rules, the “Realms of Men” has to stand for something. And a society that allows its babies to die in the snow OR that allows its men to rape OR that allows any form of slavery OR that allows rules, rights, and property to be eradicated so cavalierly (where it’s the Hound last week or Cersei with Tyrion this one) if we root for ANYONE in this show it HAS TO BE the people that will stand up against that kind of lawlessness, cruelty, depravity and ruin. That person can be Dany, Stannis or maybe even Tommen. But Westeroes needs that person, fast. I think the show made a strong case for this world's need for those kinds of people.

The Redemption: In order to read this you almost have to ignore the butcher job the show did on Jaime last week. You have to ignore the fact that Jaime raped Cersei last week and just do what I did- just pretend they left the part where Cersei said “yes” on the cutting room floor because the director and show runners apparently don’t know what rape is. So…

Jaime’s dilemmas are well thought-out; his decision-making process is exceptional. His sister is trying to murder his brother who may have killed his son (who Jaime is pretending is his nephew) while his father tries to be the one man to rule them all. The actor and the writing for Jaime have been (with one open, obvious and troubling exception) exceptional. He is becoming a different man not because it’s a cheap way to get the actor some face-time (though, the man owns it when he’s on-screen); it is a detailed and hard look at a man who must “reinvent” himself in a world where that does not happen much at all. He does the right things. And for the right reasons and NONE OF IT is easy. Fuck, Jaime’s easiest decision was probably whether or not to kill Aerys.

The scene with him and Tyrion was as good as a scene between two witty and intelligent men can be; Jaime’s line that shut Tyrion’s mouth (the clear sign of the character's virtue) was exquisite.

And the look he shared with Brienne at the end. JEsus, they both wanted to say one thing more …. The things we do for love….

A Slave Revolt (without the 600 pages of double-speak): Others have made a good observations that maybe the slave revolt that broke Mereen came to Dany too easily. I can see that. But you know what’s worse? Having to stand around reading needless chapters about something that YOU KNOW IS GOING TO HAPPEN ANYWAY! Just … where is the chase and how do I cut to it? D&D cut to the chase and gave people a good duality between “freedom” and “slavery.” People want to be free even though they may have been conditioned to or even born into slavery. They may be told- day after day – that their lives belong to others AND (worse) that they should be grateful for their chains. And that has been true for the United States circa 1858 to Sparta 444BC. Slave-owners have made an art-form of declaring that THEIR slaves not only SHOULD be slaves, but WANT To be slaves (there are a host of bullshit stories from Sparta to South Carolina that describe this condition; it’s a load). But given the choice?

Better to live a DAY free than a lifetime in chains. Even if that one day was at Craster’s Keep…. A baby born who becomes a White Walker? How much better is that than being a slave your whole life?

And what of the woman who freed them? The show kept the nailed-slave masters and showed how BRUTAL she can be and how she REFUSES to step-outside her own cycle of cruelty. This is while Barristan looks on and wonders (to himself, wisely) “Is she just or Mad? Or both?” And all the while, Dany is putting more and more people on her back., leading them to… what? Salvation? Freedom? Westeroes? To me, those few scenes encapsulated the fight for Dany’s soul: she is bringing freedom to people and, in doing so, may be chaining herself to their misery. Dany is the only character we look at and must think “Are… are we watching the birth of a villain?” And in this world, can we tell the difference anymore?

The Future Killer: Sansa’s education is off to a perfect start and I like how the show unveiled not only her understanding but that the show didn’t beat around the bush to reveal who killed Joff. Regardless, Tyrion’s one line about Sansa (“She’s not a killer… not yet anyway….”) was the perfect blend of honesty and foreshadowing.

The King and the Queen (Third Time’s a Charm): Good scene, utterly unrealistic, but I can live with it. Showed that Maergery can play the game a number of different ways. Well done. And I was SO GRATEFUL they did not have sex because that would have spawned a “point/counter-point” on this week’s rape scene v. last week’s rape scene.

Jon Snow, Now With a Pulse: I liked that Jon in the show has more life and more complexity than the emmo-fuck in the books. I think his speech to his brothers was legit AND it sets up his promotion nicely. And I really like that he knows about Bran. MUCH better than the alternative (which was in the book and makes no sense, not even a little).

What I am on the Fence About:

The Atlanta of the World Beyond the Wall: The city of Atlanta, Georgia is a gigantic airline hub; almost every flight that crosses into that area stops in Atlanta. There is a saying among people in the South, “When you die you may be going to heaven or you may be going to Hell, but you will sure have to stop to change flights in Atlanta.”

So… does EVERYONE is the great, vast Arctic hell that is the Land Beyond the Wall HAVE To stop at Craster’s Keep? Let’s see… Jon Snow, Bran, the Night’s Watch, the White Walkers (who use it as the worst take-out joint in Westeroes), etc – they all stop into this place… in a world that has been described as so vast you cannot keep track of anything. But now we have … everyone … here… Jojen, Rast, Ghost… the gang is all here…

And why are the Black-Brother Mutineers keeping Ghost? Who the fuck knows OTHER THAN as a convenient plot devise. Which has me concerned...

Now, the question is will this be a useful plot point OR a shameless plot devise? Martin has said- repeatedly –that the hardest character for him to write was Bran and this is true in the books where Bran does very very little. The shoe cannot keep paying these actors to walk around for 10 episodes and have all of 3 scenes. They have to DO something. And … now they are.

And it looks so painfully contrived. So utterly contrived to get the actors in the show to do something. Its taken 4 episodes to do… that and it …. Looks terrible. The only thing holding it together are Bran and the Reeds. The actors are NAILING IT and thank God for that because the story looks terrible.

I know that I will be accused of being a “book purist” but if you are going to go off-script… fucking have a point; don’t do it just to do it. Going off-book can pay HUGE dividends (Robert and Cersei; Tywin and Arya), but if done badly it can be ludicrously awkward (the Brotherhood Without Banners being a tight group… unless a hot red woman wants to buy one of you; Shae), a waste of time (Dany in Qath) or prove to be the worst scene in the show’s 3.5-year run (Cersei and Jaime in the sept)

This is feeling eerily like Roz. I always felt Roz was there because you needed somebody to true together all the loose, disparate parts of the show. And it always smacked of lazy writing.

That’s what I feel about this. That Bran at Craster’s is just a lazy way to try to coagulate a pretty diffused story. In the book, its not a problem. In the show? It’s a problem. But this is not how to solve it. They went off-book and did it in the most ham-fisted and clumsy way possible. And its so obvious and so unnecessary. I know D&D are “geniuses” and they now, apparently, believe it. They think they can do no wrong.

And that may be correct, but right now Bran at CRaster’s seems forced, sloppy, lazy and convoluted.

Prove me wrong.

Borg 2.0: So when Star Trek: tNG released their movie with the Borg (100 years ago) they used the Borg as the bad guys: a civilization based on the fact that every Borg was exactly the same as every other and there was no individuality. And then in the movie they introduced “The First Borg” and it looked contrived and silly and turned what made the Borg so interesting (their lack of individuality) backwards, thus destroying the villainy of them.

Cut to last night’s episode with the introduction of the Night King and, I am getting the same feeling. A lame “head” of a seemingly headless enemy. The King seems very human and seems to be there for one purpose: to eventually be destroyed so the White Walkers can be defeated. This was probably something Martin had in mind, and I really don’t have a problem with it either way. But in the show And the book it always seemed a little … pedestrian. Like it’s the part of the books that is a bad fantasy trope and we are all looking the other way.

What I did Not Like:

Not Been Here, Not Done That: So, this episode was the most off-book to dtae and I will NOT repeat what I wrote above. BUT… its also the weakest episode in a while and the Weakest Parts were … the new ones (see above). Where was Stannis? Tywin? Arya? Are they not interesting enough for you so we … have to learn about the shitty people who are raping and raping and fucking raping (we get it- no need to show us again in the background) these women? We have to watch Bran? See Ghost chained up (why again?). What’s the point? I mean, other than to get your money’s worth from their contracts?

Look, go off-book. Its fine and at times has been done very well. Even last night Meargery + Tommen was good. But last night was a very uneven, all-over-the-place episode that seemed only tethered to something when it stayed on-book. When it strayed it was like trying to corral kittens. Even Mr. Pounce (he was great, though).

I get why the show needs to go off-book. However, if you are going to make contrived plot decisions (Bran at Craster’s) and destroy the best character you had (last week with Jaime raping Cersei) … YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG!

IS this a chilling vision of things to come? If so… we are Lost.

Get it?

Edited by Rockroi
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Kind of puts a kink in Sam's character. It must have been so hard not to tell Jon in the books, but it showed how well he could keep a secret. Now, it just looked like he gave in and said, screw it, Imma tell.

Sam didn't "give in", because Bran going beyond the Wall was never meant to be a secret in the show, at least not from Jon.

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They pretty much fucked up Jon/Stannis storyline.

Stannis can never make the claim as KitN, likewise with Jon.

Where's the character development now? Jon knows Bran is alive. They should have introduced Coldhands last season... as a semi-human looking mofo.

Stannis never claims to be King in the North...He's just the King. He tries to offer Jon Winterfell and the Lordship, but Jon is hesistant because the seat isn't his to take and he would have to burn down the Godswood, not to mention he'd be abandoning his NW duties. In the show Stannnis will offer it, Jon will want it but ultimately not take it for the same reasons and then get voted to LC anyways. I'm not sure how this fucked up anything. It makes the decision possibly slightly easier for Jon, but he will still be tempted and ultimately decline for the right reasons.

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