Monday, June 9, 2014

Game of Thrones: Season 4 Episode 9 - The Watchers on the Wall

Hello fellow Westerosians and men of the Night's Watch!  Game of Thrones is well known for pulling out all of the stops in their 9th episodes.  Season 1, we lost our protagonist Ned Stark.  Season 2, Neil Marshall came in and directed the hell out of the Battle of Blackwater.  Season 3, TV fans were introduced to the Red Wedding.  This season is capping off the most intense book in George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire and has been flooded with crazy episodes and moments.  But alas, they may have topped Blackwater with this episode and they gave us The Battle at Castle Black (directed by Marshall again)!  It was, in short, amazingly produced with a TV sized budget.  Now, the Night's Watch/North story is not necessarily the most interesting storyline for fans of the show but it's incredibly important for where this story is headed.  And trust me, if you're still looking for twists and turns and a "9th episode" feel for this season you may get a few of them in the finale!  I've been saying for a couple years now that book 3 of the series was jammed packed with plot developments and was an amazing read.  Anyway, I can keep rambling on here or get into the recap of this battle!

My note on spoilers is always the same.  I don't intentionally seek to spoil non-book readers (granted, teases like I did above are hard to contain).  If I am going to write something spoilery, I will save it for the comments and note it with a huge spoiler warning.  That said, if a plot does happen on the show that resembles something from the book, I do like to compare that in my write-up.  Now that we have that out of the way, let's dive in!

As always, with these big episodes EW has lots of coverage for us to read:

Discussion Points
  • The amazing directing that is being praised for this episode was the ability to keep us geographically aware of what was going on.  There was the raid from the south with Ygritte, Tormund Giantsbane and Styr (leader of the Thenns), Mance's armies from the North and of course the shifting of strategies to defend the castle and the Wall within Castle Black. 
  • Let's get this out of the way.  Gilly and baby returned to the wall undetected by the Wildlings, and we had lots of scenes about Sam fawning over her and wanting to know more about intimacy with women.   I did like his dissection of the Night's Watch oath that he gave to Jon about how it never says they can't "do stuff" with women.  There just has to be some kind of birth control!  Anyway, it's been obvious for awhile that Sam loves Gilly but they had some sweet moments in this episode.  He professed to protect her and never leave her again and locked her in some basement area that should be safe from battle.  There was some smooching too! Ooooh Sam, I'm telling! 
  • With the timing of everything being different in the book, we basically had Ser Alliser Throne and Janos Slynt (former Commander of the Kings Landing City Watch, betrayer of Ned Stark and sent to the wall by Tyrion in season 2) leading the remaining crew of Castle Black.  They actually showed up as reinforcements in the book.  But, it makes sense that they use characters we know.  It was an impressive feat that they got us to actually root for Alliser during the raid.  We always knew that he had the best intentions for the Night's Watch when he trained the new recruits and that he would be ready for battle should anything come.  But, it was also clear of his disdain for Jon Snow.  They had him confess to Jon that sealing the tunnel was a good idea, but being a leader you can't question yourself or you're all dead.  We see Jon take that advice later when he heads north of the Wall.  
  • Sam gets to be heroic in this episode and explains to Pyp that when he killed the White Walker he didn't think about being Sam Tarly.  He didn't think of anything, he just did.  He had to protect Gilly.  We see him showing some great courage in this episode when defending the south raid.  Pyp was nervous for battle, and eventually hit a wildling and had he and Sam had their "I GOT IT!!" "Don't get cocky kid" Star Wars moment.  But sadly, that was their last moment as Ygritte got Pyp with a flaming arrow.  Dan and Dave are getting pretty bold with their book changes.  Pyp is still alive and ticking in the books!  But, with battles like these the stakes have to be real and there need to be casualties of characters we know.  They've been doing well with the adjustments they've made previously so there's no doubt in my mind they can handle this.  Pyp is a minor character, but he was with Jon Snow since the beginning of the series.  And he had quite the send-off.  RIP Pyp! 
  • It was fun seeing Janos Slynt not be prepared for battle when he finally had to lead the archers on the wall.  Grenn did a good job getting him out of there and then Jon Snow got to show some leadership skills, that have pretty much been on display all season.  He made key decisions for the strategy on the wall, and to lead the charge against the wildlings in the Castle.  
  • I know I'm all over the place!  So there was some impressive imagery coming from north of the Wall.  We had Giants (introduced last season), mammoths and lots and lots of wildlings and of course the biggest fire the North has ever seen! (promised by Mance last season)  Lots of archer attacks, oil barrels lit on fire and exploding at the bottom of the wall.  The coolest weapon the Watch used was that scythe that scaled the Wall and took out the climbers.  That was an amazing effects shot.  In the interview with Neil Marshall, he discussed that that was debated on if they really needed it.  I'm glad they kept it! 
  • There was also the impressive shot where the giant had a large bow and arrow and it blew up some stuff on top of the wall then sent a guy flying into the other part of the battle.  Awesome. 
  • The Giants and the Mammoth were set on tearing open the gate at the tunnel.  Jon Snow sent Grenn and a few men to defend the gate no matter the cost.  If the Giants got through, it was over.  They were able to take out the mammoth and one of the giants with an exploding barrel (I think, it's all a blur in my mind!).  But one giant kept on pushing.  He was able to lift the gate.  The rangers were freaking out, but Grenn under the leadership of Jon, was able to rally them and keep them ready for battle.  They had a rousing rendition of the Night's Watch Oath and off-screen they held that gate as commanded.  But, it did cost them their lives.  And yet again we have another death of a character we've known since season 1 and he's still alive in the books.   Grenn and Pyp fall in the Battle of Castle Black.  Crazy.  They were good minor characters on the show and will be missed!  RIP! 
  • Meanwhile, Alliser Throne got injured while fighting Tormund and was taken away from battle.  Jon Snow left Dolores Edd in charge of the Wall and went down to help out.  And of course, we see Hero Jon go into action slaying everything in his path.  And we have an epic showdown with Styr which he is victorious in the end.  
  • There is also Ollie, a made up character for the show who we've been tracking in the background since his town was raided by Ygritte and the wildlings.  In that first episode, there is a clear scene where he focuses on Ygritte, so many speculated that it wouldn't be the last time we saw this kid.  Sure enough, he is seen scared in this episode, helping with the elevator at the wall, getting an encouraging speech from Sam, and then eyeing up a bow.  
  • After Jon handles Styr, he ends up in Ygritte's crosshairs, but again she just can't bring it upon herself to kill him.  Her hesitation ends up being her downfall as she gets an arrow through the heart courtesy of Ollie who basically gives Jon a thumbs up after helping him out of a messy situation.  In the books we certainly do lose Ygritte in this battle, but it is unknown how she gets injured.   But in both book and show, there is the tearful farewell between these 2 doomed-from-the-start lovers.  It was nice to hear her say her signature line one more time as Jon suggested they'd go back to their cave.  "You know nothing Jon Snow."   RIP Ygritte.  Rose Leslie did a great job bringing her to life on screen. 
  • Mance's armies fled round 1 of the attack, and the Night's Watch took care of the invading army from the south.  They were granted a temporary reprieve.  Jon knew that Mance was just testing.  We certainly didn't see 100,000 men advancing towards the wall.   Of course, it's not 100,000 soldiers.  There are mothers and children too.  We have to remember Mance wants to get the hell out of the North due to those little mythical creatures known as White Walkers rising.  
  • Anyway, Jon decides that he has to try and take out Mance.  It's the only reason all of the forces of the North are united.  Somehow Mance has found a way to rally them to this cause.  This is a little different from the books.  When Throne and Slynt arrive at the Wall, they arrest Jon for suspecting that he has joined the Wildlings.  And then they end up sending him North of the Wall to take out Mance.  But, due to the timing of book vs. show this made sense.  Plus, it once again showed Jon making a leadership call.  The episode ends with him walking beyond the gate and North of the Wall while Sam looks on in admiration and fear.  
  • Truthfully, I'm a little surprised where they cut this episode off.  There are some key events, obviously, still to come in that conflict.  My advice would be if you like to look up this stuff to see book differences after they happen I'd hold off on this one.  There would be some big spoilers.  Of course, due to the number of things that still need to happen to close up book 3, something tells me some stuff might get pushed to next season.  Because, there's still tons of stuff to cover in the South next week!  
I think the finale is an extended episode and I can barely contain my anticipation for the events that will all hopefully go down!  In the meantime though, we should certainly discuss this episode and the show in general in the comments below.  Hope you enjoyed my ramblings and I'll see you next week! 


MJ said...

Haven't read your recap yet

What a great ep. Loved that the entire ep was the battle - or pre-battle since Jon thinks they are coming back the next night.

Knew either Jon or Ygritte would die and I guess better Ygritte then Jon - but I liked her too.

I'm in denial that next week is it for another whole year.

Was surprised that the blind guy (maester Aemon) is a Targaeryn ! Was this a big reveal for non-bookers or have I forgotten that I knew that ? LOL

Ok - off to read your recap !

Mike V. said...

MJ - I'm sure it's easy to forget, but Aemon admitted to Jon he was a Targaryan in the season 1 finale. Jon was going to ride off to war when Ned died and Aemon talked about how difficult it was when his brother (i.e. The Mad King Aerys Targaryan) was killed. At least I think I'm remembering that relationship correctly. But yeah...he's definitely a Targaryan. And the reminder may come more into play next season if they follow the books.

I know...the 10 episode seasons suck but I prefer quality over quantity always! And I think it takes them that long just to produce these 10. I mean look at that episode we just watched, on a TV budget no less! That had to take forever to shoot. I like to think of Game of Thrones as "EVENT TELEVISION". So it comes on for 10 weeks a year and it's an event when it happens. You anticipate it all year long and savor it when it's on. Of course, rewatching the show during hiatuses always helps ease the pain too...and remember small details (or catch more details you missed the first time lol).

Plus...I think everyone is going to need time to process the events that may transpire next week. I'm sure sales for A Feast for Crows and A Dance With Dragons may spike after it. lol

I hate overhyping for thinking things may not live up to expectations, but I think this team is gonna knock it out of the park!

Anonymous said...

MJ, I agree, the season is too short and GRRM agrees with us--LOL! Mike and I have posted a lot on this--lol.

I am so glad Alex didn't direct this ep and it shows that a good director was at work. It was a great ep. I agree that it ended in a strange place and so it made me think this is kind of a 2 part season finale.

I loved when the guy from KL goes to the storage locker and Gilly's there--she'll let Sam know the guys a coward.

MJ, honestly it wouldn't have bothered me if Jon dies, I don't like the actor even though he's not bad and there's a few decisions the character makes in the books that drive me nuts given that he's supposed to be a great leader.

I love the guy with the red beard, forget his name, but he'll be around so it seems. The giants and mammoth were awesome.

Giving Sam his sword I don't think was in the books?

Great to see Summer going to battle, maybe the leaders will let him out now.

I expect ep 10 to go further with the battle, but I don't know if they'll finish what is in book 3? Since there's not a lot of great battles in books 4 and 5, it could make a good first ep continuation for next season? But I don't know or really have a clue--lol.

MJ said...

Janos Slynt showed himself to be a total coward ! Maybe I have to re-watch it but Sam was heroic ? I didn't see it. He
hunkered down with Pyp and handed him bows. Told him how he was able to NOT be himself to defeat the whitewalker.
Then barely got the shot off that did save himself.

Loved the Scythe ! I kept thinking that they needed to knock some ice off the wall somehow to stop the climbers - never dreaming they had that. Had not read that the show almost cut it out. And that Giant's arrow that you mentioned was pretty awesome as well as the Giant pulling open that gate after his fellow Giant was killed.

One of my book-reader friends has said the same - lots more wall stuff to come. He thinks it will be in the finale - think he might have said 2 big things need to occur.

The EW recapper thinks Martell's death was worse than the Red Wedding ? I don't agree with that at all. And as for viewers who
keep threatening to stop watching due to the deaths of faves - WTH ! It's war and people die. I don't understand that they can't see that.

I like Jon Snow - but maybe cause I haven't readd all those bad decisions. LOL

I think the red beard guy is Giantsbane or something like that. LOL

Mike V. said...


You need to give Alex a break! lol But, yeah we have known for awhile that Neil Marshall was returning to direct the big battle.

Jon decisions - curious to the decisions you're referring to. I'm sure it's ones that may still happen on the show. And well talking about them may imply him living or dying in the next episode! lol

Red beard - Tormund Giantsbane. Yeah, he's awesome. He was captured by The Night's Watch. And yes, I would expect him to stick around for a bit. But, any further discussion would have to go into the spoiler area!
I don't remember Jon giving Sam the sword, but it's possible it happened.

No comment on Summer and "leaders" lol

I think we'll get the conclusion of this battle next week but there's still tons of stuff to cover in the other stories obviously! Next week's episode is 68 minutes or something like that. So, they might be able to fit a few things. I'm going to respond to MJ then I'll go into "BOOK STUFF" lol

In season 1, Sam would've been in that basement locker with Gilly and Janos. He certainly was being brave and it was LOVE that was causing him to be brave. He had something to fight for. He was not just handing Pyp bows. He was shooting people himself if I'm not mistaken...and then yes he took out a THENN! Yeah, he barely got it off..but the point was HE DID! Sam of season 1 would've been dead! He was awesome...he even braved the war elements to go tell Jon they needed help. And he was encouraging others like Ollie to fight. Brave, Heroic, leadership qualities.

That scythe thing actually didn't happen in the books but it was awesome! And it was on a big chain...many are wondering if the chain was an homage to something cut from Battle of Blackwater that was a big element to Tyrion's genius in the books.

Yep...2 big things AT THE WALL need to occur (but I'm starting to think 1 might happen at the beginning of next season). And 2 other big things in the episode need to occur. I'm so psyched!

Many people were emotionally affected by Oberyn's readers and TV watchers alike. Not necessarily plotwise...but the way it was filmed. It certainly was gruesome! Hibberd may have been talking about how emotionally effective Oberyn's death was vs. Red Wedding. Sure Red Wedding was certainly more brutal....but people LOOOOOVED Oberyn. They thought he was a breath of fresh air in this dreary world. (same in the books...he was like a new hope after the Red wedding...and that hope was crushed lol) But yeah...this is GRRM's whole thing....he is writing agaisnt common fantasy that whatever you expect to happen will not happen and what does happen will be brutal. The crazy thing is...I'm still expecting some kind of redemption for the Stark family before the end...I'm not sure why I'm still holding out hope! LOL

Jon Snow - Bad decisions. It's tough to say if the decisions were bad or not. But even characters around him in the books question the decisions. Of course, they kind of alluded to that with Jon/Alliser's conversation in this episode.

Mike V. said...

*****BOOK STUFF (SPOILERS!)**************

Bad decisions - Are you referring to his decision to let everyone in when he's commander? Or doesn't he have Alliser or Janos killed for going against his authority? I have to refresh myself on this stuff. But I'm guessing you're talking about decisions he makes in book 5.
So...things definitely that should be in the finale:

S arrives, battle over. (I'm wondering if they'll wait until season 5 premiere to make Jon the Lord Commander)

T vs T & S....maybe they need about 15 minutes of the finale for that (including the revealing scene with J...oh right and we'll finally see V again who has been missing most of the season)...and it will be near the end. I'm hoping for 2nd to last scene with the final scene being:

LS!!!! (they might somehow lump Brienne and Pod into this even though Brienne running into LS didn't happen until later in the books) I think that will be like a CODA to the season. Like the T scene will happen...people's jaws will drop and we'll think it's all over....and then here comes LS to make our heads explode! lol

I'm sure there will be some Dany stuff...but what is anyone's guess. Probably something with the dragons being out of control.
Sansa - She may be done for this season.

Bran - They will get close to that tree or get there. But, I'm not sure we're going to meet CH or not. They may have written the character out.

Theon - There's really no need to focus on him again this season either.

Arya/Hound - That story will conclude and she should board a ship...surely they're not cutting that plot out with the introduction of the city that has been in the opening credits since its only scene.

I'm sure Cersei will get some kind of moment too but no idea what. lol

mj said...

Maybe I need to rewatch too cause sure he ran around and he did encourage men - but he hardly seemed to fight. The guy who admitted he should have sealed the tunnel roused his men - then jumped into the fray, My recollection is Sam did not. True he was more brave than season 1 but thats not saying much. I don't view his actions as heroic as he did what was expected of him. Heroic is going beyond that.

Mike V. said...

I think we need to respectfully disagree on this one! lol I think they were definitely trying to portray that Sam has grown since season 1 and the love for Gilly was fueling it. But yeah, I'll have to watch again too.

Anonymous said...

OK guys, I'll have to read all the comments, but just caught the last 2. I agree that they tried to make Sam look more brave---I certainly could not say heroic. He loaded the crossbow, he didn't fire until the last moment to save his own life. Sam was guardful of Gilly and was encouraging, much more than in the past. But seriously the main guy Alister I think was definitely the best leader. Jon was definitely a leader and they made it very clear that people wanted him to lead. That they respected him. He even seemed reluctant to take control which is a sign of most of the best leaders because they recognize the implications. When Alister went down, Jon was the main man, obviously. But Sam was not nearly as heroic as the guy who led the fight against the giant. To ignore I think Pyp, is a travesty in who was willing to charge into the face of danger vs hiding behind a wall to feed arrows. But, Sam stepped up to help vs simply cower. A big step forward for Sam.

It's hard for me to see Jon as heroic given my personal opinion of the actor. But, certainly his approaching Mance is a very big deal, I just don't know if this way works better than the books????

Just, my opinion.


Mike V. said...

I think we are arguing over semantics of what we consider the definition of heroic. I'm not grading Sam on the same scale as the actual warriors of the night's watch. Lol the fact that he fount and didn't hide, and contributed showed growth of his character. If you guys are not agreeing with me using the word heroic then fine I'll stop. But I think the term can be used loosely. Lol

Mike V. said...

Fought not fount. I'm not even sure how autocorrect made that blunder! Lol

Anonymous said...

Finished reading and thanks guys, this makes the show MUCH more interesting to watch. Seriously, without this I wouldn't be nearly as into it.

Jon Snow's decisions seem to be mostly based on feelings, not a dependable position for a leader. There are more specifics, but that gets to be spoilery. For the TV show, he deserves some questioning given his Wilding adventures--lol. He hasn't had enough time in service for them to trust a man who almost immediately spent so much time with the enemy. He's also young and unproven and so Aliser should question him.

I really don't get the problem with Oberyn's killing--it was a fight to the death and he KNEW the Mountain was a total BA. It's funny to me how punching someone's eyes out is worse than some of the nudity. The eyes popping was totally made up, make up, etc whereas the nudity is the real deal. Just a personal thing. All the gore movies are totally fake and let's not forget the throat slashing of Lady Stark, that was hard to watch. I think this was so effective because it is a rare thing, if not ever seen--for someone to have their eyeballs punched out and skull slow motioned crushed--a new type of scene.

Don't you think it's possible that book 3 could go into next season with this battle?

Thanks for the Giantsbane info, he's awesome. I'm also glad Mance is there.

I was wondering about how long ep 10 would be. Hard to get all in that ep that I'm expecting. I'm beginning to think ep10 won't have all I had originally thought. But, the longer run time will help. Still wanting the intro of a few key new characters!!!


Mike V. said...

Richard I'm giving you a week to process this. Alex Graves directed the finale. Lol

Mike V. said...

I guess it's possible the battle could extend to next season. I don't think it will but it's an idea. Lol

I'll respond on more later!

Anonymous said...


Mike V. said...

Richard, I'm guessing that was you? lol You have to remember, he directed the Purple Wedding too and probably lots of other episodes you loved. I think you're just holding a grudge because of that scene that was interpreted (impossible not to) as rape! Of course, the 15 minutes for that topic has passed for most of the Game of Thrones audience!

I agree though...discussing the show definitely helps to be more invested in it!

We'll just have to wait to debate Jon Snow's antics! lol

I don't think people are complaining about how the death was just emotionally affecting how it was filmed and executed. It took book readers by surprise too. But, it's what happens in the it's just the visual of it all. Of course maybe some complained, I didn't read that. Many were just upset that Oberyn died. Even book fans were hoping this would be a deviation from the books...but we all know he had to die for what's coming! He was just a fan favorite character. But yes...definitely a new type of scene so maybe that's why it was more effective.

Hmm...a few new characters eh? I think we'll definitely get one. Not sure if you've seen my comments about the other one...but people are starting to speculate that one may not happen. really depends how far they take a particular storyline. I gotta get into spoiler stuff:

**********************VAGUE BOOK SPOILERS***************************************************

Lena Heady (Cersei) apparently took an instagram photo of a bunch of stones in the shape of a heart a few weeks ago. Most are taking that as confirmation of what we're hoping! (I googled it...and she certainly did lol)

But yeah...not so sure about CH...He would've had to have been introduced by this point I would think. But who knows where they're going to go with Bran's story now that they're almost out of book real-estate? lol

Anonymous said...

That was me on Alex.

**************book stuff*((**************************

I'm still hoping that some of the 3rd book stuff will rollover and so we'll get CH among some more battle stuff. Without CH, it makes your desires for the Starks just that much less of a possibility on the TV front, at least for all of them.

I love it, stones in the shape of a heart--lol.

I was shocked we didn't see Stannis last ep. But, after thinking about it, I understand more of what they're doing--maybe?

Yea, most of my issues with the book Jon are surrounding what he does re going back to Winterfell. But, he has always been a bit rash.

Do you think this actor is too small and too much of a pretty boy to represent Jon?? I mean whenever he gets into a sword fight with someone, he's always having to look up a lot--it makes the sword fights kind of comical even against normal sized people--lol. I think Ygritte was his same height--lol. He has a beard, but it's just so easy to see that he's not really that much of a fighter/leader. I think of book Jon as having more real personal magnetism? To me, he's the least well cast of the major characters? I had some of the same problems with the guy playing Rob Stark. Ned was so big and those two are below normal heights--neither look like a son to Ned.


Mike V. said...

***********BOOK STUFF**************************

Yeah, it's funny how I am clearer on what happened 3 books ago than I am with ADWD plots. I have to brush up on the Jon Snow arc....Didn't they pretend to kill Mance by setting him on fire but it was really Tormund?? And then, he beheads Alliser or Janos for not obeying orders or something. And creates a lot of enemies. But his decision to let the wildlings in...I think was a good one...because they were manning all the castles on the wall at that point.

The Winterfell stuff....riiiiight...he sends them to rescue who he thinks is ARYA but it isn't, right? It's Jeyne Pool. (which will make no sense since she hasn't been in the TV show)

I dunno...I guess I always pictured this actor playing Jon in the books because I was in the middle of reading book 1 when season 1 started. lol He works for me. Sure, his acting is a little rough around the edges, but I've never really noticed the height thing. He may not be cast well...but they also have always focused more on the southern plots and they cast EXTREMELY well down there. The whole Lannister family is awesome...and all of the surrounding players are awesome. They're a little top heavy down there. lol So maybe it makes it seem unbalanced when you go north. Though, I think the actor playing Sam is nailing the part.

Robb Stark was 15 in the books, so his height/stature never bothered me. The starks are all KIDS in the books...even Jon Snow. So, their size really doesn't bother me.

mj said...

Yup - think we ard caught up on the semantics of heroism . Yes Sam has grown up some

Mike - lol on giving Richard a weeks notice on the director.

Anonymous said...

*******************book stuff*******************

That's right, they're kids, the Starks, but they're also adults on TV, so that age thing vs height thing seems to not really apply for the TV show. Anyway, you're right about up North vs South. Although Giantsbane, Mance, Quaren Halfhand, Ygritte, Aemon and several others are cast well to me. Agree on Sam.

I recall that the Winterfell stuff was the straw that broke the camels back so to speak with the nights watch crew for Jon. I also think that was a bad decision given his oath. The other stuff is just bad decisions, the Winterfell stuff is breaking his oath. Something Ned killed someone for doing. So, that really did it as far as the book character for me too. The actor just made it easier not to like Jon Snow. Because of this and a few other things, I think of the Dany, Tyrion, Jon characters--Jon's would be the most likely to be killed off. Although we have his parentage pulling for going all the way--lol. I think Jeyne was in season 1?

I believe several know that Mance is alive? The Wildling thing manning issue to me is not a bad call.


Mike V. said...

******************book stuff**********************

Well they were aged SLIGHTLY in the show. I think Robb and Jon are probably still supposed to be relatively young. Maybe late teens/early 20s. I mean, they're talking about how inexperienced they are in the sack throughout the TV show! lol I think part of the problem is they spent 2 seasons filming in Iceland and it was probably really tough to act in those temperatures....I thought Kit Harrington's (Jon) acting improved drastically this season when he was back in Belfast (i think) filming.

Yeah the Winterfell thing was pretty rough...though yeah I agree...I think his character is still important to the series. And if these prophecies ever come true..he certainly fits the bill for one of them.

Hmm...Jeyne in season 1? Maybe she was in the pilot episode, but I don't recall it and I've watched it several times. Even if she was there and they were bringing her back, they could easily recast her...similar to Beric Dondarrion, The Mountain, etc... Of course, they have had this one girl that Ramsay has been intimate with this season (and she was also one of the girls who seduced Theon during his torture)...they may try to pass her off as Arya if they decide to do that plot. They may write it out all together. But there has to be some reason Stannis is going to march on Winterfell.

Yeah...i don't really remember the details of the Mance thing...I'm seriously going to read a synopsis of ADWD right now. It's driving me crazy. lol

Anonymous said...

******************book stuff*************************

Here's a link to Jeyne from S1

LOL, they were aged from say 15 to 20 which is a full grown age so should be height of adult.

With the stuff like the Walker King and the dark lord, it's hard to believe they wouldn't have CH, he might even be an interest highlight ,lol. Books 4 and 5 aren't as exciting as 3 and so it could help. Of course heart shaped stones is pretty good too--lol.


Mike V. said...

*******book stuff********

Thanks for the link Richard! Interesting that she was there. Though I read on and apparently she was an uncredited extra. So either she'd be recast or they'll use someone else that's already in the cast. My bet would be on the girl Ramsay has been shacking up with. Lol of course there's a chance they may not have that plot at all.

But if they want to show Jon making that tough decision they'll need something equally compelling. I brushed up on AFFC and ADWD synopsis so I'm all refreshed on my intel. Several details I forgot. I even forgot Sansa wasn't in ADWD. Grrm had to cut chapters for Sam, arianne and her among others that are being saved now for winds of winter.

I'm guessing if they don't go into battles next season then the episode 9 big event would have to be the dragon attack or what happens to Jon at castle black. Or both!

But I certainly think they can fit both books into 1 season. We'll see.

Anonymous said...

******************book stuff*********************

Yea, they can do those two books in one season.

I'm thinking they'll still have some book 3 stuff left over and as they pulled from book 6 for this season, they will do so for next season. They will want Sansa involved more than just 1 out of 2 books--lol.

I think the Winterfell issues for Jon are absolutely key to defining whom he is as a character--he broke his oath for a family of whom he is only a bastard. Because of the various characters this involves beyond Jon, I would think it crazy for them not to have it. Plus it could provide a good battle--lol.

Given that there is no real huge battle to suck up money next season and we had almost no dragon action this year, I expect next year to have some serious dragon action, plus they will have had a season to grow.

I am going to be interested to see how much LS has next season. I mean in the books as far as the overall story I don't think she was that much of a deal? Certainly for Brienne, Pod and Jaime--but not a strategic player.

It is kind of weird to see her in 24.


Mike V. said...

***********BOOK STUFF********************

I think the only thing left over from book 3 might be electing Jon to Lord Commander. I'm fairly certain S will show up next week on the show. They've been setting it up all season.

Yeah...I'm sure we'll be seeing some extra Sansa stuff than is in the books...but there is plenty of her in book 4...which runs parallel for more than half of book 5.

Oh yeah...they're certainly going to do the Winterfell stuff with Jon and Stannis and Ramsay (they're already setting it up with Ramsay bringing Reek to Winterfell)'s a question of what the details that will lead to that will be. If they're going to cut something it might be Jeyne Poole as Arya. They could have someone else stand in as Arya...or cut the Arya part out all together. But considering Jon has a soft spot for family...yeah I don't think they'll entirely cut it out. (as you said) But as for the BATTLE at WINTERFELL.....they may hold off on that until Season 6. Not sure if you read the Neil Marshall interview, but he said he wasn't asked to direct any big battles next year but he's hoping they call him for the next big battle. lol I see now that you know there are no big battles.

Agreed on the dragons...i'm pretty sure the Dragon setting fire to 200 Meereen peeps could be the climax of season 5. Though...the dragons were mostly out of sight even in book 5...(ironically called A Dance with Dragons lol)....but we knew they were getting tempermental especially drogon. Drogon escaped and grew even bigger than his brothers (sisters?)....because they were still trapped in cages below.

LS - yeah I have no idea how much there will be. She could be just a recurring character more than a series regular. I also wonder exactly what we'll see on Sunday. Will it be the hanging of a Frey...or will they go right to the Brienne plot? Many think it'll jump right to the Brienne story. Like maybe Brienne and Pod will run into her. This is why I thought we might get LS last was closer to the Frey /Red Wedding stuff to make a little more sense. I dunno....I just think we'll get a minute or 2 as the final clip...maybe the leader will be shrouded until the end and the final shot is a close-up of LS....roll credits...people go bonkers.

Of course, if that's how it goes down, then the penultimate scene HAS to be T vs. T&S

Anonymous said...

************book stuff*********************

SEriously, it could be more impact for the T vs T&S stuff. Especially given T's status and his involvement next year.

I could also see your LS big shock appearance, then roll credits, but I could also see the T Vs T&S stuff ending it.

I dunno and can't trust Alex to do the right thing--lol.


Mike V. said...

*************BOOK STUFF**************'s going to be one of those. I don't see it being something else. I just think a 1-2 punch of T/T&S then LS is just a jaw dropper then brain explosion and people just stop and say "OMG BEST SHOW EVER!!!!!" LOL

And that isn't an Alex call I don't think. Surely Benioff and Weiss wrote this episode and that's the order they wrote it. And I'm sure they collaborate with the director to make the right call there!

Plus...Benioff and Weiss are touting this as the best finale ever. I don't see how it can't's the best material they'll ever have! lol (that we know of)

So people will argue that ever season has ended with some theme of Ice or Fire. Season 1, Dragons. Season 2, White Walkers. Season 3, MHYSA (Dany Mother of Dragons) people would argue that Children of Forest might be the end.

I think when the material is as strong as what they have in this final episode, you gotta go with shock value cliffhanger for the end.

But...if they end with LS...then it's MAGIC related. And kind of ICE related since it's Northern themed. lol

Anonymous said...

****************book stuff********************

I like most of this EW book/TV review. I'm glad I'm not alone in my total surprise as to how the ep ended. And I totally agree on their take on Mance. I'm not sure about their trying to figure out why JOn is not a compelling character to watch. But at least others see some problems there. I think it's the actor more than the character as far as owning a scene.


Mike V. said...

****book stuff****

Ahh forgot to share that article. My comments are probably in there somewhere. Lol I'm not sure why you thought you were the only one surprised about where it ended. Even I was surprised and mentioned it here! I think all book fans were a little shocked. Lol

I'm sure I have more to add but on my phone right now. I'll write more later.

Anonymous said...

Yea, you shared and agreed with shock. I guess I'm thinking of the non book readers


Mike V. said...

Non book readers have no idea what's coming though so they would have no reason to be shocked at how it ended. lol


**********BOOK STUFF*********************

I guess if you think about it...if they ended it with S storming the wildlings with his army, it would've seemed a lot like T doing the same thing at the end of Blackwater. or even Gandalf coming to save the day at Helm's Deep......Maybe they were trying to differentiate the battles a bit by breaking it up.

As for Kit Harrington vs. the material on the TV show....I dunno. I think it might be a combination of both. The north stuff definitely hasn't been as compelling on the screen as the dynamics down south...but that's because more focus has been on the dynamics down south. Even the Dany story is on the outside looking in. They have approached both Ice and Fire stories as the slow burn of the show which can also be a detriment because then the stakes aren't as exciting as elsewhere.

I dunno...just me spitballing. lol Those storylines definitely have me interested when reading the books and I enjoy the time in the TV show but I can understand why the TV audience wouldn't be as interested.

Anonymous said...

****************************book stuff****************************

Yea, what's wrong with ending with a storm by Stannis and then some clean up ep 10? That's why I wonder if the clean up/after effects may be next season. Maybe even the storm by Stannis. As it is right now Jon's going after Mance and so that storyline will eat some time by itself without Stannis getting involved--lol.

I totally agree on a detrimental effect of not generating some passion for the ice and fire. It's always been a back burner and complex thing leaving the average viewer in the dust.

You mentioned there wasn't much dragon stuff in ADWD. But, I went back and checked, there's actually several events, maybe not a lot of pages, but several key events. The key one of course involving Dany's departure and the big questions on her ability to rule.


Mike V. said...

****book stuff *****

Well I mentioned one very key dragon moment in ADWD but I was referring to fan outcry that it was the title of the book and then the dragons were out of the picture for most of the book. But yes they were still very involved. Lol

I think Stannis will show up at the wall this season. They have to complete that story arc for Stannis this year. But I think they'll wait to make john lord commander next season. That would just be too much to cover I think. We'll see! You could be right though.

Anonymous said...

**************book stuff(((((((((((((((((*************

Yea, that's the point, there's too much to cover in one ep. What they do or do not cover about the battle, I'm not sure. In some ways, the battle isn't following the book, so no way to know for sure? Actually makes it kind of fun. I think you're right, Jon won't become Lord Commander until next season.


Anonymous said...

You know how I feel about Alex and with him doing ep 10 I'm not that sure how it'll come off.

Interesting though that ep9 was criticized so much. Obviously not as much criticism as the rape scene Alex did. But, while I thought it lacked a few key things with Jon for example (like great leadership by him), I didn't think it was bad.

But, as you've said they have so much good stuff to work with, it'd be hard to mess it up.

Ep 10 had better blow away the fans, even the book fans.

BTW, Just thought of this question to help explain my position on Kitt--Would you say Kitt or Peter is a more compelling actor to watch? That's kind of an example of my point on Kitt. Ciarian is more compelling, even the guy playing Giantsbane. And Thorne's actor brings some great stuff.


Anonymous said...

GoT surpasses Sopranos for HBO. Latest on GRRM likes/dislikes, etc.

13 eps would be nice--lol. So, from say $65M to say $85M budget. Seriously, only $20M keeping them from doing the eps GRRM wants.


Mike V. said...

Yikes lots to respond to. I'll do non-book stuff first.

I really think you gotta let the Alex thing go. He did one bad scene and now you question him forever??? Sure, we all miss Alan Taylor who was their go to director but he got his big movie break with Thor 2. But, Alex seems to be their go to guy now. Of course they also have Breaking Bad's Michelle McLaren who's pretty great too. I think this finale will be awesome. Try not to think of who is directing! lol

You bring up good points with Acting. But I never even considered Kit Harrington being in the same realm as Peter Dinklage. That man is AWESOME on this show. But, it's not like Mark Hamill was God's gift to acting in Star Wars. Sure, he's an awesome Joker voice in animated batman shows....but he was a whiny kid wanting to play with his friends in Star Wars. But, he was the central hero of the show. Jon Snow is on a Luke Skywalker like journey, which is why I made the comparison. It's not exactly the same I guess my point is...sure there are better actors around Kit...but he doesn't bother me. I'd rather have him in this show than the guy who played Walt in LOST! LOL THAT was bad acting.

But yeah..I thought ep 9 was good too. I would've liked more leadership from Snow too. But that's not Kit's fault. That's the script/direction.

I knew about GoT surpassing Sopranos...I think that news hit EW last week. And of course we knew GRRM wants more episodes of GoT. Okay, say they get more budget and more episodes per season...that's fine. But, it actually may make your gripe about time between seasons worse. At least for the time between this season and the next (which they're already working on I believe). Making Game of Thrones is a year long process....I know an episode of LOST took 5 weeks to produce. That was all done in Hawaii. This show is in multiple countries with multiple crews filming some pretty crazy stuff on a TV schedule. If you had 3 episodes to that list...say it takes 5 weeks (it's probably more)...that's 15 more weeks of production you're adding to the show. I'm guessing the release date of the next season would get pushed out past April. Sure, they could still be filming stuff when the season starts....but that's not really how filming for this show works. They could be filming stuff for episode 9 before they film something for episode 2. It's all about utilizing the locations they're at and the cast members they have for a specific amount of time. I think Pedro was talking about how the first scene he filmed was the one where he said he'd be Tyrion's champion. That was way into the season. Food for thought.
I'll read your link though!

***** BOOK STUFF******************

No way to know for sure...right. But we already know Stannis pledged to help from the end of last season...and he went to Braavos for money. We also know Mellisandre and Shireen and mom were planning for a journey. All of the pieces are in place for them to show up next week at the wall. It might not go down the same way, but I think it'll be pretty similar.

Mike V. said...

Read the article...most of that I think I've read from GRRM in other interviews. It was cool to hear about the cut scene. Though, if you want that scene in, you need many scenes to surround it. And eventually HBO is just going to say "well then we need more scenes of boobies!!!" So then you get a few more book scenes that add to the character stories, and then lots more boobies. But, are there enough BIG MOMENT events to make 13 of them??? Well maybe this season could have stretched a few out. could argue that it pays dividends to have them closer than sparsed out over 13.

I have no doubt this team could put 13 fantastic episodes of Game of Thrones out and I certainly wouldn't complain if that ever came to fruition. But, as I said, I would expect delays (which might be good to help Martin finish his books...might be an secondary reason why he's asking for it LOL).

The bad thing is...these upcoming books are probably not the ones you really want to extend!! LOL

Anonymous said...

I'm having too much fun with Alex though--LOL.

We'll have to disagree on Kitt vs writing on leadership. Some actors can take cruddy writing and make an awesome scene with passion for example. He just doesn't have any--lol.

The reason I keep pounding on Kitt is that he's so important to an big ice part of the story.

Good point on books 4 and 5 maybe not being best to extend?


Mike V. said...

More for TV watchers than Book Readers....James has to ask these questions, but he probably knows the answers to most of them. lol

Fine!! (on Alex lol)

On Kitt - I'm not disagreeing with you. His acting leaves much to be desired. I'm just saying, it doesn't bother me as much as it bothers others. Would it be better if there was a stronger actor there? SURE!! But, he does have nice hair!! (everyone seems to agree on that lol) I know why you keep bringing it up and I get the gripe. Many people have it. We'll just have to see if he can live up to the material coming his way. I still argue that there was no big LEADERSHIP SPEECH in the script for him to deliver in that episode like there was for Alliser. Maybe they were writing for the actors they have or maybe they just didn't give Jon the moment he needs. He certainly did take control of matters and led by example when he got into the hand to hand combat. Someone pointed out on a podcast, everyone that took control of the Wall was told "You have the wall" but when it was Jon's turn, no one told him!! lol That was a big moment and it was kinda underplayed.

I guess if they're putting it ALL into next season then maybe 13 episodes would work well. But, I think we wouldn't miss much if they put it all into 10. lol

Anonymous said...

Interesting on his choices for the 5. Particularly the last about Bran. I wonder if he has some inside info,hmmm?

I would have had a few different questions. Such as, will the 100 to 1 odds win at the wall. Or will reality to thrown into the wind? Of course there's a very obvious question which TV watchers should be asking about a certain SB


Mike V. said...

Should be but out of site out of mind as intended! Lol

Mike V. said...

Hinting spoilers for tonight. But Richard it confirms what we were debating. Lol