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Xray the Enforcer

[Book Spoilers] EP108 Discussion Part 2

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Further, there are already threads available in the book forums to discuss The Question of Arya's Mental State. Please take them there.

Sorry, saw this after my last post...going back to the real topic...could someone remind me what that was again? Something to do with a TV show?

-VM

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Speaking of Arya, I thought this was Maisie William's worst episode :( She's been so stellar for the rest of them, but her lines didn't quite resonate this episode, not that she had much to work with.

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Speaking of Arya, I thought this was Maisie William's worst episode :( She's been so stellar for the rest of them, but her lines didn't quite resonate this episode, not that she had much to work with.

Actually, I thought it was an excellent performance, for the very reason that you stated. Without a lot of dialog, she had to convey her character through facial expressions and such, and I thought it was an impressive performance for any child actor.

We can quibble over the way the episode was written...specifically, whether she killed the stableboy by accident or deliberately, but it is irrelevant to her performance. She has said that her understanding of the scene was that it happened more by accident or reflex, followed by shock at what she had done. Given that this was the scene she was directed to portray--rightly or wrongly--I give the performance a thumbs up. For me, she becomes more the "real" Arya in my imagination with each episode. I now find it hard to remember what she used to look like in my mind.

-VM

Edited by Unnamed

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So far the stableboy is the Jake Lloyd of GoT. Or maybe Micah is. "She-asked-me-to-milord-she-asked-me-to." At least they relegate these kids to the minor roles.

But yes, this was Maisie's worst episode. I have noticed her tendency to overact on rare occasions, and it was unfortunately pretty prominent in this episode.

Edited by denstorebog

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Any possible poor acting by Arya was completely overshadowed by the awful stableboy acting. Yikes.

You ain't joking. That kid was terrible (sorry, if you or your parents are reading this. Keep trying!). I also agree that this wasn't a shining moment for Maisie Williams. Her interaction with Syrio seemed stiff and unnatural, when she's seemed so fluid in past episodes.

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But yes, this was Maisie's worst episode. I have noticed her tendency to overact on rare occasions, and it was unfortunately pretty prominent in this episode.

Admittedly, I happen to love old kung fu movies, so I suspect that my personal threshold for overacting is somewhat higher than yours. So, when you say "tendency to overact", I can't help but re-imagine the stableboy scene with Bruce Lee in the Arya role...

Arya's questing hand finally locates the reassuring solidity of needle's grip. In one lightning-fast motion, she whips the sword from the chest, and rests the pointy end on the stableboy's solar plexus. The camera zeroes in on her face as, at the same moment, she realizes that the candy bar she ate an hour ago was actually 16 adult doses of Ex Lax. Her lips draw into an O of surprise and we hear high-pitched cries of "oooooh aye...".

Jump-cut to Needle, sliding into the stable-boy's abdomen. Jump-cut back to Arya's face. Off-camera, one of the crew has snuck up behind her and attached electrodes to the actor's testicles (remember, the character is female, but the actor is Bruce Lee). Arya's face contorts into a rictus of pain for a full five seconds, with the high-pitched cries slowly fading, until somewhere, mercifully, a fuse blows. We see Arya's facial muscles slowly relax, immediately followed by the dawning realization that, somewhere in the midst of the various electrical muscle contractions, the Ex Lax has done its worst...

And, amazingly, Bruce Lee was an internationally acclaimed actor. Of course, it wasn't really his acting that people wanted to see...nonetheless, after "watching" his version of the scene, I find Maisie's version to be well within the bounds of believability. Especially for a child actor in her first major role and, perhaps significantly, with no training in martial arts. For the record, my threshold for overacting would be triggered if, in the middle of the scene, I suddenly thought, "Wait a minute, that's not Arya. That's some actor pretending to be her. Where's the manager?"

All silliness aside, I really do think that any complaints about her acting in this episode must be based on comparison to an incredibly high standard. Given the amazingly high quality of HBO's production of GOT so far, I just can't bring myself to support this critique. Just about every minute of the show, I find that I am "in the story", and scarcely aware that I'm watching actors. At least, until the Wicked Witch of the North shows up...[ahem] I mean, Catelyn...

-VM

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You ain't joking. That kid was terrible (sorry, if you or your parents are reading this. Keep trying!). I also agree that this wasn't a shining moment for Maisie Williams. Her interaction with Syrio seemed stiff and unnatural, when she's seemed so fluid in past episodes.

And this is just mean. Are you sure the kid was THAT bad? How many stableboys have you seen being stabbed to death in real life? How did they act differently?

We're talking about a five-second part for an unnamed character with, what, 2 lines? Were you expecting Morgan Freeman? [someone else will have to write THAT scene.] Okay, so admittedly, it could have been better. But "terrible"? Please refer to my previous post. I don't recall Bruce Lee ever dying in a movie, but I am confident that it would have been, um, impressive.

How can you watch this episode (or how many times do you have to watch it) to come away saying, "Well, it would have been pretty good if it weren't for that AWFUL stableboy"? Okay, you didn't say that, but it sure seemed like you were implying it.

-VM

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The episode as a whole got my first 10/10. Probably my biggest letdown so far was the Arya direction. I remember being so excited by Maisie's pitch-perfect acting on the Kingsroad, especially that moment when Joff is under her blade and we see a flash of a darker side in her eyes. This week's scene felt like the director (or maybe PR-worried producers) threw away the chance to continue that amazing foreshadowing.

Aside from that, I'm incredibly happy with this ep!!

No Ned Tower of Joy dream or attempt to write Jon, though. Unless they put something in the next episode (Ned's final words??), I'm going to be very confused about that choice.

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I thought this week's episode was possibly the best so far, I enjoyed it immensely. Can't believe there are only two episodes to go... I suspect next week will be jawdropping. Robb really came into his own this episode, I've always been slightly iffy on his portrayal so far but I'm absolutely sold now. Awesome to finally see Shagga too, he was always one of my favourite minor characters. And heaps of direwolf action too, I was very pleased by that.

Though that was far more of Hodor than ever I wanted to see...

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The stableboy could have been older, and a bit better acted, that's the only scene in this ep I had any issues with.

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What was the deal with Drogo's wound being nerfed. In the book he was missing a nipple with a chest flap. I guess they're going to be setting up that priest is going to be slowly killing him instead of him having a bad wound.

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What was the deal with Drogo's wound being nerfed. In the book he was missing a nipple with a chest flap. I guess they're going to be setting up that priest is going to be slowly killing him instead of him having a bad wound.

It should be Mirri killing him in the book as well since her helping the Dothraki makse no sense at all after we've heard her motivations for the ritual. They are probably just making that more clear (even though a bad infection will kill you regardless of the size of the wound).

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No Ned Tower of Joy dream or attempt to write Jon, though. Unless they put something in the next episode (Ned's final words??), I'm going to be very confused about that choice.

Just wanted to take a moment to thank you for typing out the words "Ned Tower of Joy dream" in your post. I've been scratching my head over references to TOJ for some time now. At first glance, I thought maybe someone had a teeth-grinding problem, but no, that would be TMJ. Then I thought, Tyrion Outs Jon. But wait, Jon's not gay, is he? Hold on, there were quite a few quotes from Thorne that seemed to imply that he had knowledge of a gay relationship between Sam and Jon, and this seems to be the accepted way to reveal gay relationships in ASOIF... ;)

I completely understand the use of all these abbreviations (while still finding aCoK to be a lamentable result). But the real downside is that the forum starts to look like some abstruse debate over the actions of a bunch of government agencies.

-VM

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It should be Mirri killing him in the book as well since her helping the Dothraki makse no sense at all after we've heard her motivations for the ritual. They are probably just making that more clear (even though a bad infection will kill you regardless of the size of the wound).

For what it's worth, I never had a problem with the progression as written. She helps Drogo because that's what she does, in the same way that a doctor will work to save a wounded bank robber, just on principle. And at the time that she renders assistance, she is not yet aware of the Stallion Who Mounts the World.

Later, she has gotten to know Drogo, Dany, et al, heard a little of their future plans, and is offended enough to break her witch-doctor equivalent of a hippocratic oath. Even then, her actions are more directed at allowing the characters to hurt themselves. And as I recall, she does make some effort to talk Dany out of the whole Reanimator scenario.

Also, while I agree that the TV wound could certainly be deadly, I find that I also agree with earlier posters that this whimpy-looking wound makes Dany's concern seem less jutified. Given the Dothraki culture, you would think the men would be sporting minor wounds every time they disagreed over who gets the first horse testicle. In the TV version, Dany seems a little more like Drogo's over-protective mother. Whereas, if he standing there with half the skin on his chest flapping, pretty much anyone would say, "Dude, you should put a bandaid on that. If you keep parading around your chest muscle, we're all gonna toss our horse-balls."

-VM

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Also, while I agree that the TV wound could certainly be deadly, I find that I also agree with earlier posters that this whimpy-looking wound makes Dany's concern seem less jutified. Given the Dothraki culture, you would think the men would be sporting minor wounds every time they disagreed over who gets the first horse testicle. In the TV version, Dany seems a little more like Drogo's over-protective mother. Whereas, if he standing there with half the skin on his chest flapping, pretty much anyone would say, "Dude, you should put a bandaid on that. If you keep parading around your chest muscle, we're all gonna toss our horse-balls."

-VM

That wound might not be very big, but it looked very deep on a rewatch. It opened up and appeared to go almost to the bone. Maybe not much by Dothraki standards, but I'd be in some serious pain. A wound like that would become infected very easily in that time and place... even if they do look way to clean for horse soldiers.

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For what it's worth, I never had a problem with the progression as written. She helps Drogo because that's what she does, in the same way that a doctor will work to save a wounded bank robber, just on principle. And at the time that she renders assistance, she is not yet aware of the Stallion Who Mounts the World.

Later, she has gotten to know Drogo, Dany, et al, heard a little of their future plans, and is offended enough to break her witch-doctor equivalent of a hippocratic oath. Even then, her actions are more directed at allowing the characters to hurt themselves. And as I recall, she does make some effort to talk Dany out of the whole Reanimator scenario.

Also, while I agree that the TV wound could certainly be deadly, I find that I also agree with earlier posters that this whimpy-looking wound makes Dany's concern seem less jutified. Given the Dothraki culture, you would think the men would be sporting minor wounds every time they disagreed over who gets the first horse testicle. In the TV version, Dany seems a little more like Drogo's over-protective mother. Whereas, if he standing there with half the skin on his chest flapping, pretty much anyone would say, "Dude, you should put a bandaid on that. If you keep parading around your chest muscle, we're all gonna toss our horse-balls."

-VM

When Dany asks why she betrayed her Mirri answers that she was already dead when Dany "saved" her and that living past that point wasn't even something she desired. As I see it she doesn't just betray Dany because of her son, she wants to destroy the people that destroyed her people and scarred her so badly both physically and mentally that she sees no reason to live. If she just wanted to stop the Stallion that Mounts the World that was already done after the child died and Drogo became a vegetable. There wasn't really any need to make a point of that Dany would be infertile forever, although Mirri certainly seems to take joy in that part of the revenge.

As for the wound, it certainly wasn't that much to fuss about but Dany still isn't really a badass around violence yet and Drogo is her entire life at that point so it's not that strange to see Dany having unusual concern for a wound, which makes the scene still work for me. Drogo here seems badass in the way that no one can even hurt him unless he allows it, rather than showing the fortitude to ignore big wounds. He seems quite stupid when he doesn't want his huge book wound taken care of though since he should know what happens with big open wounds in filthy environments.

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That wound might not be very big, but it looked very deep on a rewatch. It opened up and appeared to go almost to the bone. Maybe not much by Dothraki standards, but I'd be in some serious pain. A wound like that would become infected very easily in that time and place... even if they do look way to clean for horse soldiers.

Just to be clear, I don't disagree that the TV wound could believably lead to subsequent events. It's just that Dany's reaction seemed more appropriate to the book wound than the TV wound. Obviously, we're splitting the hairs pretty fine here, either way.

When Dany asks why she betrayed her Mirri answers that she was already dead when Dany "saved" her and that living past that point wasn't even something she desired. As I see it she doesn't just betray Dany because of her son, she wants to destroy the people that destroyed her people and scarred her so badly both physically and mentally that she sees no reason to live. If she just wanted to stop the Stallion that Mounts the World that was already done after the child died and Drogo became a vegetable. There wasn't really any need to make a point of that Dany would be infertile forever, although Mirri certainly seems to take joy in that part of the revenge.

Your reconstruction of the timeline clearly demonstrates you've reread more recently than I have. While accepting that all of your points are valid, I will only point out that (at least, according to my memory), in the initial exchanges, Mirri presents herself as a "Hippocratic Oath" type of healer. [Dammit, Jim, I know he just raped a bunch of children, but the man is injured and I can help him.]

In light of the points that you've made, I still see several equally likely possibilities. It could be that she is nursing a grudge from the beginning, but concealing it to allow her to get close enough to Dani to allow her to enact her dastardly scheme for revenge. OR it could be that her attitude changes over the time she is with the Dothraki (based on what she learns of them, or just based on emotionally coming to grips with what has happened to her), and she is describing her earlier state based on, not how she felt at the time, but on how she feels now, after having had time for her resentment to fester. I tend to favor the second interpretation, primarily because I believe that her initial treatment of Drogo's wound would have allowed it heal, if he had followed her instructions. Admittedly, it is equally possible that she poisoned him with the initial treatment--and it definitely looks like the TV show may tell the story this way--and his disobedience actually prolonged his life (or had no effect at all). I don't think we'll manage to "prove" either scenario, but the second "feels" like a more natural fit, based on my reading of the narrative.

As for the wound....He seems quite stupid when he doesn't want his huge book wound taken care of though since he should know what happens with big open wounds in filthy environments.

This is an excellent point. I had not really given it much thought, but yeah, you would think that the Dothraki would have some awareness of the dangers of infected wounds. Then again, in that culture, they could have thought that the way to prevent infection is to sacrifice a horse and bathe in the blood or some such. Although, given the level of success they've achieved, I lean towards a more practical approach--sticking a flaming brand into the wound, for instance. Of course, either one would have made the following events problematic. I envision Mirri approaching Drogo to treat the wound and him saying, "Get away from me with your sheep goo. Jhogo, bring me a horse/flaming brand..." That is, if the Dothraki had a "traditional" way of preventing infection, Drogo would be far less likely to let Dany foist a slave healer on him. He seemed to think she was overreacting, anyway.

All that being said, I still maintain that they should have made the TV wound more like the book wound. Yes, you make valid points, but the book wound would have looked cooler, and this is a fictional story. Did you see Apocalypto? By the end, that dude was like Swiss cheese, and he STILL ran like a deer. Of course, that movie was not subect to nearly the type of intense scrutiny that we've been subjecting HBO's series to. Just trying to maintain a little perspective.

-VM

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Your reconstruction of the timeline clearly demonstrates you've reread more recently than I have. While accepting that all of your points are valid, I will only point out that (at least, according to my memory), in the initial exchanges, Mirri presents herself as a "Hippocratic Oath" type of healer. [Dammit, Jim, I know he just raped a bunch of children, but the man is injured and I can help him.]

In light of the points that you've made, I still see several equally likely possibilities. It could be that she is nursing a grudge from the beginning, but concealing it to allow her to get close enough to Dani to allow her to enact her dastardly scheme for revenge. OR it could be that her attitude changes over the time she is with the Dothraki (based on what she learns of them, or just based on emotionally coming to grips with what has happened to her), and she is describing her earlier state based on, not how she felt at the time, but on how she feels now, after having had time for her resentment to fester. I tend to favor the second interpretation, primarily because I believe that her initial treatment of Drogo's wound would have allowed it heal, if he had followed her instructions. Admittedly, it is equally possible that she poisoned him with the initial treatment--and it definitely looks like the TV show may tell the story this way--and his disobedience actually prolonged his life (or had no effect at all). I don't think we'll manage to "prove" either scenario, but the second "feels" like a more natural fit, based on my reading of the narrative.

Yes, it's pretty open to interpretation as what she does appears to be the correct treatment. I just put it in different context when Mirri reveals her true opinions. Drogo takes off the poultice when it itches too much and itching can definitely be a sign of healing. Still, Drogo has plenty of scars in the book so he should know how a healing itch feels, so it doesn't have to be healing. But as said, I think it's something open to interpretation so I won't say that you are wrong, just that I see it differently.

This is an excellent point. I had not really given it much thought, but yeah, you would think that the Dothraki would have some awareness of the dangers of infected wounds. Then again, in that culture, they could have thought that the way to prevent infection is to sacrifice a horse and bathe in the blood or some such. Although, given the level of success they've achieved, I lean towards a more practical approach--sticking a flaming brand into the wound, for instance. Of course, either one would have made the following events problematic. I envision Mirri approaching Drogo to treat the wound and him saying, "Get away from me with your sheep goo. Jhogo, bring me a horse/flaming brand..." That is, if the Dothraki had a "traditional" way of preventing infection, Drogo would be far less likely to let Dany foist a slave healer on him. He seemed to think she was overreacting, anyway.

All that being said, I still maintain that they should have made the TV wound more like the book wound. Yes, you make valid points, but the book wound would have looked cooler, and this is a fictional story. Did you see Apocalypto? By the end, that dude was like Swiss cheese, and he STILL ran like a deer. Of course, that movie was not subect to nearly the type of intense scrutiny that we've been subjecting HBO's series to. Just trying to maintain a little perspective.

I was a bit harsh towards Drogo though since he would have gotten treatment from the Dothraki healers later on, he wouldn't have left it like that forever. I haven't seen Apocalypto but yes, a physically strong person with adrenaline from battle can do quite a lot while injured. I would have liked to see them show the really bad wound described in the books but I'm fine with how they did it.

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