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Xray the Enforcer

[Book Spoilers] EP108 Discussion Part 2

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I think it would be wiser to wait until the season is over to judge upon certain developments.

I don't believe GRRM "forgot" that Sandor joins The KG.

Maybe Sansa will notice the white cloak next Ep and go "but you are no Knight" or summing.

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More like she'll call him Ser and he'll scoff at her. We still need more Hound.

I'm pretty sure when Arya slit the guards throat at Harrenhal that wasn't exactly self defense. Or when she had Weese killed, or really any of the 3 kills she gets from Ja'quen. None of those were self defense.

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I'm pretty sure when Arya slit the guards throat at Harrenhal that wasn't exactly self defense. Or when she had Weese killed, or really any of the 3 kills she gets from Ja'quen. None of those were self defense.

I see the escape from Harrenhall as self defense (who knew what the bloody mummers were going to her?) so I see that kill as self defense. As I said, not immediate "This guy is going to kill me" self defense, but he was one of her captors. Weese was also one of her captors and had the potential to hurt her (and had often shown cruelty and an inclination to do so). The first whisper-guy, less so in a personal sense, but he was still one of her captors, and I'd have whispered his name after hearing what he'd previously done to his captives too.

I consider any kills she makes in captivity or to avoid captivity pretty much self defense. Especially after she sees more of what can happen to captives. Mileage may vary, of course.. .

Later . . . as she becomes empowered, it grows to be a different story.

Edited by halfwaygone

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I think it would be wiser to wait until the season is over to judge upon certain developments.

I don't believe GRRM "forgot" that Sandor joins The KG.

Maybe Sansa will notice the white cloak next Ep and go "but you are no Knight" or summing.

It's definitely possible.

But it's also possible that it was edited out. Martin undoubtedly did a lot of editing of his original text just to get to the teleplay to a reasonable length.

But once the script is turned in, there's still a ton of changes made that the writer often/usually doesn't know about. Even ignoring re-writes, things are often changed for production reasons (for example, the intended shot isn't working because say, the wolves aren't co-operating, so they re-jigger) and then the edit is done without Martin as well.

In other words, he may have written it. But what he wrote didn't necessarily make it on screen as he wrote it.

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More like she'll call him Ser and he'll scoff at her. We still need more Hound.

It is known ^_^

After the fortnight-long wait for this episode, it's hard to believe Baelor is just a couple of days away; I feel spoilt!

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So, I watched the episode again last night, and although I still noticed my nitpicks, I enjoyed the episode a lot more. I'm still dubious that Syrio's blows could keep ALL of those guys down, but whatever. He was the first sword of Braavos. He's just that good.

Other than Hodor's "hodor," the scene I enjoyed much more this time was the scene between Osha and Bran. I think it helped set their characters up well for next season.

I also really liked the scene where they bring the scout into Robb's tent. When he says to let him go and Catelyn stands up and protests, the look Robb gives her is great. And then Catelyn immediately looks down, knowing that she's overstepped her bounds. She may have realized when she first saw Robb that he had become a lord, but it didn't fully sink in until he gave her that look. Really well done.

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I also really liked the scene where they bring the scout into Robb's tent. When he says to let him go and Catelyn stands up and protests, the look Robb gives her is great. And then Catelyn immediately looks down, knowing that she's overstepped her bounds. She may have realized when she first saw Robb that he had become a lord, but it didn't fully sink in until he gave her that look. Really well done.

Agreed. They didn't only use the "Would that I could" line to show the viewer that, well, Robb was in charge now, and that Cat had to step back. However, like others have already said, I would have liked another character to shout at Robb for his decision to let the scout live. I mean, screaming at your lord, losing two fingers, having a good laugh about it, then trying again ? Didn't work that well for me.

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I see the escape from Harrenhall as self defense (who knew what the bloody mummers were going to her?) so I see that kill as self defense. As I said, not immediate "This guy is going to kill me" self defense, but he was one of her captors. Weese was also one of her captors and had the potential to hurt her (and had often shown cruelty and an inclination to do so). The first whisper-guy, less so in a personal sense, but he was still one of her captors, and I'd have whispered his name after hearing what he'd previously done to his captives too.

I consider any kills she makes in captivity or to avoid captivity pretty much self defense. Especially after she sees more of what can happen to captives. Mileage may vary, of course.. .

Later . . . as she becomes empowered, it grows to be a different story.

It's easy to justify each kill as self-defense if your definition encompasses anyone who could potentially harm her. If she had killed one of Lord Beric's men it would still have been self defense because she was a captive?

I love Arya to death, but let's call a spade a spade. She's a sociopath, but an endearing sociopath. She's the daughter you want to have, except that she kills people without a second thought.

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I see the escape from Harrenhall as self defense...

Based on earlier comments, this is clearly not a new debate. Rather than take another run around the same old circle of point/counterpoint, I'd like to take a more, um, metaphorical approach. For those of you on either side, please let me know if this has also already been done to death, and accept my apology in advance. Even so, it should at least have the advantage of not being as dull as these debates tend to be and, mayhaps, it will have some entertainment value of its own.

[Version 1]

Picture, if you will, a woodland scene (with magic surrounding it?). It is twilight, and the shadows of the trees are stretching and deepening. In the middle distance, we see a small family of deer, carefully padding between the trees, cropping leaves and nibbling berries. The family includes a small young fawn, eagerly munching his way further and further from his parents. Both adults are facing away and fail to notice the ditance growing between them and their offspring.

Our view zooms out, and in the foreground, an adult wolf has spied the family of deer. As this is no ordinary forest, the wolf begins to speak to himself.

WOLF: Look at those foolish deer, wandering around and chewing on twigs. Someone ought to...but wait--no, it couldn't be...yes, it is! Andrew Clovenfoot, the most obnoxious deer north of the river, and without his band of cronies. From the time I was a pup, how many of his jokes was I the butt of? How many of his veiled insults have I ignored? Today, ser Clovenfoot, you will learn something of respect. Your son will suffer the consequences of your foolishness.

Silently, the wolf pads forward, head low, eyes locked on the wandering fawn, steadily closing the distance. Each step is measured, deliberate, quiet. Every rustle of leaves seems impossibly loud. As the wolf edges inexorably forward, the fawn pulls a leaf from a branch and chews eagerly. The concentration of the wolf on the small fawn is absolute, as the smell of deer flesh grows intoxicatingly strong. The wolf brushes past a dead sapling, little more than a stick with a few dry twigs branching from its top. A twig snaps, with an audible crack like a gunshot. Deer heads jerk up, ears twitching, leg muscles tensing. The wolf leaps forward, closing the distance to the fawn in two bounding strides. Deer spring forward, launching themselves into full flight, but the fawn is slammed to the ground by the crashing weight of an adult wolf. Jaws close on the front of its neck, clench, and with one pull rip away a large chunk of flesh and cartilage in a spray of blood. The wolf watches the fawn's eyes glaze over, in the shock that is nature's final mercy for prey animals, and arterial blood gushes into the leaves.

The sound of ripping flesh stops the flight of the adult deer. Ser Andrew Clovenfoot, proud buck, turns and sees the fate of his fawn. He stares at the carnage with cold black eyes, tail twitching.

BUCK: You! Even I would not have thought you could stoop so low.

WOLF: You still dare fling insults at me? Your throat is unprotected, ser.

BUCK: And you, ser, are nothing more than a cold-blooded murderer. I will see that you hang for this outrage.

WOLF: You may try, but even the two-legged slaughterers will not convict me for defending my own life. Your loathsome offspring was trying to starve me to death.

... and so forth and so on. Hopefully, you get the idea.

[Version 2]

Same story, but replace the dialogue above with the following:

(Wolf spies deer family.)

WOLF: Ah hah, I KNEW something smelled delicious. Uh oh, little fawn. It looks like you have wandered away from the protection of your parents. Have you a name? I think I'll call you "Lunch".

(Wolf kills fawn and begins to feed.)

WOLF: Hello, Lunch.

DOE: Oh, my gods! That wolf just killed Herbert, and you just stood there and watched. What kind of buck are you?

BUCK: Have you been licking frogs? That's a an adult grey wolf, a cold-blooded killer. If I step anywhere near it, I'll be as dead as Herbert. You think I should also die for your bad parenting? HOW MANY TIMES have I told you not to let the child wander away from us?

....And they all lived happily ever after.

So, in the context of the Arya discussion, it seems the question is whether the wolf is a cold-blooded murderer, or if he is merely acting in self-defense. Having read some arguments on either side, my question is this: What the fuck are you talking about? This debate seems as surreal to me as the ridiculous deer/wolf dialogue above. As a matter of fact, when I read the discussion, something like the scene above actually popped into my head. Except it was more elaborate, and included a herd of goats watching the scene and having a debate over whether the wolf was a cold-blooded murderer.

[Yes, my mind actually works that way; Sigmund hisownself would have been hesitant to play Free Association with me.]

For clarity, my opinion is that Arya is on her way to becoming a cold-blooded killer, and that this is in no way a criticism of her character. She is NOT an orphan trying to make her way on the streets of a big city. She is a child of a noble family, trying to survive in a world where the rules are far different from ours, and war is breaking out all around her. She is no closer to being a murderer (at least in the connotative sense that the term is being used here) than she is to being a computer programmer. She has a sense of honor and of fairness. She demonstrates loyalty. When she deems it necessary, she kills without compunction or remorse. She is a wolf. She is...[frantically flipping pages in the mental thesaurus]...simply magnificent.

And no, you are NOT entitled to cross this bridge, because I DID say "mayhaps".

-VM

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Agreed. They didn't only use the "Would that I could" line to show the viewer that, well, Robb was in charge now, and that Cat had to step back. However, like others have already said, I would have liked another character to shout at Robb for his decision to let the scout live. I mean, screaming at your lord, losing two fingers, having a good laugh about it, then trying again ? Didn't work that well for me.

I didn't at all get the impression that the Greatjon has his outbursts due to careful planning. He seems to be a highly emotional person that boils over when things get out of line. Therefor I think it was well in line with the character and the point that he learned his lesson the first time was shown with all clarity when he stepped down after Robb confronted him.

Edited by Tywin's bastard

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She's a sociopath, but an endearing sociopath. She's the daughter you want to have, except that she kills people without a second thought.

Now this just pisses me off. Before you call her a sociopath, you must first convince me that she is not a computer programmer.

Even more to the point, ignoring the contextual issues, there ARE characters in ASOIF that meet the criteria for sociopathy...the Mountain comes to mind...I could make a decent case for Cersei...in fact, I could make a decent-sized list. Arya would not be on it.

Arya is a killer, but she is a far different animal than Gregor Clegane (that's right; she's a wolf). And for the record, a true sociopath is endearing on purpose--it's how they lure their prey close enough to get a bite of liver. The really smart ones consciously mimic human emotions that they don't actually feel.

As I implied above, if Arya is a sociopath, then so are the majority of the animals on the Discovery Channel.

-VM

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The Mountain is not a sociopath. Your average sociopath, you couldn't tell the difference between a normal person and said sociopath. Littlefinger is an example of a sociopath. The Mountain has greater problems than merely being a sociopath.

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Now this just pisses me off. Before you call her a sociopath, you must first convince me that she is not a computer programmer.

Even more to the point, ignoring the contextual issues, there ARE characters in ASOIF that meet the criteria for sociopathy...the Mountain comes to mind...I could make a decent case for Cersei...in fact, I could make a decent-sized list. Arya would not be on it.

Arya is a killer, but she is a far different animal than Gregor Clegane (that's right; she's a wolf). And for the record, a true sociopath is endearing on purpose--it's how they lure their prey close enough to get a bite of liver. The really smart ones consciously mimic human emotions that they don't actually feel.

That's true, Gregor Clegane is pretty endearing.

You can make whatever argument you want, it won't prove Arya isn't a sociopath.

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The Mountain is not a sociopath. Your average sociopath, you couldn't tell the difference between a normal person and said sociopath. Littlefinger is an example of a sociopath. The Mountain has greater problems than merely being a sociopath.

Actually, I agree: Your example is far better than mine.

-VM

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That's true, Gregor Clegane is pretty endearing.

You can make whatever argument you want, it won't prove Arya isn't a sociopath.

[Old, tired response] Of course, everyone knows that it is impossible to prove a negative in this way. Rightfully, the burden should be on you to prove that she IS a sociopath.

[Pointed response] As long as you are using your own personal definition of "sociopath", this will remain a true statement.

Please Note: Even though I am new to this forum, I am NOT new to the way things are debated in them. If I felt some innate need for you to accept that my arguments have proved anything, I would be a fool to join in the discussion at all. Admittedly, I have long had this absurd fantasy that someone might, in response to one of my posts, say, "Wow, I never really thought of it that way. I need to think on this..." But decades pass, and foolish dreams go the way of all good things...

[Key Point] Your statement is somewhat damning. "You can make whatever argument you want..." and it won't sway my opinion. Because I have already made up my mind, and I will pay no more attention to your argument than is required for me to fire of a pithy refutation. I have ears, but your arguments are merely distracting noises that I do not hear.

The debate is only fun if both sides are willing to accept the possibility that the other might have a valid point to make. MY point is that we must evaluate Arya in the context of the imaginary world that GRRM has placed her into, which is different from the way we evaluate the obnoxious neighbor's children...and that a sociopath is someone who kills for sport or convenience. Arya kills for survival, or to gain her freedom, or to administer justice (Starks have been killing deserters of the Night's Watch for centuries). She is cold-blooded and remorseless, but how many characters have we seen in these books that spent any time wallowing in remorse after killing another character? In our world, a person killing another person is an atrocity. In their world, a high percentage of adults (esp nobility) have killed another person. Killing is an everyday fact of life. But only a few of them do it for sport, or for no good reason at all.

And Arya is not in that group.

QED: There are characters in these books who act like sociopaths, and Arya is not like them.

-VM

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Great post, Unnamed.

It's easy to justify each kill as self-defense if your definition encompasses anyone who could potentially harm her. If she had killed one of Lord Beric's men it would still have been self defense because she was a captive?

Of course. Lord Beric and his men are outlaws who are holding her against her will to ransom her. If she feels threatened by that, and wanted to escape, why shouldn't she kill one of them if it helped her do that? Granted, in her ignorance she does not realize that she probably serves her own interest better by staying with them, but that would not make her motives for killing sociopathic.

I love Arya to death, but let's call a spade a spade. She's a sociopath, but an endearing sociopath. She's the daughter you want to have, except that she kills people without a second thought.

Do people even READ the Arya chapters at all? It's like they focus on the fact that she kills, and completely ignore all the rest, including her inner thoughts and her motivations. Which definitely are NOT remotely sociopathic. Sociopaths do not feel empathy, people. Sociopathy is defined as "a personality disorder characterized by the inability to form human attachment and an abnormal lack of empathy, masked by an ability to appear outwardly normal". This does NOT DESCRIBE ARYA IN ANY WAY. She does feel empathy, she does feel human attachment. In fact, most of the names on her "kill list" are people who hurt not only her, but others that she cares about (Gendry, Mycah), and sometimes even people she doesn't even care much but she still feels were treated unfairly (Lommy -> killed by Raff the Sweetling). Someone who feels no empathy wouldn't give two shits about Lommy being murdered by Raff, or that Gendry got beat up by Dunsen and had his helm stolen.

Cersei is probably sociopathic to a degree. She feels attachment to her children, but that's about it. In AFFC

she plots Margaery's downfall and Jon Snow's murder by asking the Kettleblack to seduce her and sleep with her, thus being sent to the Wall to murder Jon Snow, and then getting a royal pardon from Tommen and returning to King's Landing... and what is her thought process about this? Is it, "I find this plotting distasteful, but I have to, to eliminate my enemies and keep my children safer [in my mind]",? No, she congratulates herself at how "elegant" it is, and how she was born for doing this. And later on, Jaime sees her being so beautiful and going through the motions of showing kindness to others and he notices how she could really get people to love her whenever she bothered trying.

Edited by Morrigan

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It is worth noting that, at the point that the last book left off, Arya is basically being trained to be an assassin. Which means that, barring another unexpected plot twist, at some point she is going to be called upon to kill someone for no reason other than "this is your assignment". It think it will be interesting to see how she responds to that (and how she feels about it). Somehow, I suspect that they will never be able to rip the Arya Stark out of her.

And one way or another, such a "contract kill" will add a whole new angle to this question of Arya's moral character...it does seem that her church friends see her as a sociopath--or worse, a noblewoman--and they are trying to teach her that it's not okay to kill people that haven't been assigned. Arya Stark might have opinions about who deserves to live or die, but the faceless assassin would not. Deserve's got nothin to do with it.

-VM

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Can I add my voice to the chorus who really enjoyed this episode. It was one juicy scene after another.

Slight gripes were

the wight fight(just not scary, especially considering how well they did the opening of the book) and sure Ghost did more than scratch at the door!

Cutting of Tyrion's backstory. However that bit could come at any point really and the audience is getting a pretty good idea of Tyrion's character anyway, even if he is too sympathetic IMO

One other thing I noticed was no Ned flashback and it got me to wondering how on earth they are going to give any hints to what may or may not have really happened between R+L. I know that the depth of the backstory is one of the real strengths of the series and why places like this forum have thrived!

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I am consistently amazed by the intellectual leaps and bounds boarders will go to try to say that Arya's actions do not amount to a really, really horrible person being developed. This is nt to say that given her situation that "desperate times do not call for desperate measures" but can't we just call a spade a spade? I mean, its more than just her actions: its her extreme level of comfort with her actions. When she kills the stable boy (probably justified) its a mere few moments later when she thinks "If I see the boy again, I'll kill him again."

When she wishes to escape Harranehal there is no desire to ascertain any way of escaping that WOULD NOT involve the cold-blooded killing of a guard. I know that in this world, the death of one guard may be considered commonplace, its still shocking that not only would a nine-year old girl WANT to kill a guard (leave to the side the ability to do so), but that once she has done it, she's 100% cool with it, no regrets, nothing at all.

I just want to point out that the same people who think its cool that Arya slew the guard because she had to seem to be many of the same people who hate Jaime because he slew Arys for similar reasons. Same is true for Tywim and Robb: in every case, sure, maybe they didn't HAVE to kill their victim, but all agree it was an easier and far more effective way to end things.

The notion that killing the guard is somehow (implausibly) self-defense is an absurdity on its face. Unless she was under direct threat of eminent bodily harm, its basically her living in a world where she liked it better if the guard was dead.

Finally we have Dareon’s murder. Basically, Cat does not like Daeron and wants his boots so she kills him. The book never explicitly states this but that's pretty much what happened.

From the book:

Dareon’s song was finally ending. As the last notes faded in the air, Lanna gave a sigh and the singer put his harp aside and pulled her up into his lap. He had just started to tickle her when Cat said loudly, “There’s oysters, if anyone is wanting some,” and Merry’s eyes popped open. “Good,” the woman said. “Bring them in, child. Yna, fetch some bread and vinegar.” The swollen red sun hung in the sky behind the row of masts when Cat took her leave of the Happy Port, with a plump purse of coins and a barrow empty but for salt and seaweed.

Dareon was leaving too. He had promised to sing at the Inn of the Green Eel this evening, he told her as they strolled along together. “Every time I play the Eel I come away with silver,” he boasted, “and some nights there are captains there, and owners.” They crossed a little bridge, and made their way down a crooked back street as the shadows of the day grew longer. “Soon I will be playing in the Purple, and after that the Sealord’s Palace,” Dareon went on. Cat’s empty barrow clattered over the cobblestones, making its own sort of rattling music. “Yesterday I ate herring with the whores, but within the year I’ll be having emperor crab with courtesans.”

“What happened to your brother?” Cat asked. “The fat one. Did he ever find a ship to Oldtown? He said he was supposed to sail on the Lady Ushanora.”

“We all were. Lord Snow’s command. I told Sam, leave the old man, but the fat fool would not listen.” The last light of the setting sun shone in his hair. “Well, it’s too late now.”

“Just so,” said Cat as they stepped into the gloom of a twisty little alley.

By the time Cat returned to Brusco’s house, an evening fog was gathering above the small canal. She put away her barrow, found Brusco in his counting room, and thumped her purse down on the table in front of him. She thumped the boots down too.

Martin, George R.R. (2005). A Feast for Crows: A Song of Ice and Fire: Book Four (Kindle Locations 10789-10805). Bantam. Kindle Edition.

Now, the book never explicitly states that Daeron is dead, but considering she has his boots just a mere sentence after we last saw him and that Cat followed him down a dark alley, its pretty clear what occurred.

Self defense? Hardly. She just wanted him dead.

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I didn't at all get the impression that the Greatjon has his outbursts due to careful planning. He seems to be a highly emotional person that boils over when things get out of line. Therefor I think it was well in line with the character and the point that he learned his lesson the first time was shown with all clarity when he stepped down after Robb confronted him.

I get your point. Mine was only that, with two fingers gone, you'd think the lesson wouldn't need to be reminded so fast...

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