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Thelastactionhero

Yet another balanced review of Stannis [Book and Show spoilers]

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So here's the deal. I'm sure everyone's freaking out because Stannis actually burns Mance. Fact of the matter is, as much as I love Stan, he has absolutely no qualms about burning him in the books. In fact, the illusion Melisandre casts is precisely because Stan is so stubborn about executing Mance for being a Night's Watch deserter and not because there's political intrigue involved. This for me creates a different sort of narrative problem, one that isn't terribly convincing in the adaptation simply because the end results make no sense for any of the parties involved. Stannis burning Mance in this scenario goes a little something like this. Someone breaks into your house to steal some chocolate cake. You catch said person in the process of stealing said cake. Rather than calling the police, you give the person an out. You'll give the person the cake they wanted in the first place, but in return, they have to thank you, and aid you in stealing an additional chocolate cake, which given the Wildling invasion plan, which includes killings lots of Southerners in order to get south of the Wall, doesn't seem like a terribly unreasonable arrangement. Don't see why Mance is so hung up on this whole "My people have bled enough," thing when they were going to have to bleed a hell of a lot more to get a lot less before Stannis made this offer. Mance's reasoning for rejecting the deal, and his death as a whole, is stupid on an entirely new level that the show has never quite reached before. Hell, Mance even goes so far as to say that pride isn't the reason that he's submitting himself to this terribly inhumane form of execution. So what is the reason? Feel free to fill me in because I don't have a clue.



At the end of the day, I sat back as a book reader and avid watcher of the show confused, not only because Mance survives in the novels, but because Mance and Stannis make absolutely no sense as they're protrayed in the adaptation. I will say what I missed the most, at least in terms of the Stannis character, was the writers' conscious decision to cut out the infamous "I was trying to win the throne to save the Kingdom," speech, as it adds a lot of depth to him that as of yet hasn't been properly conveyed on television. Stannis is a dick in the books and the show. We all know that, and it's part of the appeal. The problem I have is that the redemptive qualities get significantly less screen time and make for a relatively flat character that doesn't warrant the fanatical internet devotion which has cropped up in recent years. I'm not going to sit here and say that Stan Stans don't whitewash him to some degree, ignoring his brutality while glorifying his badass moments, but it's hard to make an argument that the show has done a proper job of portraying the nuance that gives him such incredible appeal amongst book readers. Mance's speech, and his words regarding Stannis, are perhaps the only mildly positive things a viewer can take away in this episode regarding him. The fact of the matter remains that Stannis in the show comes off far more as a religous zealot, and an idiot, than he does the stubborn, yet shrewd political pragmatist we see in the novels. I've given up on ever seeing the Stannis of the books on television, and all of you would be wise to do the same. I don't particularly care for the darker, more sinister tone they've given him in the show not because he isn't the messianic, heroic figure that certain book readers try to make him out to be, but because his material is poorly written, and doesn't adequately craft him as the three dimensional, compelling character he actually is.


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Agreed, not having the "I must save the kingdom to win the throne" speech seriously detracts from Stannis' motivation. Stannis was focused on fighting against the threat from beyond the wall, and all his battles to win the North is a means to that end, yet in this episode all he mentions nothing about that.


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Eh, I'm not sure how you can declare your own view 'balanced'. Be honest and just write 'my review'. Otherwise, it's pretty narcissist, isn't it? You're basically declaring that you know what the balance point is, and that you're sitting in it - and you're no authority.


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The Mance burning was the first and only accurate burning they've done (with respect to Stannis' motivation) so I don't know why you think people would be freaking out.



My problem is that there didn't seem to be much character development. By cutting every piece of their conversation involving the Others and omitting the 'cart before the horse' speech he might as well be at the same place he was back on Dragonstone, just with greater resources.



The way he talked about Robb was a tad manipulative, too.


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Eh, I'm not sure how you can declare your own view 'balanced'. Be honest and just write 'my review'. Otherwise, it's pretty narcissist, isn't it? You're basically declaring that you know what the balance point is, and that you're sitting in it - and you're no authority.

My take on the OPs title was that it was meant in humour (or sarcastic humour to be more precise). :)

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Am I the only one who thinks book!Mance would've bent the knee if given half a chance, only to start plotting revenge on Stannis the moment he stands up?

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The way Stannis talks about it sounds like he did give Mance some sort of choice, but because he was too stubborn and prideful Stannis will be forced to burn him and turn to the other wildling leaders.



"Whilst your brothers have been struggling to decide who shall lead them, I have been speaking with this Mance Rayder." He ground his teeth. "A stubborn man, that one, and prideful. He will leave me no choice but to give him to the flames. But we took other captives as well, other leaders."

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Why doesn't Mance's reasoning not make any sense? With Mance burning, Stannis knows he has no chance of making the Wildlings join him and that's what Mance wanted no? He wanted to get behind that wall and not have to fight anymore (atleast until winter comes).

Mance Rayder did a great sacrifice by accepting to get burned just so his people wouldn't have to fight for this southern king AND he kept their values aswell by not making them kneel to anyone. Now the wildlings are safe behind the wall and instead of fighting they get to stay safe and Jon will surely give them place to live in the unmanned castles like in the books.

As for Stannis, I'm annoyed that the cart speech is not there definitly. Maybe it will be said later I don't know.

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But Mance's people are not south of the Wall. Most of them are still trapped north of the Wall and cannot come south unless Stannis allows it. So they either stay North and die when the WWs come, or fight for Stannis. Isn't fighting for Stannis a better fate then getting wiped out by the WWs?


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Look he's keeping the ones who are already South safe, Mance knows that Stannis is going South and has no say in who passes the wall or not after that, he knows Tormund and Jon, he know they can work it out so EVERYONE gets to be safe and not only those who are North of the Wall.

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No issues with the burning but Stannis in the show has zero depth. Nothing about the WW, nothing about why Stannis came here, nothing about the Stannis-Robert relationship in previous season, nothing about him interrogating Mance. Nothing at all.



Just a bland character who goes around giving orders. Meh.


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Eh, I'm not sure how you can declare your own view 'balanced'. Be honest and just write 'my review'. Otherwise, it's pretty narcissist, isn't it? You're basically declaring that you know what the balance point is, and that you're sitting in it - and you're no authority.

lol you're the last person on this forum that should be talking about narcissism.

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It's the first episode.

Stannis had about 2 minutes of screentime and gave Jon Snow instructions.

Maybe, just maybe, we haven't heard everything he plans in those two minutes and will get more of those as the season goes on.

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i am not a big stannis fan in show or books, but right now show stan is really bad...



though i agree with sj, i don't think we saw enough last night to know where his story is really goiing


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I personally thought that whilst in this episode stannis was portrayed as a dick (as he should have been if they wanted to remain true to the books with this) there was some hope of a more balanced portrayal of him this season. Mance was actually sympathetic to him, and had some good things to say about him, plus his plan to take the North from the Boltons and help Jon avenge Robb (although obviously that is far from his chief motivation)is pretty much the best thing a character can do to win the love of the audience at this point, and I find it unlikely that the show will give a negative portayal of him this season, when he is going up against Boltons in the North, who just about the hardest characters to sympathise with in the entire show. That said, I do hope the show follows the books and seperates Stannis from Melisandre before or on the march south, as I always felt that this allowed him to come across as a better character than he is with her (true in both books and the few episodes in which she is not in the same place as him in the show)


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Why does Stannis need the wildlings in the first place? I thought he had hired as many sellswords as he could with the Iron Bank's loan he got last season.


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The portrayal of Stannis in this episode was much truer to the books than they have been the last two season. Personally I loved it.



Swearing revenge on the Boltons and liberating the North. Hinting to Jon about getting the vengeance he wants himself.



This is going to be a great season for Stannis.



Also Davos at the wall is awesome.


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Most early reviews have praised Stannis' portrayal this season, so I think some people are jumping the gun too quickly here. I've been quite annoyed at the harsh light they've cast on Stannis all throughout the show series so far, but I have hope that this season will do wonders as far as humanizing and developing his character. There were a couple moments I enjoyed last night in regards to his development (Mance praising him, Stannis' look of disappointment when Mance refuses to kneel since Stannis takes no pleasure in burning anyone, Stannis talking about annihilating the Boltons, etc.)


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Why does Stannis need the wildlings in the first place? I thought he had hired as many sellswords as he could with the Iron Bank's loan he got last season.

The Iron Bank of Braavos haven't given him full support yet so he can't hire as many he would like. He still needs the Northern army.

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