We are back with The Wars to Come, the Fandomentalist’s Game of Thrones rewatch that seeks to understand where it all went wrong. While last week had revealed some definite cracks in the plaster, “The Pointy End” reminded us why it was we viewed Season 1 favorably in the first place. Coincidentally, this was George R.R. Martin’s episode for the season. How weird!
This week on the Game of Thrones rewatch, it’s actually go-go-go, and yet without a big action set-piece? How could this be?
Well, it may be because we are actually shown the impact that the events of last week had on everyone, and we mean everyone.
Starting in King’s Landing, Septa Mordane tries to give Sansa a chance to make a run for it from the queen’s men, but it’s Sandor Clegane who catches her. Syrio, on the other hand, is more successful in buying Arya time. While he almost certainly meets his doom at the hands of the Lannisters, Arya escapes the castle interior and blends in among the smallfolk, killing a stable boy in the process.
Ned receives a visitor in his cell: Varys! While Ned asserts his honorable code, Varys points out that the queen now holds his daughter Sansa. Perhaps a lie to save her, and save more bloodshed in general is the better course of action.
The Lannisters certainly think so, which is why they manipulate Sansa into writing a letter to Robb, asking him to ride south and bend the knee to Joffrey. There’s also a bit of courtly charades for everyone. To start, Cersei dismisses Barristan Selmy from the Kingsguard, and he does not take kindly to it. Then Sansa formally pleads for Joffrey to show mercy towards Ned, which he agrees to…if he confesses his crimes.
The rest of the Starks are not exactly willing to take Ned be called a “traitor” lying down. Cat, whose sister withheld the letter from King’s Landing about these events, storms out of the Eyrie when Lysa will not commit the Knights of the Vale to their cause. Meanwhile, Robb receives “Sansa’s” letter and calls the Stark banners. Bran is left as the Stark in Winterfell, and while praying for his family’s safety, learns that the wildling Osha also keeps the old gods.
Cat meets up with Robb at what is now his encampment, where he along with a cast of colorful Northern Lords are strategizing how best to take on the Lannisters. Cat reminds him that he better win, yet when a Lannister spy turns up later having counted Robb’s troops, he lets him go, showing “mercy.”
The Lannisters themselves seem less likely to do so. Back at Tywin’s camp, we see all forces preparing to take on Robb. Tyrion makes it there himself, accompanied by the sellsword Bronn, having survived an almost-nasty run-in with the mountain clans of the Vale. To avoid a scrape, he had promised them the Vale of Arryn itself. He tells Tywin this, and Tywin tells the clansmen that they shall have what has been promised, if they join in the impending fight against the Starks. They agree, but only if Tyrion fights with them as well.
This latest political scrape is felt even up at the Wall. Jon Snow, having just brought in the bodies of two dead rangers that went off with Benjen, learns of what happened to his father from Commander Mormont. The Old Bear warns him not to do anything rash, but when Alliser Thorne antagonizes him, Jon lashes out. He is sent to his quarters, but a restless Ghost leads him to investigate the Lord Commander’s chambers. There, he is attacked by one of the dead rangers! Jon manages to save himself and Jeor by throwing fire on the wight—a dead body that had been touched by a “white walker,” as Sam Tarly later informs them.
Finally, far away in Essos, Dany is dealing with her own political situation. The Dothraki raid a Lhazareen village, collecting slaves in order to get money for ships that will take them for Westeros. Yet Dany objects to the harsh way the Lhazareen are being treated, particularly the women the Dothraki are raping. She puts a stop to it, “claiming” the women as hers. Mago takes issue with this and confronts Drogo; the two men end up fighting with the Khal coming out the victor. In the process he is cut and wounded. When a Lhazareen woman volunteers to clean it out, Dany insists that Drogo allow her to do so, despite the protests from his bloodriders that this woman is a witch.
How did this much happen in 60 minutes without feeling rushed or unearned? We discuss that, and more, below.
Initial, quick reaction
Kylie: For some reason I had it in my head that D&D had written this episode, and George R.R. Martin had written “Baelor” (I zone out during credits pretty much always). Yet when things kept happening that were actually easy to follow, the writing and dialogue sounded good, and everything clicked together, I began to suspect otherwise. I think this particular director (and/or editor?), Alan Taylor, had some awkward jump-cuts, but that is a minor complaint for what was otherwise the strongest episode of this season. I swear I was thinking this even when I believed D&D were the writers!
Bo: Yeah, I was really struck by how well-structured the episode was. Almost every scene flowed fluidly into the next, the conversations were natural, and all the changes felt right. There are some funky timeline issues, I think. A lot of this episode had to take place over weeks, if not months, and I struggled to order it all in my head. I can’t hold that against this episode too strongly, though. I’d be here complaining if they threw in an awkward “it’s been three weeks since this happened” for every scene.
Julia: Yeah, I don’t quite trust myself to be objective, but this episode has easily been the best written so far. All the characters actually felt the way they were supposed to be (assuming they’re supposed to be like their book counterparts, of course) and it didn’t feel nearly as long and stuffed with content as it was. When I contrast that to the season 7 episodes I’m rewatching right now, where getting through even one plotline’s worth of scenes has me procrastinating so much that my house is actually clean…
Alejandra: I have been watching the season on my DVD box set, which had been sporting a good layer of dust since I used it last. It was hard for me to remember why I liked this show. This season, and this episode in particular reminded me. I feel the same way as Julia that I can’t be objective; as soon as I saw George R.R. Martin wrote it, I said out loud, “this will be good,” and I was right.
Dan: God… This episode. I really wish the hacks writing the new seasons would go watch this episode to learn how to write a damn show. I mean we’re just coming out of our biggest “OMG twist” of the season and rather than just lean on the shock of it, George actually shows the way characters are affected by it. Everyone is in character and everything we’ve been lead to believe is unraveling. Where did this Game of Thrones go?
Bo: I’m going with both scenes involving the Small Council, Cersei, and Sansa. I adored how perfectly orchestrated they both were. Poor Sansa thinks she’s there to convince everyone of something they decided well before she walked in the room, and I felt that with every word. Makes me wonder how long they spent practicing. Do you think they hired the Braavos theater troupe to help out?
My lowlight is kind of unfair, but I have such total distaste for everything involving big border walls after this past week. I guess I’ll pretend that had nothing to do with it and just lazily point out how Kit Harrington can’t close his mouth for some reason.
Julia: I think all the Starks hit it out of the park this week. Robb’s arc even was, like, convincing in a way I didn’t think this show was capable of being. I guess I was convinced like Greatjon when he sicced Grey Wind on him. And gold stars for creepy Rickon and the Godswood scene.
But I think my favorite is the scene with Ned and Varys in the black cells. It was all Sean Bean’s fault. “The madness of mercy,” you guys. The only thing that would have made it better is if he mentioned Jon at all. And, just saying, this would also have been the perfect damage control spot for a fever dream.
I’m going with Bo (GWB?) that the on the Wall stuff being the weakest. As Griffin was going on about last week, aging up Jon the way they did makes him seem like an immature moron, and the show needed to do a lot more work than it did to deal with this problem.
Bo: It’s really hard not to feel bitter about the lack of Ned’s dream here.
Dan: I think in retrospect the lack of dream only seems bad with hindsight after the hamfisted way they handled R+L. At the time I really didn’t miss it.
Kylie: I love that there’s actually a variety of scenes we can think up for highlights…that’s really really rare in later seasons, unless we’re talking ironic enjoyment.
I may actually pick Syrio’s final scene as my highlight, though. Maisie Williams’s acting was perfectly on-point for what the scene required, but that Syrio is just delightful. I know he’s different from how he’s described in the books, I just don’t care one jot. There was that playfulness of his, even knowing how it was going to turn out for him. The worst I can say is the blocking was slightly awkward to the point where I was confused why he didn’t pick up a fallen sword, but character-wise I think it was fantastic.
Of course, I’m making a conscious effort not to double up on your highlights here.
I guess my lowlight is Jonny being sent to his room without supper? He’s a grown-ass man that can’t handle a single taunt. Robb being the only one to think of a feint was another minor point of contention, but that’s only because I know what’s coming with Hero Robb and Sidelined Cat. In and of itself it was a perfectly fine way to build tension and not give away the game.
Alejandra: I will go ahead and agree with everyone that the Starks were the best part of the episode, particularly Sansa. I can almost pinpoint the moment when the veil began to lift from her eyes regarding the Lannisters and King’s Landing, when she asks to see her father and is surprised by how everyone gangs up on her and force her to write the letter (that cursed letter!). Innocent baby Sansa.
In an effort not to repeat everyone’s lowlight, I’ll say Daenerys was mine. The sole reason being I didn’t really enjoy watching her scenes and couldn’t wait to get back to Westeros.
Dan: It may be my love of Sean Bean leaking through, but my highlight is Ned and Varys in the dungeon. I love the way Ned’s idealism is so perfectly and calmly picked apart by the mysterious eunuch. “Do you look at me and see a hero?” “It was your mercy that killed the king.” And I love the way his “I serve the realm” line hits in this scene.
Close second might be Winterfell. It’s short but everything I love about Robb’s character is here: impulsive, inexperienced, and deeply frightened beneath his kingly mask. I love the Northern lords and it’s clear that Martin understand them better than almost any other writer. “You’re meat is bloody tough” is one of my favorite lines and a great way to introduce Lord Umber.
Lowlight is for sure Cat and Lysa. I think it might just because I hate the bloody Arryns. It’s not just “man they’re annoying” like in the book—I actively want to get the scene over with. It’s not good.
I also find it funny that another lowlight of this episode, the Wall scenes, would basically become a highlight as the storylines in the south and east get progressively more incoherent.
Quality of writing
Kylie: Good! It was very good! Like…notably good. The worst I can say is that jumps in between plotlines were a little awkward, but I think that’s more about the wonky establishing shots than the writing itself. I feel worried that I’m falling into some kind of cognitive trap, but even when I was watching Bronn and Tyrion’s scene thinking it was still a D&D episode, there wasn’t anything earning an eye roll. Stuff is seeded here (we need the Frey bridge), stuff is explained without talking down to the audience (“a letter from the queen, you mean”), and the dialogue flows. I think the Northern Lords could have done with a bit more of an intro, but I don’t fault the hyper-focus on the Greatjon given how many eventually need to be covered.
Julia: I agree completely! I even agree about the probable cognitive trap. But the thing I noticed is that there was a coherence to this episode that usually seems to be lacking. And this is almost certainly the cognitive trap thing, but the timeline was ridiculous and it didn’t bother me so much. You know, like Empire Strikes Back, rather than, um, later GoT.
Bo: When the timeline not being too well established is the worst thing about an episode of GoT, I think it it written pretty well. Like Kylie said, even the Tyrion/Bronn scene didn’t feel quite so annoying as I expected. Characters spoke the way you expect and nothing obviously awful made me groan. I don’t think it was leagues beyond every preceding episode (I’d say this was about how the third episode felt to me), but this is about as good as Game of Thrones writing ever was.
Alejandra: Yes, good. A point of interest for me is how little violence there is in this episode. There is the Stark massacre at the beginning (tame, for a GoT massacre), Jon’s fight, and some true carnage with the Dothraki, but that’s about it. That is so low by the show’s later standards. This is political drama at its best, which in my opinion is also GoT at its best.
Dan: You know when you photocopy something over and over, the quality of the image starts to diminish as you go over each copy again and again? That’s what Game of Thrones is. Each season is a photocopy of this one, down to keeping the big twists in similar places. But as D&D copied Martin’s formula, it deteriorated. It’s episodes like this that illustrate that. As the show goes on, the writing becomes less about how the story turns affect characters and more about the turns themselves. It doesn’t get too bad until after The Red Wedding, but this is no doubt the high point for how the show handles twists.
Kylie: And the biggest part of that, Dan, is that D&D’s interviews have given the indication that the Red Wedding was the big twist they wanted to adapt to, because it surprised them so much when they read it. The emotional energy just kind of drains out after that. We’re watching it at its highest right now.
Our 8th grade book report (on themes)
Julia: Omg, I think there actually is one! It’s mercy!
The clearest thread here is between Ned’s scene near the beginning of the episode, where his mercy got him into this jam, and the final scene where Sansa asks for mercy for him. But there’s also Robb being a merciful lord with the whole meat-cutting thing and Dany being merciful in the horrible, gross, Dothraki context.
Related is the need to protect children. This is still running through Ned’s arc. And it’s clearly there when Syrio and Septa Mordane literally die to protect Arya and Sansa. Even Lysa is protecting her sonion. So is Cersei, in her wonderful Cersei way.
Bo: The theme of mercy definitely runs through a lot of scenes. Some characters show it, some don’t, and everyone spends the majority of this episode dealing with the consequences of their choice to show mercy or not.
Kylie: Even Barry’s dismissal—it’s framed as being this compassionate offer, but we see how much it tears him up. This is what separates the good guys from the bad guys on this show, you know? A pity that it devolves into costume choices and musical cues.
Alejandra: Yes, yes, and yes. I would add a little bit of loyalty into the mix. How far does it go? What reinforces it and what shatters it? Septa Mordane and Syrio’s remains solid. Jon’s loyalty to the Night’s Watch flakes for a bit. Robb and Cat’s to Ned and the Stark honor, and Lysa’s loyalty to her sister, which only goes so far. Drogo betrays his people’s loyalty by siding with Dany, and Dany demonstrates hers don’t lie with the Dothraki. Ser Barristan would have remained loyal to the throne all his life, but Joffrey’s dismissal pushes him over an edge. Some characters end the episode with an open question: will Sansa remain loyal to Joffrey or Ned? Who or what is Varys really loyal to? Even Tyrion, Bronn and the tribes make a point about changing loyalties out of convenience.
Dan: I’d argue that this episode is less about mercy on it’s own, but instead the cruelty of mercy. This is where Martin’s subversion of traditional fantasy comes out. It’s not basic shit like “people die” or “people shit” or “there’s no magic.” It’s his deconstruction of basic themes of mercy. This episode is the counterpart to all of the times in writing where the hero spares the villain or the monsters are let go. There is no mercy in this episode that goes unpunished and only the ones who understand that (Tyrion, Cersei, Varys) are the ones coming out on top.
Kylie: I think it’s safe to say Martin’s earned full marks on his book report.
Cracks in the plaster (the bullshit to come)
Bo: I might be overlooking some obvious moments here, because I can’t think of anything. Not really. We know what the show will eventually make of Sansa’s letter. We know wights will eventually look and act like silly skeletons and generic zombies rather than the creepy terminator-style threat of this episode.
I suppose this episode was the birth of the Tyrion-Bronn bromance, which in turn births the buddy trips that define Game of Thrones later.
Julia: I think one of the things I praised, Robb’s developing leadership as he sets out on his first military campaign, is also a crack. Because what the fuck does he need Cat for? He’s clearly listening to her advice, but dude is projecting an air of confidence. And they took out all the material where he shows fear or vulnerability, like when he cried in Bran’s room, for example. And it’s understandable, since they’re trying to avoid the mistake they made with Jon and have Robb actually act like the adult he’s supposed to be, but of course it’s Cat who gets screwed by it.
Alejandra: The letter. I couldn’t stop thinking about the stupid letter. When both Maester Luwin and Cat pointed out it was Cersei’s words and not Sansa’s, I yelled out that “it’s just common sense!”
Kylie: Oh my god, it was like I was enraged all over again. How are they this bad at interpreting their own show? Or did they rewatch this scene thinking, “well Lyanna Mormont wouldn’t have written that.”
Bo: They probably do think that, since Lyanna is just their copy of what they think makes season 1 Arya a good character and they had Arya say, “I wouldn’t have written it”. Why, yes you would have. The moment it was clear your father’s life depended on it, you would have written that letter.
Alejandra: I doubt they have rewatched it, though? Or maybe they did, but only season one. If they’d gone as far as season 2 they would have maybe realized how blatant season 7 Arya’s hypocrisy really is.
Julia: I think they see everything that happens to Sansa as a punishment for this “betrayal” the same way they see Theon’s “cardinal sin” as “betraying the Starks.” Now that they’ve both paid for it they can be redeemed.
Excuse me, I need to go barf.
Bo: Oh wow, they adapted so much so well in this episode. I’m still not sure how Syrio is still so perfectly book!Syrio despite having such a drastically different flavor to his character. This right here, this fight scene against Trant and the Lannister guards, that’s how the Tower of Joy scene should have looked.
I also adored Cat and Robb’s reunion. That was exactly how I pictured it.
Kylie: Had Syrio’s scene been written in Season 7, we’d have seen him getting killed for sure. Probably in a horrific way, just because.
Julia: If only he were a Pornishman, he could have used two swords and spun them.
Kylie: Robb being aged up changes a lot about the dynamic of his battle (though it’s not quite Billy Bones Tarly experiencing the horrors of war), but I like that this scene still played out as such. It’s clear Cat has strong affection for him, but isn’t trying to undermine his rule. It’s also clear Robb is new at this, but all things considered rises to the occasion. It was just a touching moment.
There wasn’t a ton that was changed that’s jumping to mind for me. I think the Barry stripping/Sansa pleading scene perfectly showed the farce of courtly nature.
I’m sorry, I keep laughing about the scene where Sansa writes a letter under duress, literally being told it’d save Ned’s life. As we said, they were watching it going, “huh, Sansa kind of is a traitor when you think about it, because we’re very good at these edgy readings.” Like…this is actually their interpretation.
Bo: Maybe they don’t read Martin’s scripts any closer than they read his books? Let’s pay attention to this moving forward. How do D&D adapt Martin’s episodes in their own show based on Martin’s books?
Julia: At least they didn’t insert any scenes of gratuitous torture into this episode?
Yeah, there’s really not much to complain about other than the dead horse that aging up the kids is having consequences.
Alejandra: If D&D didn’t get the subtext in the books, it’s not a surprise they can’t get it from a screenplay, where so much more is left unsaid.
Honestly it has made me super emotional to see the characters I know and love from the books on-screen, and they haven’t been showcased better than in this episode, so far.
Dan: Nobody does it better than the creator. Not much to change here because Martin is actually allowed to use the slow, comprehensive plotting that makes his book both work and bust 500 pages. It’s when they start forcing that type of show into some action-packed format that the books start drifting further and further away.
Kylie: Other than Mago vs. Drogo, this was incredibly action-light, now that I think about it. I did not miss it.
Carol Watch: who is Cersei this week?
Bo: She was Cersei pretending to be Carol! Most of what we saw was her playing the kindly, put-upon queen role in front of Sansa. It’s obvious she doesn’t mean a word of it, though. As a book reader, she made me very happy in this episode.
Julia: There weren’t any scenes where she was the focus at all, but I liked the scene with Sansa a lot too. It gave us a good look into how Sansa sees her now. Remember that little moment where Sansa tells Sandor that if he tries anything she’ll tell on him to Cersei? Poor kid and her destruction of idealization.
Kylie: This episode and “Blackwater” are the only two where Cersei is truly, consistently Cersei. I wonder what they have in common.
Dan: I’m still a firm believer that Cersei has been pretending to be Carol all season. She doesn’t become the mask for a season or two. But as Kylie said, this is one of the few episodes where we see the mask for what it is.
Exposition Imposition: good or clunky?
Julia: Like Kylie already said. It was good. I particularly enjoyed learning about the Freys. And we learned that the kingsguard is supposed to serve for life.
Bo: The exposition worked well enough that I never felt like I was being exposited to. That’s a big deal. You always want to relay information without feeling like a scene exists only to relay information. Tyrion and the mountain clans was another good example. He tells us who they are and what they do through a scene based around convincing them not to kill him. It’s these techniques that Martin uses so well in his books.
Kylie: We did have Jorah explaining Dothraki things to Dany yet again (their slaving), but in this context, it kinda made sense since there’s a clear values dissonance between them and Dany here. Of course, Jorah was a slaver, so him kind of presenting it like, “that’s the way of the world” was super uncomfortable. But in general, it felt more organic, at least with this context. Then we had the Dothraki themselves making casual remarks about their feelings on witches, preventative medicine, and the Lhazareen. It never felt explain-y, like Bo said.
Dan: The show’s handling of Tywin always impresses me. We’ve only just met him and the show continues to build up his myth. Tyrion’s apprehension and the fear of Cat and the Northern Lords do much to keep him a towering figure over the story even as we’ve yet to see him do anything.
I’d also make a point of the way characters are explained by action. Lord Umber is perhaps my favorite example of this. He gets three scenes this episode, yet he became so many people’s favorite as his character is so perfectly encapsulated in his limited screen time.
Kylie: Laughing after getting your fingers chewed off is instant characterization, that’s for sure.
How was the pacing?
Alejandra: It was jarring at times but I can forgive it, mostly because moving some scenes around would make it much better in terms of the time-frame, especially the Wall, which was the shortest storyline, and Robb and Cat, who journeyed the longest. The problem is that narratively it would throw off the entire episode.
Kylie: I agree with this assessment, I think. I didn’t have trouble following a single thing, and so much happened, but it felt choppy, without question. There were weird calls too…the establishing shot of Robb’s camp was the Lannister guard being paraded in, but we had no idea who he was or where he came from at that time. Then there was a ton of back-and-forth with plotlines.
I think given the ground to cover, it worked more than it didn’t. But it stood out to me about as much as Star Wars wipes stand out, and it’s never the best sign to be wondering, “wait, who the hell directed this?” in the middle of an episode.
Julia: The amount of stuff that happened is stupid. That being said, I simply don’t remember being distracted by any of it the way I will be later on in the show’s run. However, yeah, now that I think about it… The stuff with Robb had to take place over weeks. The King’s Landing happenings maybe can be extended to that long if you’re super generous, but the stuff at the Wall clearly took place over one day and night.
How long was the trip to Bespin again?
Bo: This episode was an example of why people are willing to make excuses for stupid crap like “Beyond the Wall” later on. It’s obvious all of this happens in drastically different time frames and piecing the timeline together is somewhat confusing. The clues are there, but you can tell how Martin’s freewheeling nature with numbers and logistics plays second-fiddle to plot here. Things moved fast and they didn’t really make clear how much time took place or when it took place in relation to everything else. Maybe the most annoying example of this takes place with Cat. Just how long was she in the Eyrie after Tyrion’s trial?
Julia: The difference in “Beyond the Wall” was that the timeline didn’t make sense within a single plotline, I don’t think that was the case here. Like, Robb didn’t teleport to Moat Calin and then send Bran a raven about it in the time it took Bran to eat one tuna salad sandwich.
Dan: This is similar to past episodes like “The Kingsroad,” where we’re seeing all of the facets of the world reacting to a big plot development. As I noted before, this is the strength of Martin’s writing in that it allows for us to see how the characters react. The reason why the cast becomes more and more two-dimensional as the show goes can be chalked up to a lack of episodes like this as the show goes along. The only really glaring hole I can find is Cat getting around, although the Vale is always farther north than I think and Robb had already moved south.
Let’s talk about sex, baby
Kylie: I guess it’s just sexual violence for this week? We had the Dothraki raping, and Dany reacting by trying to put a stop to it and “claiming” all the women. I think it was done without a space for apology since we’re meant to be sympathizing with Dany first and foremost here (not that that itself is free of problems), and that it was fairly reserved in what we were shown. At least, given what’s to come. The racial implications are still definitely at play. Even Drogo seemed more happy with Dany being all pissed off and unwavering than he actually appeared to agree with her.
Julia: Considering her suggested alternative to rape is forced marriage, yeah, I’d argue that Dany still has a long way to go. And Drogo is just turned on by her assertiveness because he’s got weird sexual tastes.
For some reason, I liked Osha’s reaction to Hodor’s prosthetic penis. I feel like she’s a woman who’s comfortable with her sexuality.
Bo: Osha was delightful. I think the Godswood scene might play a big role in the show inspiring Martin to expand her role in the books.
Julia: Why has no one insisted she take a bath and comb her hair, though? Like, isn’t there a snooty housekeeper like in My Fair Lady to insist that the staff all look presentable and threaten them with hot soapy water?
Bo: I was actually surprised we didn’t see Karl-fookin-Tanner-style gratuitous rape during the Dothraki scene. There’s no doubt what they would do to those women, but we didn’t actually have to watch the Dothraki toss them atop the dead bodies and perform the act. You don’t need to do that, you know? You can make the threat clear without it, as this episode did.
And I have to mention this because it’s driving me crazy. Go figure a Martin-written episode finally puts Sam on screen without him talking about girls. I’m so sick of that being the introduction to every scene he is in. Thank you, George.
Julia: He likes books as well as girls. Who knew!?
Dan: I mean we did get some actual male nudity in a show that refuses to acknowledge any penis but Tyrion’s, at least.
Alejandra: I am a believer that showing explicit sex on-screen is rarely necessary, so I appreciate an episode light on it. I also appreciate a scene with nudity but no sexual charge; it’s not something one often sees on TV.
In memoriam…Septa Mordane, Syrio, Stableboy, Mago, Othor (again)
Kylie: I love that Septa Mordane and Syrio were allowed to die off-screen. It wasn’t Blackfish-esque at all either, where it’s a fight that we weren’t bothered being shown. The conclusion of those scenes were obvious, and rather than voyeuristically inviting us to consume the tragedy, we get tasteful cuts.
Alejandra: I must confess my eyes watered at the first few minutes of the episode. It’s amazing that at some point this show understood when to cut out of a scene and how long to keep a shot. The few seconds they stopped to give Septa Mordane, a minor character, her worthy exit made all the difference for me.
Julia: I think Arya killing the stable boy is worth discussing too. Way back in one of our Braavos retrospectives, Kylie and I argued that it was the one “kill” of Arya’s that was actually adapted accurately on the show.
Dan: Syrio isn’t dead! I refuse to accept it! The First of Braavos does not run, and he doesn’t die to Meryn Trant. I don’t know if he’s Jaqen H’ghar, a different faceless man, or the Stranger himself, but Syrio didn’t get murked so easily. Septa Mordane got a good death purely because she’s been build up as like…the one asshole in Ned’s retinue (mostly because the show stans Arya hard), but she gets revealed to be just as honorable (and stupid) as the rest of them.
Alejandra: Hope dies last!
Kylie: Maybe we’ll get Syrio Coldhands in Season 8.
Bo: *cries due to plausibility*
Kylie: A plausible impossibility, one might say. (That tank top made me very popular at ClexaCon.)
Okay, I’ll stop now…as will we for this week. Next week we’ve got possibly the most iconic episode with “Baelor,” but what did our readers think of “The Pointy End”? Are we too wooed by Martin’s writing? Was it actually elevated? Is Jon actually a weak link in this show?
Let us know, and as always, we wish you good fortune in The Wars to Come.