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[Book Spoilers] EP509 Discussion

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But how is a battle between two sides, where we care about neither side (anymore), good writing? Or even remotely interesting? If we don't care about the characters on either side, what investment do we have in the outcome?

D&D could be banking on us supporting Littlefinger and the Vale when he gallops in, making sure we forget that for the past 5 seasons hes been nothing but a treacherous rat.

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Yeah, they could have spelled it out more clearly, but i think strategically he had no choice. If he retreats to the wall he wont have a second shot till spring, and with provisions running out at the wall this means losing all sellswords. Not to mention the WW advancing. Only by going to winterfell does he have a chance of getting back momentum, gathering northern forces, and then striking at the WW. At the wall he is a joke. It is not about starvation, it is about realizing the last chance to, in his mind, save the whole realm. If you want to blame anyone, blame Mance for not joining in with Stannis, or Jon for being too honor bound (curse of the Starks).

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I don't know if it was the pacing of the episode or what, but it didn't even seem like they were out there for that long. They could have waited it out some more to see if the weather would clear up. And if it didn't, try using a leech on Shireen instead of outright cooking her. Stannis is the type of guy that is stubborn and will try out every option he has before murdering his daughter, his only heir. Maybe if they showed us in detail the situation, it wouldn't be as out of character as it is. But as it is, I'm just not seeing it. It just doesn't seem dire enough for him to kill his only heir.

When she had greyscale, he was risking his life and his entire house/staff/subjects by not killing her or sending her with the stonemen. She could have started an outbreak, but he did everything to save her. He didn't do that here. It makes no sense. I still think Mel should have done it behind his back.

Totally agree. It bascially went from Stannis telling Melisandre "hell no!" about burning his child alive in a previous episode, to completely doing a 180 and being all like "ok, let's do this". Seems kind of hard to believe and we didn't see Mel trying to convince him further, so we don't really know how she was able to do so. Maybe she brought up the whole Azor Ahair had to drive Lightbringer through the heart of his wife Nissa Nissa, so burning Shireen is Stannis' Nissa Nissa type moment. Even so, it would have been much kinder to drive a sword through her heart than to burn her alive.

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Is it wrong of me to still want Stannis to defeat the Boltons?

It would be cool if Stannis and the Boltons kill each other, and Sansa come out and say "I am Sansa Stark! Hey, north, remember me?" :lol:

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It would be cool if Stannis and the Boltons kill each other, and Sansa come out and say "I am Sansa Stark! Hey, north, remember me?" :lol:

Perfect season finale ending in my book.

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It was actually established in season 3 that Stannis was too weak to make anymore babies. Mel said his "fires burned too low". That was why she had to get Gendry.

Fair enough. One would think that, if a single line is all one has to establish a plot point, that line might make it into the "Previously On" segment.

I don't recall bookShireen being fleshed out as a character. Most of her scenes (in my recollection) have her being Patchface's sidekick.

ShowShireen stole my heart in a way that bookShireen never did. And because I found myself adoring every scene she was in, I knew she was going to be a sacrificial lamb of sorts. I think her story was told well enough. And the repercussions to follow will be fascinating to witness.

I'll be sad if Shireen is burned in Winds of Winter, but nowhere as heartbroken as I'll be if Ghost is sacrificed...something I've been preparing myself for for 5 years.

In other words, I would cry for Ghost much like I cried for showShireen; bookShireen not so much.

ShowShireen was a very charming character who had a wonderful relationship with Davos. I do not complain about her being an expanded presence, except that I don't feel that expansion was worth the time it took away from more important characters. When it comes to the specific storyline of her burning; your mileage may very, but for reasons I've already given, I thought it was a mess.

Further further thoughts:

- For all my complaints about the weaknesses of Shireen's burning as storytelling, two simple changes would have gone a long way toward making it not only competent, but engaging:

1. Tie it into the story of Azor Ahai. ShowShireen is always reading histories and legends; having her read about Azor Ahai when Stannis comes into the tent would have been heavy-handed, but it would have brought up a parallel between that legend and what Stannis supposedly is.

2. Instead of a fake-out, have Shireen actually be a willing sacrifice. She loves her father and knows all these legends; I would find her naive devotion and faith that she was helping her father fulfill his destiny far more convincing than the forced reversal of Selyse, and it would be interesting to see how Stannis reacts to such devotion, especially if he harbours doubts about the need to do this at all.

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I don't know if it was the pacing of the episode or what, but it didn't even seem like they were out there for that long. They could have waited it out some more to see if the weather would clear up. And if it didn't, try using a leech on Shireen instead of outright cooking her. Stannis is the type of guy that is stubborn and will try out every option he has before murdering his daughter, his only heir. Maybe if they showed us in detail the situation, it wouldn't be as out of character as it is. But as it is, I'm just not seeing it. It just doesn't seem dire enough for him to kill his only heir.

When she had greyscale, he was risking his life and his entire house/staff/subjects by not killing her or sending her with the stonemen. She could have started an outbreak, but he did everything to save her. He didn't do that here. It makes no sense. I still think Mel should have done it behind his back.

Definitely the pacing. The pacing is terrible, hands down. We're supposed to believe Stannis and his men are starving and they have no options. That is why we get that tiny tidbit of a scene where his men are lining up to get meager portions of soup for their meals.

I agree that Mel should have done it behind his back but I think the writers are trying to show us something by having Stannis be the one to order her death. Still, we needed to see him in more dire straits for it to be more understanding. Even though I get his reasons why he did it, I think the show should have had him suffer longer than he did. Even though it has been set up for several seasons, when it comes down to it, it felt rushed.

Edited by RoamingRonin

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Definitely the pacing. The pacing is terrible, hands down. We're supposed to believe Stannis and his men are starving and they have no options. That is why we get that tiny tidbit of a scene where his men are lining up to get meager portions of soup for their meals.

I agree that Mel should have done it behind his back but I think the writers are trying to show us something by having Stannis be the one to order her death. Still, we needed to see him in more dire straits for it to be more understanding. Even though I get his reasons why he did it, I think the show should have had him suffer longer than he did. Even though it has been set up for several seasons, when it comes down to it, it felt rushed.

Didn't Stannis tell Onion Knight to arrange for the horses to be used as food? That could have kept them going for a bit longer.

I understand why he did it too, even though I'm glad we both agree that they should have made it more dire and show us that he spent a lot of time thinking about it. And it was very rushed. He went from getting angry at Mel for even suggesting the idea of sacrificing her not too long ago. Now he's so ready to do it? And how the hell did Ramsay pull off sneaking himself and 20 men inside the camp to burn food for thousands of men and kill horses without anyone being seen or captured? Did he have ninja training before the events of this story or something? This whole Stannis storyline is horribly written tbh.

The writers are trying to show us something by having Stannis be the one to kill her, I agree. I don't think they succeeded, however, because all I'm seeing is how out of character the whole thing is. If anything, I think this is the beginning of his downfall. Someone already said it, but when word gets around that he killed his daughter in the name of a foreign god, he's going to lose all support.

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Definitely the pacing. The pacing is terrible, hands down. We're supposed to believe Stannis and his men are starving and they have no options. That is why we get that tiny tidbit of a scene where his men are lining up to get meager portions of soup for their meals.

I agree that Mel should have done it behind his back but I think the writers are trying to show us something by having Stannis be the one to order her death. Still, we needed to see him in more dire straits for it to be more understanding. Even though I get his reasons why he did it, I think the show should have had him suffer longer than he did. Even though it has been set up for several seasons, when it comes down to it, it felt rushed.

I said it before, but I really think that's the issue. If you dig down into the minor lines of the last two episodes, particularly this one, you realize the desperation. You just don't feel the desperation, as it isn't conveyed effectively. They were already in dire straits before Ramsay's Seal Team Six came in, and it got much worse after that. The key point was his discussion with Davos, when it was said that the loss of so many horses and so much food supplies made it impossible to move forward or to go back. As the storm blew and winter got worse, his army was going to die there without a single battle. They were doomed, and by extension the realm was doomed too (in Stannis's mind). I think there just wasn't enough air time, which means that scenes like the Sand Snake's slapping game better actually end up carrying some weight later. Otherwise, the minutes were there elsewhere in the last two episodes to build up the tension more with Stannis.

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Fair enough. One would think that, if a single line is all one has to establish a plot point, that line might make it into the "Previously On" segment.

ShowShireen was a very charming character who had a wonderful relationship with Davos. I do not complain about her being an expanded presence, except that I don't feel that expansion was worth the time it took away from more important characters. When it comes to the specific storyline of her burning; your mileage may very, but for reasons I've already given, I thought it was a mess.

wasn't the whole point of Mel trying to seduce Jon cause stannis' seed was weak?

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Does anyone know why they can't just up the episode count from 10 to 15-20? That way the pacing can be better, and more storylines from the book can be put in. Less characters wouldn't have to be cut, and we could get more exposition.


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Does anyone know why they can't just up the episode count from 10 to 15-20? That way the pacing can be better, and more storylines from the book can be put in. Less characters wouldn't have to be cut, and we could get more exposition.

Cost. This is an expensive show to make.

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Cost. This is an expensive show to make.

The show is extremely popular and successful though. I know the show has a lot of piracy issues, but I'm sure HBO has received more subscriptions since the show came on. Wouldn't the network give them more money since it's such a hit?

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Well they did recently resigned the A & B tiers for season six with options on 7 and they all got hefty raises to boot.



Plus I'm sure the technical people most likely got raises.


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The show is extremely popular and successful though. I know the show has a lot of piracy issues, but I'm sure HBO has received more subscriptions since the show came on. Wouldn't the network give them more money since it's such a hit?

It's also a timing issue. The showrunners said that they work year round and only have time to produce ten episodes.

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But how is a battle between two sides, where we care about neither side (anymore), good writing? Or even remotely interesting? If we don't care about the characters on either side, what investment do we have in the outcome?

But we care about those who might get crushed in between: Sansa, Theon, Brienne and Pod. And I still think that Selyse's desillusionment with Melisandre would make a good story.

It is absolutely in Martin's intention to tell us that both sides are wrong and that it is the collateral damage we should care about. See the lesson about the Dance of Dragons Shireen had taught to her father without success.

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