Ink to Film Podcast: Ep81- A Game of Thrones, Chapters 47–72, Game of Thrones, Episodes 7–10
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This episode aired on March 14 2019 and was made possible by our generous patrons.
James: Welcome to the Ink to Film podcast, where we read the book…
Luke: …and then see the movie.
James: I’m James.
Luke: And I’m Luke.
James: And this week, we discuss the end of the first novel, and the first season of the TV season Game of Thrones. <music plays>
Luke: All right, this is the end of our month of Game of Thrones…our month of thrones, if you will. This is our fourth episode. We’ve been doing it in kind of a weird way, at least unusual for us. And bouncing back and forth between book and film…book and TV series, I should say, and then covering some of the similar ground in the episodes as we go. What have you thought of the way we’ve been doing this, James? How is it striking you?
James: Well, first off, it’s weird that we’re ending our coverage when I feel like this has been the appetizer, and it’s ramping up for me because I’m getting so Game of Thrones ready for the end of the show.
James: I’ve liked how we covered it, though. Having them both at the exact same time, like having the events of the book at the exact same time as the events of the show is something I’ve never done before. I’ve never been currently reading the book and stop and then watch a couple episodes. I think it’s a new experience, which is tough to do for this material, because we’ve both been through it so many times.
James: And I actually, this week…my instinct was to start reading and then go watch the show, but then I started the reading, and then I was like, you know I’m going to watch the show.
James: So I watched basically all of the show and then went back to finish up my reading.
Luke: Nice, so that might have…I’d be interested to know how that may have changed your perspective on some things. But before we really get into it, we wanted to announce that our next project is going to be Pet Sematary by Stephen King. Favorite of the podcast. We’ve covered both It now, and The Shining. And we’re going to be getting back into It again when It, Part 2 comes out later this year. So we got lots of King ahead of us, which I’m sure we’ll continue on since there’s like a renaissance of his movies right now being made. Early returns right now are that this is like a great adaptation, and I’ve never read it before, and I don’t really remember the movie that well, so I’m really excited to cover it because I feel like I’m coming into it really fresh, and I’m glad that the early returns on this movie look like it’s going to be really good. So, I’m excited for it, and I hope you guys will all join us for that.
James: Yeah, I can’t wait. It’s one that we’ve had on the books for a long time, so to see it finally coming out, and to see that everybody’s excited for it, like we are, it’s going to be a good time. And it’s been a little while since we’ve seen something that was currently in theaters.
Luke: Yeah, that will be cool to do that. But, let’s get into Game of Thrones, man. So, I am so excited because this is like…we talked about in the first episode here, this is one of my favorite series of all time. Very important to me. And, you know, I was getting a little bit nostalgic and…I don’t know what the word is, but thinking about how this might be the final Game of Thrones episode we make. Because there’s no telling if we’re going to come back to do Season 2. I mean, we might, if it’s very popular, but right now that’s not like a concrete plan. So, this might be the end of our Game of Thrones coverage.
James: Because of how much I love the series, I feel like we…it would be a disservice for us not to go back. But, yeah, it’s a huge undertaking, so if it’s like…again, it’s going to take a month for us to cover another season…
James: Another season of the show and one of the books.
James: So, yeah. I hope that it’s not the last time we’re in Westeros on the podcast, but that’s definitely a bittersweet…
James: Bittersweet idea there.
Luke: Well, just to help it go down, I brought something along here. I don’t know if you can see it in the camera.
James: I can tell that it’s a Game of Thrones beer, right?
Luke: It is an Ommegang Game of Thrones: Three-Eyed Raven Dark Saison ale. So, I bought this when I first moved to Oregon, I think shortly thereafter. So, it’s been like in a number of fridges, moving around for years. For a while, I forgot about it, and that was why I didn’t drink it, and then it became a thing where it was like I’d had it so long, I was like, “I can’t just drink it for anything now. It has to be for something. I figured this was the perfect time, right? Like, we’re winding up our coverage here, so I’m going to open it and see if you guys can hear it. It’s one of those that has a cork in it. <popping sound>
James: For the listener, the bottle exploded, and there was beer everywhere. <laughing>
Luke: Uh, I don’t know if that’s a good sign or a bad sign, but here’s uh…On the bottle it says, “From the darkness, I watch you, all of you. All of your lives with a thousand eyes, and one. Abiding in the shadows of this dark saison lie beguiling and entrancing aromas and flavors. Girded by crisp, lasting herbal hop notes and a yeasty, spicy finish. I would totally share this with you. I wish I could pour you a glass, man, but you’re all the way in Florida, so I can’t. <laughing>
James: Put it in the mail.
Luke: It’s only one o’clock here, but whatever. Cheers.
James: Cheers. I remember when they first started doing those beers. I was so excited, and I went and got the Fire and Blood one that has like a…it has, like, peppers in it. Like chili peppers or something…brewed with chili peppers.
Luke: Ooh, that’s really interesting. Well, anyway, that’s enough, you know, shittin’ around here. <laughing> Shittin’ around. I don’t know what that means. But yeah, we should probably get into it, man. We’re going to go episode-by-episode I think, again, and do a little description of it, a little short summary, and then kind of react to everything that happened and talk about some comparisons to the book.
James: Cool. I’ll start us off. The first episode in this last bit is Episode 7: “You Win or You Die.” In King’s Landing, Ned tells Cersei he knows all of her children are Jaime’s. We soon learn that Robert has been critically wounded by a boar while hunting. A dying Robert names Ned as the Protector of the Realm to rule until Joffrey reaches the legal age. Ned sends a message to Stannis, Robert’s brother, intending to enthrone him since Robert has no legal heir. Ned tells Littlefinger about his plan and asks him to gain the loyalty of the City Watch, the only force capable of overpowering Lannister forces loyal to Cersei. After Robert’s death, Ned, Littlefinger and the City Watch confront Cersei and Joffrey in the throne room, where Littlefinger and the City Watch betray Ned and attack his men. At the wall, Ned’s younger brother, Benjen, goes missing during a mission to the North. Jon Snow and Samwell Tarly are picked as stewards, with Jon assigned to Lord Commander Mormont. The stewards swear their loyalties to the Night’s Watch. In Essos, Robert’s assassin is captured before he can poison Daenerys. Drogo vows to conquer the Seven Kingdoms and give that realm to his son. He starts marching towards Westeros.
Luke: These last few episodes, there’s like so many iconic, just awesome scenes in it. And this is just getting me excited for what’s to come, but there’s some really, really stand-out things here. I think Momoa performing, uh, the…it’s basically right out of the book. His speech. But in the book, he’s just saying it to Dany, I believe. And here he’s saying it to everybody, and he’s just like really intense, and man is that a cool scene. He throws the torch into the fire. He kills it here, and it also just underlines how good Martin is at writing epic-sounding lines. Because it sounds so fucking good, and it sounds so cool. And it’s also scary, because of just, like…just, like, how intense he is. I don’t know. It’s a great scene…to just hit on one random one out of the blue, but yeah, that one really stood out to me.
James: I had in my notes that I don’t think anybody could have played Drogo like Jason Momoa. He is absolutely so intense. We can really feel he bought into that character and made it his own in a way. Say what you will about DC stuff and the Aquaman film that came out, which actually I still haven’t seen.
Luke: I’m surprised. You’re the comic book guy.
James: It’s one that I just missed in theaters, and I’ll be watching it very soon, I’m sure. But I like Momoa for the role. I just didn’t love him in Justice League, so…I hope that film’s a little better. But I think that he’s a force. He’s an actor who brings definitely a certain intensity and physicality to each role, and you can definitely see why he was cast as Drogo. Because he pulls it off 100%.
Luke: Yeah, and I think it did a lot for his career, too, because…Hollywood noticed how awesome he was in this role, I think. You know? And the fact that it was only a one-season thing. It kind of freed him up to, like, just springboard off of that success and go do other things. Which worked out for him well, I think. But, yeah, just in the story, it’s also interesting to me how Robert’s failed assassination attempt sort of, uh…it’s set up like it’s going to spur this…now, all of a sudden, he’s going to take his khalasar across the sea when he wasn’t going to before, and…it’s just so cleverly done because when you see this scene, you think you know how it’s going to play out. You’re like, “Oh, shit, they’ve really screwed it up now. They’ve kicked the hornet’s nest. Khal Drogo’s coming over. He’s going to fuck everybody up.” The confidence Martin had in his story to then kill off this character so quickly after this is wild to me. Like, that’s so crazy. You know? And it’s impressive.
James: Again, I’ve said this throughout our whole coverage, but just thinking of a version of this story where Drogo actually gets across with his khalasar is just a crazy thought. Just seeing the…I mean, we see Jorah go up against the Dothraki, but…
Luke: Well, we do eventually, because we see, you know, in the most recent season, we’re seeing that. We’re seeing…but it’s Dany at the head of it, not Drogo.
Luke: But, you know, she’s at the head of a bunch of Dothraki screamers in Season 7, there.
James: Yeah, she is, which is…that was an intense scene. That was crazy.
Luke: Yeah, it was cool, man. So, yeah, let’s bounce around to some other scenes that were in this episode. Fucking Littlefinger and his betrayals, and his…his manipulations, and then Janos Slynt, who is one of the, like, most despicable characters that doesn’t actually do a ton, he just like, I don’t know. I hate him.
James: Yeah, it’s like the other guy, uh, the one who kills Syrio and, like, eventually, we see how awful he is.
Luke: Oh, Meryn Trant.
James: Exactly, yeah.
James: He’s such a…he’s such a, like…he has such a little amount to do, but you hate him so much the entire time, and…
Luke: Yeah. Speaking of…speaking of that, do you buy into any of the Syrio Forel theories?
James: So, I did for a long time. Especially as the show, you know around Season 4–5, when we were getting some of the House of Black and White. I thought for sure Syrio may have…I was like, “He’s a faceless man. He’s got something…he’s still alive.” Can’t think of any other really theories other than the fact that he’s still alive right now.
Luke: Well, that he is Jaqen H’ghar is the theory. That he and Jaqen H’ghar are one and the same. I think is the main theory for him. Yeah, I think that’s something that could be true in the book. I don’t know that it will be. That, to me, feels kind of an out-there theory. But he does…what lends itself to this is we don’t see him die, and by like all rules of storytelling, if you don’t see someone die, they could still be alive.
James: Yeah, I listened this time very, very closely when Arya was running away, and it really sounds like someone was disarmed. Like, the sword noise that you hear sounds like somebody dropped their sword.
James: But I guess the flip-side to that is we see…
Luke: It could have been Meryn Trant. <laughing> But Meryn Trant is alive later, though. It gets quite telling.
James: Until we saw Meryn Trant, I assumed that Meryn Trant went down…
Luke: Yeah. And there’s no way Syrio is Meryn Trant or anything like that, because he’s doing too many, just like, terrible Meryn Trant things.
Luke: So, I don’t know. That is baffling. Like, how that could be. But…and I just think it’s one of those things where, like, it could be different in the books than in the show. I think in the show, they’re not going to go all the way back to Syrio Forel, Season 1, I don’t think at this point.
James: No, but that does bring up an interesting one that’s set up here at the end of this with Gendry and Arya and…do you think there’s anything to…I mean, Gendry clearly is the Baratheon bastard heir.
James: He’s like the first…he would be the first in line. But in Season 1, Robert talks to Ned about how he wants to join their houses. Do you think that Arya and Gendry are the way that the Baratheon/Stark houses come together. Are bound by blood, or…
Luke: Yeah, I mean…
James: They definitely set it up in Season 2 more than Season 1, but it’s like the very beginning of it is here in Season 1.
Luke: I personally don’t think it’s going to happen, but that’s just kind of like my own personal feelings. I really don’t know. Gendry is kind of a mysterious character. His story is pretty different in the book and in the show because, in the show, they also roll in a couple other character stories into his.
Luke: Yeah, it’s tough to say what…you know…that’s something I’ll definitely be on the lookout for in this final season. You know, what is the ultimate fate here? Because he’s this lowborn Baratheon who has the commoner’s…you know, commoner’s mindset, and the commoner is on his mind. So, people could argue that he would make a good king. Because he would actually care about people. Maybe.
James: Yeah, I don’t really see Arya’s story ultimately coming to her being with Gendry. It just doesn’t feel like something that she’d be interested in. At this point, she’s gone through some…I don’t know, it just doesn’t seem like something she’d go for at this point.
Luke: Yeah. I agree with that. But, yeah, we’re getting a little bit out of this episode here. So, Ned Stark, in the book, he basically has Littlefinger try and buy the Gold Cloaks. Like, he concedes to do this. But then, Littlefinger sides with the Lannisters, it seems like, and the Gold Cloaks are actually in Cersei’s favor, and it’s more than just being bought. It’s like Herron Hall and all this stuff to Janos Slynt.
James: Right, which in the show, I did want to say, was like a background conver….like, as Sansa is walking into the court, it’s something we hear in the background. So, that was like a cool, little background detail that they put in that was in the book.
Luke: Yeah, I agree. I think that was cool. And then, I guess what I’m trying to say is, where was the point at which he could have changed things? And, to me, it is his conversation with Renly.
James: My thing is, he also…we talked about it before, but he’s just so…he’s too brash, he’s too blatant about the way that he threatens Cersei. If he…
Luke: To a point. But then he doesn’t act when the moment comes. I honestly think that moment is when Renly comes to him. And he says, “We need to seize Joffrey and do it now before Cersei has time to make her plans.” And he’s so right.
James: Well, he’s correct in terms of winning the throne, but I do agree with Ned here, because it is literally, like…Robert’s not even dead, and you’re going to drag his son out and…at this point, he’s just an innocent kid. So, I understand why Ned would say, “No.” It’s like, if he had not had that conversation with Cersei, and they just did everything that they needed to…I guess the main thing was that Ned didn’t expect Robert to die so quickly. If he had died a day or two later, I think Ned’s plans would have been in place, to where he could have peacefully taken power. But Cersei…but because he died so quickly, Cersei and Joffrey were able to immediately be, like…you know what I mean? If Ned didn’t come into the throne room to find Joffrey there with the whole court assembled, I think things may have gone a little differently. Maybe if Ned had already had everybody on the side.
Luke: This was, I think, kind of a test from Renly. He wanted to see how committed Ned was to this. And was he willing to do what needed to be done. And Ned basically said, “No, I’m not.” So, Renly was like, “All right, I’m getting the fuck out of here.” And then he left.
James: And I think the other implication is…if…the implication would be if Ned said yes to Renly, then he is…like, he’s acknowledging Renly’s basically place on the throne, rather than Stannis, which Ned believed in.
Luke: Yeah, no, and I agree that is…that is definitely something that gets discussed, and I guess my thought is that can be figured out once you have control.
Luke: And Renly is rightly pointing out that they need to seize control now or they’re going to miss their window. And Ned basically says, “Yeah, I’m not going to sully Robert’s name by having this happen while he’s still alive.” And, like, all this stuff, and this…this…but to me, this is like…because before we were talking about murdering children. And like, Ned has a hard line, like, “I’m not going to murder a child.” And that’s why he tells Cersei about…he knows about Joffrey. Because he doesn’t want to murder Joffrey. Or he doesn’t want Robert to murder Joffrey. So, I can get on board with that. Because I understand that’s like a moral thing, and we were cheering him on for not wanting to murder Dany, so we gotta cheer him on there, too. But this, to me…he’s not saying, “Let’s murder Joffrey.” He’s just saying, “Let’s capture him.” And this is the kind of dirty stuff you have to do, I think, to succeed at the Game of Thrones.
James: Well, and then Cersei out-and-out says that. Like, Cersei says, you know, “In the Game of Thrones, you win or you die.”
Luke: “Or you die,” yeah. Which is what this episode is, right? So…<laughs> Yeah, anyway, I think that’s…because we were talking last episode about Ned possibly making the right decision but still it all ends up bad for him. That was one of the moments where, even if he didn’t…I guess, even if he didn’t say, like, “Okay, Renly, let’s team up and do this together,” that was still the right move regardless, and he could have done it with his own men, maybe. Right? If he needed to act then, in the heat…instead he waits, and plots too much, and relies on Littlefinger way too much.
James: Right. Well, that is the other thing that could be argued is that he was good. In his mind, like, Littlefinger was loyal enough to Catelyn to not betray him. And that was his biggest mistake, obviously.
Luke: Yeah. Trusting Littlefinger. Maybe he should have trusted Varys a little more and Littlefinger a lot less.
James: Yeah. I find it interesting that, in the book, Varys is kind of positioning himself as somebody who serves Littlefinger, whereas in the show, they’re kind of equals. They’re, like, matching each other.
James: Because, in the book, when Ned meets with Varys alone in the cells, he talks about how he’s just like Littlefinger, and basically, Varys is like, “No, I just tell him the things that he wants to know. I tell him what he needs to know, not everything, in order for him to think that I serve him,” kind of.
Luke: Hmm. Yeah, well, I think it’s because Varys doesn’t have a lot of power. He’s just The Spider. You know, he’s just the master whisperer or whatever. So, he has to sort of play into everybody else’s power, let everybody else think they have more power than him. And that includes Littlefinger in the show…or in the book, at least. Yeah, I agree in the show it seems a little bit more like they elevated Varys’ standing a little bit to be more equal with him.
James: I think that’s a huge detail that’s going to become important, because I think so much importance was put on the heir of the Baratheons that something has to come from it at some point. Or maybe it is that thing we’re supposed to be focusing on while he’s pulling other strings and, ultimately, once it gets down to the end, it’s not going to matter? But the fact that Ned changed it from Joffrey to “his rightful heir”…
James: …being the one who would take the throne, I think is an important move.
Luke: Yeah, and at the very least, this shows us that Ned isn’t as strict on his honor as he may like for everybody else to believe, right? Because in this moment, he has to essentially write down something that Robert didn’t say.
Luke: So, that goes against your personal honor, right? So…
James: Right, but I guess ultimately it doesn’t matter, because Cersei just rips that letter out.
Luke: Yeah, so it’s like, to me it’s sad because we’re seeing Ned compromise on his honor here a few times, but his downfall is that he doesn’t compromise enough.
James: Or early enough.
Luke: Or early enough. Yeah…he waits until it’s too late, yeah. Let’s get into the next episode, I think. So, Episode 8 is called “The Pointy End.” Oh, this is the one we talked about earlier. That Martin wrote an episode? And I saw that he wrote this one. Did you read anything about that or see anything about that?
James: He wrote an episode per season, I think through Season 3 or 4. And then kind of realized that it was taking time away from writing the actual novel. So, I think he stopped at some point.
Luke: Which we still don’t have, so…
James: But I do love the idea of him shaping an episode all himself, because that, like…especially…and it’s always an important one. The ones that he writes aren’t like some set-up. You know you’re getting the correct execution when George R. R. Martin is writing the screenplay for the episode.
Luke: Yeah. Okay, so let’s read the…I’ll read the description here for this one. Episode 8 was called “The Pointy End.” Arya manages to escape the Red Keep after her Braavosian sword master delays the guards sent to arrest her. Oh, so that happens in this episode. We thought maybe it happened in the last one. It’s set up in the last one, but it starts here. The start of this episode. But Sansa is captured. Robb hears the news and prepares the Northern armies to fight the Lannisters, leaving Bran behind to rule Winterfell. Lysa refuses to fight the Lannisters, and Catelyn leaves to join Robb’s camp. Tyrion and Bronn are surrounded by Shagga and his men. Tyrion convinces them to escort them to Tywin, who will pay them. They arrive at Tywin’s camp, where the They arrive at Tywin's camp, where the latter asks Shagga to help them in their confrontation with the Starks in exchange for even greater payment. Joffrey appoints Tywin as his Hand. Sansa begs Joffrey to show mercy upon Ned. Joffrey agrees if Ned publicly recognizes Joffrey's claim to the throne and admits to having committed treason. At the Wall, some bodies affected by the White Walkers are found. In Essos, Drogo's soldiers begin attacking nearby settlements, enslaving locals in order to sell them and gain the money to buy the ships necessary to cross the Narrow Sea. It’s interesting to me that he wrote this one, because this to me is also a lot of, like, stage setting for what’s to come. Like, the final act is being prepared for, but this isn’t actually all the big shit going down.
James: Yeah, if you were thinking he’d write the biggest episode, he would have written the next episode, Episode 9.
Luke: So, there is an amazing…just speaking of the Momoa stuff, the incredible Momoa fight happens here, where he kills one of his own blood riders, or whatever, and rips out his tongue and throws…or rips out his, like, yeah, I think it’s like his…
James: Through his throat.
Luke: It’s through his throat. Yeah. And he shows it to him as he dies. Like, it’s one of the most fucking badass, crazy scenes.
James: Have you seen…real quick, have you seen MacGruber?
James: The movie based on the SNL skit?
Luke: No, I haven’t. I’m aware of it, but I haven’t seen it.
James: Throughout the entire movie, he just throat-rips guys. So, he just goes up and, like, rips people’s throats out, and that’s like his go-to move. And, so it kind of made me think of that.
Luke: Oh, that’s funny. So, what I was going to say is there is, perhaps an apocryphal story, I don’t know. But I’ve always heard that Momoa himself approached Dan and David and said, you know, “This Khal Drogo guy, everybody talks about how much of a badass he is, but we don’t actually see him do anything badass. He needs to have a scene where he demonstrates how fierce of a warrior he is.” And they agreed and ended up writing this scene in specifically for him. Because this isn’t how it goes down in the book.
James: Yeah, he just gets the scratch in battle.
Luke: Yeah, he’s…it’s like off-page, he’s gotten wounded in battle. It’s a little bit more than a scratch. I think in the book he calls it a scratch, but it’s like his nipple is missing, and he has this big gash across his chest. In the show, it is a literal, like, scratch, where it’s almost like he didn’t need to get that seen to. In my opinion, because it was so minor.
James: And I think that Dany kind of makes some Ned mistakes here.
Luke: Well, she’s too trusting.
James: She’s too trusting.
Luke: And she’s naïve.
James: Yeah. And ultimately, you could say Drogo would still be alive if not for Dany.
Luke: Yeah. It’s interesting because I don’t think we ever get it 100% confirmed that Myra…what’s her last name? Myra Mazdoul?
James: Maz something, yeah. I’m not sure of the last name.
Luke: I think it’s Mazdoul. [Ed. note: Mirri Maz Duur} We don’t get her confirming that she poisoned Drogo, right?
James: In the book or the show? Because I feel like the show is pretty latent…because she says, like, “I did this because he burned my…he went through and burned my temple and raped my…I was raped a bunch of times beforehand, and…”
Luke: Yeah, but it’s more just like…Dany is asking like, “I bought his life. What is this life? You didn’t tell me that this is what it was going to be like.” Then she answers by saying that. Like, the ritual she did to bring him back to this point. But I’m talking specifically about the reason his wound festers and he’s laid low. I always assumed it’s because she was poisoning him or, like, putting something in the wound care that makes it actually, you know, like, rot. And I think that is what happens. You know what I mean? I think we can read between the lines, but I just don’t know that there actually is any confirmation of that 100% given by the character.
James: Yeah, I don’t think that anybody verbatim says that’s how it goes down, but the Dothraki are very specific about how they don’t trust her, she’s a witch. And she clearly, by the end, had ulterior motives, so it makes me think we’re definitely supposed to think she was poisoning him.
Luke: Yeah. Anyway, I just thought it was interesting that it wasn’t actually specifically said, because I had always just assumed that’s what happened. I think it’s a safe assumption, though. So, yeah, back at Winterfell. Rob deciding to call the banners. I thought it was a pretty epic moment, and I like the way they did it. It was Maester Luwin kind of says, like, “All of them?” And he’s like, “Yes, all of the banners.”
James: I love that guy.
Luke: And then he looks kind of proud. He has this certain gleam in his eye. I don’t know. I thought it was cool.
James: Yeah. Knowing all of the stuff that we know now, you can see through one season of Game of Thrones or through the first book, you can see that George R. R. Martin is doing something different than normal fantasy, but where you think it’s going to continue down the path of another normal fantasy novel…like, this hero dies so his son is going to rise to take on the people who killed him…that was the moment…I think it wasn’t until Robb goes down that I realize that, “Oh, both…” In reaction to Ned dying, Robb becomes the King of the North, and he goes south, and he’s killing everybody, and everything’s perfect. Until he also makes a questionable move and ultimately goes down, too. And that’s the moment where it’s like, “Holy shit.” That’s why people say, like, “We love a character, they’re dead.” It’s because the people you’re pulling for—the Starks—are multiple times just completely screwed over.
Luke: That leads me to an observation I had that I was going to save for a little bit until we get into these next episodes, but I think it’s a good time to talk about it now. We see the fall of several major warrior leaders in Game of Thrones—basically all of them—here. So, Ned Stark, several times over, says that he’s a soldier, he knows how to fight, and all that stuff—kill his enemies. We see him lose to Cersei, essentially. We see Robert lose to Cersei. He is another soldier who is notoriously bad at ruling, even though he was very good at conquering. We see Khal Drogo, who is this warrior leader, head of his khalisar. We see him fall to a poisoner. So…and that’s just the beginning. Like you said. That continues on.
James: Well, I would also say other major soldiers who are basically defeated are Barristan Selmy is disgraced and leaves. And Jaime Lannister, the greatest swordsman, goes down. Robb is able to capture him. It seems like they take everyone out of the equation that you could have seen them succeeding purely on might or military strategy, and it turns into almost, like, these lower characters who aren’t maybe as physically able but have the mental capacity to challenge everyone.
James: They are kind of the main focus from here.
Luke: Well, yeah, and if you track that throughout, you know, obviously we’re in full spoilers for everything here…but later seasons you got Robb going down at the Red Wedding. You get…
James: Ultimately, Jon goes down.
Luke: You get the Old Bear. The Old Bear goes down, who is leading the Night’s Watch. Yeah, Jon even goes down to an extent. He just comes back.
Luke: The one that I see that hasn’t fallen yet, not truly, although she has her ups and downs, is Dany. But that makes me wonder what’s going to happen in this final season with her, because she is the exact blueprint of a conquering hero who is great at conquering but isn’t necessarily very good at ruling. Because we saw her struggling to rule in Essos. And, so I wonder how she’s going to do now that she’s in Westeros and is in position to maybe seize the throne. If that is the endgame, I don’t know how I feel about a final endgame where Dany sits the throne, because I don’t know how good of a ruler she would really be.
James: To me, it doesn’t seem very George R. R. Martin. She succeeded far too easily all the way through the show. She’s had hardships, but not nearly as many as other people.
Luke: Well, I guess that’s debatable. She’s had a lot of hardships, for sure. But she is definitely the mold of Robert himself, right? She’s the conqueror. And she’s coming to Westeros with, like, you know, what is it? 400,000? No, was it 40,000? I don’t know. A huge number of Dothraki, who are going to be, you know, raiding the countryside, burning everything. Sure, she’s going to rein them in some, but ultimately that’s what they are. Now they’re in Westeros, they’re not going to leave. And what happens after the war is over? Do they just become farmers? Like, what are they going to do? I don’t know, it seems to me that she’s all about getting the throne, but I don’t know that she really wants to rule. It’s more that she thinks it’s hers by right. And that makes me a little bit uncomfortable, because that’s very, like, you know. But you maybe hope that Jon can help her in that regard, but…I don’t know. I think that…what I’m trying to say is that I feel like the show has been trying to tell us that these kind of people don’t make good rulers. So, I don’t know if she’s going to be different in that, if it comes down to her at the end. I don’t know, maybe…who knows? There’s another podcast I listen to called Bald Move, which they’re a great podcast. Check them out. They have a whole series of Game of Thrones episodes. Many episodes. But one of the things that, I think it’s A_Ron on there, always talks about, like, “What is Martin playing at?” And I think that’s a great question. Like, what…all of this has been leading to something we’re going to get in the final season. And it’s going to be: what does the government look like at the end of Game of Thrones? And you could argue that’s what he’s been building up to all along. Are they going to dissolve the monarch in favor of a republic or something? Like, with a constitution and a democracy? Or is it like just another conqueror sitting the throne? And, who knows?
James: Or they just get set back so far there are so few people left after the war or something, maybe it’s set back so far that it’s almost like early days of Westeros when there are just like the people in the north and some people here and there, but not a lot of people to…like maybe like the Seven Kingdoms are separated by their own rulers or something like that again.
Luke: Yeah, the Seven Kingdoms separated. I can see that, too. I don’t know how satisfying that is, but yeah. I’m just going to be very fascinated to see where that goes. We’re taking up a lot of time talking about it, so let’s move on. So, we get the scene where Tywin is cutting up the stag that we mentioned last episode, and his introduction, and Charles Dance is just amazing as Tywin Lannister. He’s so imposing, and one of the things my wife looked up while we were watching it, because we started talking about it, that is a real stag that he is really carving up there. It is not, like, a fake prop.
James: I have this little trivia fact to tell you about. He learned…the day before, he learned how to do that.
James: They had like a master carver come in and show him how to cut up a deer, and he did it while he was delivering his lines and everything for the actual scene the next day.
Luke: That’s so wild.
James: I would say, especially early on, other than Sean Bean, he would be, in my opinion, turning in the greatest performance. He is absolutely so imposing.
Luke: I wonder if they got into any trouble for that. Because, it’s like you could argue that an animal was harmed in the making of it. Now, that animal was probably…you know what I mean, it was probably venison they were going to sell at a market or something, but…yeah, I don’t know. I wonder if they got in any trouble for that with PETA or somebody like that.
James: Yeah, I’m not sure. I feel like it’s one of those things where they’re not going to go kill it specifically for the use of the show, so it could be…it wasn’t necessarily harmed for the making of it.
James: But I’m not sure. Maybe. I’m sure PETA probably wasn’t happy about it, but PETA usually isn’t happy about seeing animals harmed.
Luke: Well, that’s true.
James: So, I think the last thing I wanted to talk about was just the fact that Arya finally used Needle to actually straight-up murder a kid. I mean, the kid was coming after her. Didn’t expect her to necessarily murder the kid for it, but she’s starting to…you can kind of see where…she’s like this feral…she’s on her own, she’s surviving on her own at this point. She’s kind of escaped the watchful eye of everybody in the King’s Guard and everything like that, so she’s surviving on her own at this point. And, yeah…you can see that she’s kind of having to fend for herself, and sticking someone with the pointy end this early on.
Luke: Yeah, man, and it’s dark. This is the beginning of many dark turns she’s going to take that lead her to being, you know, a faceless assassin by Season 7. But it’s…it is a big moment, right? This is her first kill, and it is this boy. I’m trying to remember the differences between book and show here. I felt like in the show they maybe made it seem less important…or not less important. Less, um, less of a moment where Arya didn’t have any other choice. Whereas in the book, it felt like she had to do it more. Does that make sense?
James: I agree with that.
Luke: It felt to me, in the show, that she could have just run away or something, but in the book it was like, he had her, he was going to turn her over to the queen, she had no real choice. I guess she could have just like wounded them or something, but it almost felt, like, accidental, too. Like she didn’t realize it was going to kill him. Although she stabbed him all the way through, and the point came out the back of him, so… It was pretty brutal in the book, too. I don’t know. Yeah, it’s an important scene. Just to bounce back to that Tywin scene, though for a minute, actually. I love to see Tywin and Jaime here, because I feel like we’ve always seen that relationship through Tyrion’s eyes. And how Jaime is kind of the favorite son, and Tyrion’s this kind of hated runt of the family. Yet, I like to see the weight of the expectations and sort of disappointment Tywin has in Jaime, even here, because of him joining the King’s Guard and all that. It just, yeah…it’s a fascinating relationship all around in the Lannister family, and very dysfunctional.
James: Yeah. The way that he talks about Jaime and how Jaime is too concerned with what other people think…I think this is his moment for us to see Jaime’s humanity through how much of an asshole he’s been throughout the whole first book and season. Where he does care about what other people think about him, and it does affect him when people call him the Kingslayer. Because, like we mentioned before, he was doing the right thing in his eyes. And Tywin…
Luke: What a fucking hypocrite, though! Tywin is such a hypocrite. Because Tywin cares about what other people think more than anything else, it seems like.
James: Yeah, but he wants Jaime to be like…he wants Jaime to become him in some way, at some point, and I think Tywin…at least to have the confidence to realize, even if somebody thinks something of you…it’s better to be feared than to kind of like be affected by what people think. I don’t think Tywin’s, like, losing sleep at night about what people say about him. He just wants people to fear him.
Luke: I mean, this is a man who, all he cares about it is the legacy of his own name, and he tells Tyrion, like, “You’re not going to bring that whore to court.” Which is all about appearances, right? To the Lannister name. So, even if it isn’t personal, he cares about what people think about the Lannisters, and to me it’s kind of hypocritical to say, “Why do you care what people think of you?” When that’s his main operating thing, and it’s also the reason for all of this showmanship about the wealth of the Lannisters and why he projects all this wealth. Because he wants everyone to think that about him. Like, he’s obsessed with people thinking of him as this really wealthy, successful family. I don’t know. It’s just…Tywin is a fascinating character who, in my opinion, is kind of full of shit. It’s just like he doesn’t approve of the way that Jaime cares about honor, and he doesn’t agree with that take, and that being a virtue. And that’s what he actually disagrees with, even though he calls it, “You care what other people think of you.” That’s not actually what it is. I think he actually just doesn’t care about honor the way that Jaime does.
James: Yeah, I can see that. It’s about legacy, not honor for him.
James: Like you said. Which, legacy, I feel like, is tied into honor in some ways. But, ultimately, he’ll do whatever he can. He’s not honorable in keeping his legacy untainted.
Luke: I think it’s more that he knows the winners, you know, it’s been said many times, “History is written by the winners.” So, he just knows that the Lannisters have to come out on top, and then they can rewrite things to say whatever they want about how they actually got there. So, that’s the ultimate end-goal for him. Which, come to think of it, that dream of Tywin’s is gone now. Right? For the most part. Is Cersei pregnant in the last season of Game of Thrones?
James: I…think so.
Luke: I think she is. I think that was revealed in… Yeah, so that I guess is the one that maybe it won’t end up being the end of the Lannister line? But…
James: The thing is, I don’t see Cersei making it out. So…it will be interesting to track that and see if that’s even an important thing or if it’s just a shocking moment at the end of last season. So, one more thing that I want to talk about in this episode, because we definitely need to move on to the next one, but I wanted to go back around to Robb and the conversation that he has with his mom. With Catelyn as she shows up to their camp and kind of…she’s seeing him as this leader now, and Robb is having to take on all the responsibility, and the way that he handles Jon Umber, especially with the use of grey wind, is just such a good…and it was almost verbatim from the book.
James: Everything that happened, and “Your meat is tough.” And he says something about how, “I hope you’re not unsheathing your blade for anything other than cutting my meat.” And he’s like, “Your meat is tough,” when he loses two fingers and…just the joy and the toughness of the north. You can see throughout everyone.
Luke: Yeah, it’s cool.
James: It’s awesome and, like I said before, Robb being set up as kind of the next coming of Ned, and you can see how he’s going to follow in his dad’s footsteps in the way of battle, and in the way of politics, it seems. It’s something to hang onto for us Stark family fans.
Luke: Yeah, I agree. It’s cool. And just seeing the north rise and go on the warpath is fun because we know it doesn’t end up well, but for now it’s going very well for them. And, yeah, cool scene.
James: Episode 9 is “Baelor.” The Stark army arrives at the Twins’ castle; Catelyn convinces Lord Frey to let them pass and assist them, in exchange for her agreeing to the marriage of Robb and Arya to Frey's children in the future. Robb sacrifices 2,000 soldiers in a confrontation with the Lannister army, to capture Jaime. In a public hearing, Ned confesses to treason and publicly affirms Joffrey as rightful heir. However, rather than sentencing him to the Wall as had been negotiated, the vengeful Joffrey has him decapitated, while Sansa, and Cersei and the other counselors object futilely. Sansa watches her father die, and Arya is present in the crowd. At the Wall, Commander Mormont gives his family sword to Jon in gratitude, and Maester Aemon reveals to Jon that Aemon is a Targaryen. In Essos, Drogo's wound becomes septic and his death is imminent. Daenerys convinces a slave woman to use blood magic to save him. The woman tells everyone to leave the tent and stay out until the spell is over. Daenerys goes into labor, and Jorah brings her into the forbidden tent seeking aid.
Luke: A lot of big stuff in this episode.
James: I mean, this is the episode, right? This is the…
James: I would say this is the climax of the whole season.
Luke: Yeah. Uh, where do we want to start? Tell me what scene we’re starting with?
James: Let’s talk about the biggest thing last. So, for now, let’s talk about Robb. We were just talking about him…talking about his deciding to marry the Frey’s children in the future. So, they change it a little bit here because Catelyn goes in and negotiates all of this. But in the show, I thought it was interesting that Robb seems way more reluctant and kind of, like, dissatisfied with the whole thing. And he reluctantly agrees to do it. Whereas, in the book, it shows more that he’s all about it. He’s like, “Yeah, that’s fine. I don’t care.” What do you think the difference is there, and why is it different? I think it’s just the advantage of hindsight. They knew…I think George R. R. Martin may have had it basically planned out, but they knew exactly what…
Luke: Oh, he definitely did. Think about what’s happening with the Freys right now. This is all…this is all for the Red Wedding.
James: But he doesn’t have it physically written out fully…potentially…as far as it’s gonna…the exact details of how it’s gonna go down. And, honestly, like having Robb not be reluctant at this point because he’s so vengeful and he’s so involved in the war doesn’t surprise me either.
James: Like, how it plays in the book is fine with me. But in the show, knowing that ultimately he’s going to betray that promise he makes, having him a little more hesitant, I think maybe makes it easier for the audience to understand, like, “Ooh, he doesn’t necessarily want this, but he’s willing to do it for the greater good for now.”
Luke: There is…it does make a weird moment where he basically asked Catelyn if any of Frey’s daughters were hot.
James: And then Catelyn’s like, “Yeah, one.” She was like, “One was” and doesn’t give any adjective.
Luke: Yeah, I know, it’s kind of weird. Because clearly that’s not what’s important here. By any stretch.
Luke: So, that, to me is very like…that’s the boy in Robb is still there, I guess. And so they’re trying to highlight that in the show. So, I can see why they did it.
James: It kind of got me thinking about the arranged marriages in Game of Thrones that we know of. Or seemingly the political marriages. And it got me thinking about Jon Arryn and his wife, Lysa. And kind of…ultimately, it’s…from afar…just kind of context clues…she had him killed, we know. Or a combination of her and Littlefinger. We know that there were different motives, but clearly she wasn’t happy with Jon Arryn, and we know Jon Arryn as this very honorable person who probably would have been similar to Ned in a relationship, as far as being, like, you know, doing it for the cause, and then probably eventually being happy, depending on the woman. So, I don’t know, it’s kind of interesting to think of their relationship and maybe…
Luke: And, honestly, I think Ned and Catelyn is one of the few arranged marriages, political marriages, that we see here that is, like, has turned into a genuine loving marriage.
James: Yeah, I think you’re right. I mean, Ned and Catelyn’s relationship seems to have started as an arrangement, and ultimately they really did fall in love later.
Luke: It definitely was, because Catelyn was originally supposed to be with his brother.
James: Exactly, yeah. Which it seems she was happy with that marriage, as well.
Luke: Yeah, I think she was more into that marriage, and Ned was just kind of unknown. So, I think it took some time. And Ned also tells a lot about that early stages, because basically Robb, we learn in the book…I’m not sure if it was in the movie…or in the show, but we learn that Robb was conceived basically on their wedding night, and then Ned went off to war right after that. And, so he didn’t even know, I don’t think, that he was going to have Robb potentially when all the stuff went down with Jon being born.
James: Wow. Yeah.
Luke: Or maybe he knew she was pregnant. I assume maybe they got a raven out to him or something, but it was this, like…they’d only spent a couple nights together. You know what I mean? He didn’t have this love that he has for Catelyn now.
James: And I like that you can kind of see Catelyn’s point of view and how much she cares about Robb through that. Not only does he look like her family, not only does he look like a Tully, but it was like Ned was gone, and it was just her and Robb. The baby, Robb. And you could even see Robb maybe being the way that Ned and Catelyn ultimately came together and started to love each other in a true way.
Luke: Yeah, maybe. So, I do want to get into one of my biggest disappointments with the show. And I will fully admit that I totally understand why this is the case. It’s money. It’s budget. But I am so disappointed in what happens with these major battles in the show.
James: I was going to ask you what’s the most disappointing thing about this season to you.
Luke: That’s it.
James: I thought you might say this.
Luke: Tyrion being put in the van is such a, like, crazy thing that happens in the book. And then he decides he’s going to go in there with his clansmen. He realizes that he’s being set up for…basically he’s put in a weak point in the line because Tywin wants the Starks to see the weak point in the line, charge through, and then they’re going to, like, flank him and basically get him up against the river and defeat him that way. So, it’s all of this thing that Tywin basically wants to sacrifice that part of his line that Tyrion is in. And, instead, Tyrion is able to, like, rally his clansmen to actually withstand the charge, and Tyrion kills a couple dudes and has this big, crazy fight, and really, you know, does well for himself in this battle. And, so we see that this sets up, to me, what happens in the Blackwater episode, episodes later. Because we see him do this here. And I know it’s budgetary, and that’s why they had to do it this way, but it is so…to me, it takes all of that van stuff, which still happens…Tywin sets it all up, but then none of it matters because he just gets knocked out at the start of the fight. And so, to me, it feels like a dangling plot thread, like why was that important?
James: I’m sure they wish they could take it back, and they wish they could throw in at least some sort of battle or a couple of skirmishes from the battle.
Luke: Well, I’m sure if they had the budget they have now, they could.
James: Exactly, yeah. And, yeah, it’s just a product of a lower budget, I think. It was kind of a cheesy way to do it, like it was kind of a tried and true method—if you don’t want to show the multimillion-dollar battle, you have somebody—a POV character—get knocked out, and they wake up at the end…
James: Yeah, it was a disappointing thing for me, as well. I wanted to talk about it. Because this also, to me, in the book, is a reason…it’s like a moment where Tywin doesn’t show it, but it’s like a respect moment for him when looking at Tyrion. And you could almost say that, like, this and also his kind of the way he thinks of Robb. And he’s kind of the only person who says, “Oh, Robb may be a little more dangerous than you’re giving him credit for.” Are some of the reasons he chooses Tyrion to go act as Hand.
Luke: Yeah, absolutely. I agree. He gets a little bit of respect from him for this. In the book. In the show, I guess we’re to assume he thinks that Tyrion did the same stuff, even though he didn’t. The other thing that we lose out on is some Gregor Clegane, like, being…
Luke: Just a fricking crazy dude on the battlefield. In the book.
Luke: He’s this unstoppable force on the battlefield, and we don’t get to see that.
James: At one point his horse, like, goes down, and he just jumps off his horse, and he just starts killing everyone in the vicinity.
Luke: Yeah. And he’s the first person at the head of the van.
James: And he said if anybody falls off…any of his men fall off, he’ll chase after them and kill his own men.
Luke: Yeah. He’s a fuckin’ madman and berserker and just a force. And, to me, this is some of the stuff that really sells him, here. But also, he’s such a dark, twisted character, and like, we know that he’s been to one…he’s been pillaging the river lands and, you know, like doing crazy stuff that made Ned, you know, order Berric Dondarrion to take him down.
James: Yeah, not to mention what Tywin had him to do to Rhaegar’s kids and everything.
Luke: Yeah, not to mention that. Yeah. He does like the dirtiest dirty work. And then, at the end of this, he’s left to do more of it. Like, Tywin orders him to burn the riverlands, and the amount of suffering that Gregor Clegane inflicts on the smallfolk is pretty wild when you think about it.
James: And that’s why it’s such an epic moment in the show and the book, when Ned is like, “Fuck it, take him down. Strip him of all land, all titles, all everything and bring him to justice.”
Luke: And like, I feel like in the show it’s not as big, though. In the book, it’s huge. But in the show, it’s just one of several things. It’s almost more about Tywin, how he orders Tywin to come to court.
James: That’s true. But, I just mean having the context of the book and then hearing Sean Bean deliver the speech is pretty epic.
Luke: Well, and here’s the other thing. So, the absolute brutality with which Gregor does what’s ordered to him…ordered of him…is what creates the Brotherhood Without Banners, essentially. Because they can’t let it stand, so they almost turn brigand, but the brigand part of them is just to take out Lannisters wherever they find them. And is kind of in revenge for what Gregor does here. Which is really interesting. So, he’s setting all this stuff up now, which becomes much more important in books 2 and 3, I think. But, yeah, it’s just really cool to see the early stages here. And, yeah, I’ll just point it out. The other thing is the Whispering Wood, where Robb takes Jaime. Now, in the book, it is told through Catelyn’s perspective, as she is looking, as she hears some sounds and sees a couple, like, things through the trees happening. But we do also get a lot more of a description of the battle. To where it felt to me like there was enough there that, if they had wanted to film it, they could have. But they don’t. And, yeah, there was a lot of really cool stuff there about Jaime Lannister also being a madman on the battlefield, right? And how he knows he’s lost, but he still kills ten dudes, or whatever. Including both sons of one of the Karstarks, which becomes important later. Yeah, so we also see Jaime just being a madman. And, I don’t know if it was…I think it was mentioned in the show, but in the book, Jaime had been winning tons of battles up until this point. Like, it’s outlined that he is winning left and right. He is just dominating up until this point. So, this is such a great move to take him off the battlefield, essentially, by Robb. This is very important.
James: Yeah, and I think it’s kind of talked about more in the book, but just the fact that he sacrificed 2,000 men to Tywin in order to take Jaime is such a huge decision in the book for a 15-year-old kid to make.
Luke: And it’s interesting, in the book, he assigns Roose Bolton…
Luke: As the leader of those 2,000 men. Because Roose Bolton, like, doesn’t care. He’s like, “Okay, I’ll do it.” You know.
James: He’s just like, “Oh, vampire.”
Luke: Yeah, and Roose Bolton is creepy and…I don’t know, have we…we haven’t seen Roose at all in Season 1, have we? We assume he’s around, but we haven’t seen him.
Luke: It’s interesting that he is in the book, though.
James: The banners. Do you know what’s int…when they do the King of the North speech, the Bolton banners are in the background.
Luke: Yeah. I think he’s supposed to be there, we…
James: We’re to assume he’s there in that room.
Luke: I think we are to assume that.
James: Maester Aemon is the last Targaryen, other than Dany, and he’s speaking to a Targaryen that no one else knows about.
Luke: Yeah, watching this scene…so, we actually did the…I don’t know if you thought about the actual tree, how he’s related to Jon. Do you know?
James: Oh, well I know how he’s…let me think about it for a second, and I’m sure I can tease it out. So, Maekar is his father, so he’s the brother of Aegon.
Luke: Yes. He is the uncle of the Mad King, which makes him the great uncle, I believe, of Jon.
James: It could potentially be great, right? Wait, hold on, let me think. So, Jon, to Lyanna…well, Jon to Rhaegar, who Rhaegar to…
Luke: Rhaegar was his father.
James: Right, that’s what I’m saying. So, go up one. So father. Son of Aerys.
Luke: Aerys was his grandfather.
James: Yeah, so great, I believe right?
James: So, Aemon is…and I love the scene we get with him, because he’s ancient.
Luke: That also shows how ancient he is, man.
Luke: That’s wild.
James: They talk about how, you know, 30 years before the start of the show…ish…would have been everything that goes on with Robert’s rebellion, and he talks about his struggle with…at the point that he hears his family is being taken down, he is an old, blind man, so even if he wanted to do anything, he couldn’t.
Luke: It’s a great scene. Really powerful, and it’s funny because it works really well…not knowing anything about Jon’s parentage. Like, it just works really well as a cool backstory for the Targaryens, but also the surprise backstory for Aemon. Like, “Oh, this guy’s actually this ancient Targaryen, he’s really cool.” But, man, watching it back now, knowing what we know about Jon just really adds a dimension to that whole scene of how…neither of them know…like, he doesn’t know that Jon’s a Targaryen, but in this moment, he’s giving advice to, you know, somebody who’s part of his family line.
James: So, the biggest moment of the entire episode…most shocking thing of the entire season for a lot of viewers…Ned proclaims Joffrey as king and says that he’s the rightful heir and betrays his honor to do that.
James: And, then, ultimately is killed anyway because of Joffrey’s…just Joffrey.
Luke: Yeah, man. There’s several things I want to talk about here. So, yeah, first one. There’s a big change in the show. Ned sees Arya out in the crowd. Now, he might have seen her in the book, but we don’t know because we’re not in his perspective. We’re in Arya’s perspective. But we see, for sure, he sees her in the show, because he tells Yoren to go to her.
James: Well, Yoren gets to her in both the book and the show.
Luke: Yeah, but in the book, I always took it to be that Yoren just knew what she looked like. Like, he’d seen her before at Winterfell or something and just found her. I didn’t think he was told by Ned…by any stretch. I think that was a show… Now, to me it kind of fills in a potential plot hole of, like, why did…how does Yoren know what Arya Stark looks like? But I felt like you could explain that away by, like, he’s been to Winterfell before, and he’s probably seen her.
James: Well, we saw him in Winterfell, didn’t we?
Luke: Yeah, I think you’re right. I think he might be there early on while Arya’s there. Like, at the very beginning. I’m not really sure, but…
James: One thing, though, in the show, when he talks to him and tells him…he’s signalling to him that Arya’s somewhere, but he says, “Baelor.”
Luke: He just says, “Baelor,” because she’s at the statue…
James: The statue of Baelor, right. Do you think there’s any significance that she was standing at the statue of Baelor?
Luke: Oh. I didn’t think about that. What do you think the significance is?
James: I honestly didn’t look into it or anything, but I’ve always just…I thought that, like, I don’t know that I ever knew until this viewing that he said, “Baelor.” I maybe thought he was saying his name or something like that, and trying to get his attention, and looking over at…
Luke: It’s probably because you have to read the book and know that she’s standing at the statue of Baelor. Because, in the show, she’s just standing next to a statue.
Luke: And you don’t know what the statue is of, right? We know that they’re at the steps of the Baelor whatever, but we don’t know that’s a statue of Baelor for sure, so maybe you don’t make that connection when you watch the show generally? I do like the idea that maybe it’s like, um, maybe it’s like a holy thing, right? Like a…I don’t know, it’s like a blessing that she is actually there.
James: Yeah. I like that he makes her look away.
Luke: Yes. So, that’s another thing that is played so well. Yoren. Because…that scene is so masterfully done. I think the rising action, and then the betrayal of Joffrey. And I just want to shout out again. I think we mentioned earlier how everybody loves to hate Joffrey. But this actor nails this scene. Like, this is an iconic moment. When he turns and says, “They have the weak hearts of women. Ser Ilyn, bring me his head.” That is so well-delivered. And it has to be for this moment to work.
Luke: We have to believe it 100%, and I totally do. And it’s such a good moment, and man, when he orders that, and it’s like almost slow motion. Ilyn’s getting the great sword, and that’s when Yoren starts grabbing Arya by the face and saying, “Look at me, look at me.” And, I don’t know, that’s such a crazy moment. And the emotions build up, and…
James: Sansa’s screaming.
Luke: Yeah. And well, everybody. And Cersei’s trying to tell him, “No,” but this is like the moment of also Joffrey asserting, “Oh no, no. I am a crazy fucking boy-king now, and everybody has to listen to me.” Which is like…that’s the whole…the next three seasons we’re going to see a lot of that.
James: Yeah. And Ilyn Payne is wielding Ice.
James: Which is another, like…he’s executed with his blade…with his family execution sword.
Luke: And the sound design of it, too, because we see…all this noise, everyone shouting, Yoren yelling at Arya, people screaming, and then it goes…like, it drops, and it’s just silent. And we see Ned, like, just put it…head bowed, he knows it’s over, and he starts muttering something to himself. Now, do you know anything about the theories of this muttering? Have you read anything about it? You know, like what he might be saying here.
James: No, but, I just assumed it was something old-god related, but it would be crazy if he was like a secret warger, and he wargs into a direwolf at the last second.
Luke: Okay, so that’s one of the more wild theories is that he actually is warging here. But I don’t buy that at all.
James: Nah, that seems a little too…too magical for him.
Luke: There’s two major theories, and these have been supposedly debunked. But the two major theories are either he says “valar morghulis” here or he says, “I kept my promise.” Which, I really like that reading of it.
James: Yeah, I like that one, too.
Luke: That’s my head canon. I want to believe that’s what he says here. Like, it’s a thing he’s saying to Lyanna, and he’s thinking about Jon in this moment, and all that stuff, right? Because the “Promise me, Ned” is such a big thing in the book. So, to me that really…there’s like a poetic thing to that. Now, the reason that this has supposedly been debunked is that Sean Bean was in an interview in 2018. Now, I’m not sure when this came out as it pertains to Season…7? But Sean Bean was asked in an interview what he says there, and he claims that he was just muttering, like, nonsense as a prayer. Because he felt like Ned would pray in that moment. So, like you said, it’s like a prayer to the old gods. Or something.
Luke: Because he felt like that’s what Ned would do in the moment right before he dies.
Luke: But. I don’t know how much we can believe actors sometimes, man. I really don’t. And, because I mean, Kit Harrington said he was done with the show and out after he was killed. And cut his hair. Remember all that? Like, “No, I’m really dead, I cut my hair.”
James: There’s never a day that went by that I thought that he wasn’t going to come back.
Luke: Yeah. So, I don’t know how much we can trust him. But even if he didn’t say anything there, my head canon is that he did. I really love the idea of him saying, “I kept my promise.”
James: Yeah, I like that. I mean, I think that…yeah. Now that you say that, it makes me think about how Robert Baratheon was saying to Ned as he was dying, “I’ll say hi to Lyanna for you,” and it kind of makes me a little happy to think that Robert, Lyanna and maybe Ned are all together.
Luke: Oh, man, we didn’t talk about…I think we blew by that scene, but when Robert actually dies, I felt like the book version was the more powerful version. We didn’t talk about this last episode, did we? Because he dies in this one here. In Episode 7. Yeah, I felt like the book version of that scene was the more emotional moment, and I felt like…the show has some emotion to it, but it just…I don’t know, maybe they didn’t get into all the things that were said between the two of them, but I found Robert’s death more touching in the book.
James: I can see that, yeah. It seems very quick in the show. It goes by really fast. It’s like a couple minute scene.
Luke: Well, because I think what it is that they immediately…he orders everybody out, and then he immediately says, you know, “Write this down,” and he gives the order, but I think in the book there’s more of them two, like, talking about mistakes that were made along the way, reminiscing about old times…
Luke: I’m glad it’s you here at the end of me…like all this kind of stuff, and we see their friendship, I think, shining through more. Whereas, here in the show, a lot of that was probably cut for time. Which, by the way, anytime I say, “cut for time,” I also have to remember we had like a ten-minute agonizing scene with Littlefinger, just dropping backstory on two prostitutes having sex.
James: We didn’t even talk about that. We blew by that. That was back in…
Luke: We blew by it, but that’s like the worst “sexposition” scene…I think that’s actually the scene that spawned the saying.
James: Yeah, that’s the exact scene that it was coined.
Luke: Yeah. And so, anytime I think about them not having time for something, like, okay, cut back on that shit and give us more of Robert and Ned or something, you know.
Luke: That scene felt like it dragged on forever. I know it probably was only a two-minute scene, but it felt like ten plus minutes when I was watching it. I was like, “This is silly.”
James: Only like a third of what he says is even important.
Luke: Yeah, I agree. All right, man. So, let’s get into this final episode if you’re ready.
James: Let’s do it.
Luke: “Fire and Blood.” The North secedes from the Seven Kingdoms and proclaims Robb as their king. With Jaime captured by the Starks and Robert's brothers challenging Joffrey's claim to the throne, Tywin appoints Tyrion as acting Hand, while Tywin fights to defend Joffrey's reign. Jon plans to desert his post at the Wall to avenge Ned and support Robb, but his friends convince him to honor his oath and stay. Jon then joins a Night's Watch expedition to find Benjen beyond the Wall. Yoren, a Night's Watch recruiter, helps Arya escape King's Landing disguised as a boy, while Joffrey plans to make Sansa his queen despite her father's execution. Daenerys learns that her unborn son is dead, and Drogo has been left in a vegetative state due to the witch's treacherous magic. Daenerys ends Drogo's life. She places her three dragon eggs next to Drogo and lights a funeral pyre. She burns the witch alive on Drogo's pyre and walks into the flames herself. When the embers die the following morning, Dany rises, unharmed, flanked by three newborn dragons. Jorah and other witnesses kneel before her. Let’s save that scene. I think that would be a good place to end, so let’s save that scene for the end. Let’s back up. Yeah, we get the King of the North moment, which is I think actually really well done in the show. Like, they really…that’s one where the epicness of that moment was really nailed.
James: Yeah, I agree. There’s this moment, and I can’t remember if it’s the episode where Greatjon gets his fingers ripped off? There’s this look that Robb has, just like looking over his eyebrows, and it’s like you can see Ned in there, and also like the…everybody talks about Robb as the young wolf. And that guy’s a young wolf. He’s going to tear some stuff up, and when everybody proclaims…I think Jon Umber basically delivers the speech…but they just proclaim him King of the North, and Theon kneels down and…it’s all…that’s the rising action of the fallout of Ned dying that you would typically expect to see. And then we just…you could just assume from another fantasy story that he’s going to carry through and avenge his father, save his sisters, and unite the kingdoms again.
Luke: This is why a lot of people thought that, even though it felt different having Ned die, and possibly Khal Drogo die, that still this was going to end up being a classic fantasy tale.
James: That’s what I mean, yeah.
Luke: You know what I mean? And I think a lot of people felt that way. That’s why I think Book 3 is where it really says, like, “No, no, this is something different.” However, you could argue that maybe we’re still leading to some of these classic areas in the final season here…or in the final book. But we also talked a lot about how…I really think the books and the show are going to diverge quite dramatically. So, just because we get certain things in the show doesn’t mean we’re going to get them in the books.
James: And I do want to say that, I know George R. R. Martin is setting up a lot of…maybe he’s setting up a lot of traditional kind of fantasy endings. I just don’t see this story in the books ending in any conventional way. It’s gotta…because I just think everyone…it wouldn’t feel right, for the story…for it to end in some sort of…I don’t know. I just don’t see it having a very happy ending. Like, I think it’s going to be mostly bittersweet.
Luke: Yeah. Uh, I think he said in interviews that the ending will be bittersweet. That will be the tone of it. I think someone got that out of him, so… We’ll see if that holds true. We also got…oh, so Jon deserting here, momentarily, and then being brought back by his brothers…I’ve always felt it was kind of cheesy when they surround him and they recite the Night’s Watch…
James: In the show or in the book?
Luke: Kinda in both. I think it doesn’t strike me…I think it plays better in the book, because you don’t have to hear them say the whole thing, I guess. But, um, yeah, I don’t know. It just…it always struck me a little cheesy.
James: Mmhmm. I like it.
James: I go in for it. I think it’s just the…I understand why you say that, though.
Luke: They, like, bounce around in the group, and like, each person says a piece of it. Almost like it’s choreographed or something.
Luke: I think is part of it, too.
James: Yeah. I like, in the show they made a detail…I don’t think it was in the book, but in the show, like Sam falls off the horse, and Jon is willing to go back to check it out because you can already tell he cares for his Night’s Watch brothers. He goes back to check on him, and they convince him to come back. But I do like the scene overall in terms of the meaning of what happens here. Because seeing…as much as I want to see Jon and Robb side by side on the battlefield, the joints between this scene and the scene he has later with Commander Mormont allow Jon to realize that the war that he has coming is much more important than any war that could be fought for the South.
James: So, I like that. I like the idea that he’s also bought into it, to the point that his brothers can bring him back.
Luke: I agree. And, you know, I like the way the scene ends. I like him…where we leave him at the end of Season 1. Honestly, all of our characters are kind of, like, starting their next adventure at the end here, which I think is an interesting way to end, right? And draw you into the next book, and into the next season of the show.
James: And it’s such an epic beginning to so many adventures, too. Because the first one was very…it was…maybe two adventures going on. Maybe three, I guess. The King’s Landing stuff, the Essos stuff, and the Wall stuff. But there’s so many adventures that branch out from here, and just that feeling at the end of the episode? It’s a good feeling to know that you have so much in store.
Luke: We also get… So, Arya’s plot line here is actually borrowed from Book 2, because in Book 1, this stuff with the setup with Yoren and Gendry being there and all that? That’s like the start of Book 2. That doesn’t happen here. So, it’s interesting to see that they drew that into here. Why do you think they did that?
James: I think to set up her adventure. I think that just having her…having a story and where it was in the book is kind of leaving her on a cliffhanger, and if they ended the first season with everybody clearly having a path they were going to head down, I think it would get people more invested to come back next season.
Luke: Yeah. The true cliffhanger they leave is on Dany. Which, are we ready to get into that one, or do you have any other…oh, let’s talk about Joffrey and Sansa. So, that’s such a Joffrey moment. I’m going to bring you out to the wall and make you look at your father’s head. And then I love Sansa saying, like, you know…because he says, “I’m going to give you your brother’s head.” And she says, “Maybe he’ll give me yours.” And, wow, we want to see that so bad, right? But it’s not how it goes down. Game of Thrones does not give that to us. Does not give us the satisfaction. Uh, and then, yeah, I just love how they brought that moment from the book where she almost pushes him off, and then the moment passes, and she doesn’t quite get it in time. I’m really happy that small moment was still brought to the screen. So, I think it’s a cool one to see here, like…Sansa has to go through a lot of growth here, and this is the start of her learning to fight back a little bit, I guess. At least thinking about doing that.
James: Yes. Well, we can see the fight in her, and I think that’s the Stark…yeah, she needed that moment, in terms of everything she goes through and she’s going to go through? That was definitely a big…even though it was only a couple seconds, that was huge.
Luke: Yeah. Well, I also think about how Arya had someone in Yoren have her not look. But, like, Sansa watched Ned’s head get cut off and feels like it was her fault, in like a large part.
Luke: So, that’s gotta be really brutal. And she’s not much older than Arya, so it was not like she was equipped to handle this well. So, I don’t know. I feel like I have a lot more sympathy for Sansa now, whereas I remember early on not being as big a fan of her, because a lot of the, like…I mean, we see her being kind of terrible in a lot of these early episodes. And not appreciating her family enough, and being way too on board with Joffrey, and all that.
James: Yeah. I felt…it’s not quite…I definitely wasn’t as on board with Sansa as I was with Catelyn, but like I said before, Catelyn was a character I had to eventually come around to, going back and appreciating her character more each time. I feel like Sansa is the same way. I like her more now than…especially when I first started the show, because yeah, it seemed to me…like throughout, she sold her family out to the Lannisters repeatedly. And yeah, I wasn’t there for that. But, I understand it a little more now. And I do…I think that I’m already…just having watched the first season, I’m already pulling for Sansa. In that moment where she almost kills Joffrey—the big one?
Luke: Yeah. That’s the big reason why, I think. Because that makes us feel for her in a way that I think we could…if you just left it at the Baelor stuff, I think we’d be more mad at her heading into the next season.
James: In the book, there are a couple things that I had written out here, we get the story of the Children of the Forest and the First Men of the Andals being told to Bran, I believe.
James: And I think that’s huge for the lore, and that being left out of the show changes things. For later seasons, they have to do more explaining later.
James: But another one was, we get Podrick as Tyrion’s squire in this first one, which in the show we don’t get until much later. Season 2, I think, or maybe even 3. I think 2.
James: And, this is in both show and book, but I wanted to talk about Rickon and feral Shaggydog down in the crypt at the beginning of this episode, where in the book, he even attacks the Maester, right?
Luke: Yeah, I think so. I think he gets bit…
James: And Summer has to jump in and save the day.
Luke: It’s Osha in the show instead.
James: Yeah, and Rickon and Bran seem to have Greensight. At least…maybe there’s something to do with, like, a younger…because Rickon’s so young. He has this dream that Bran shares where they see Ned in the crypt before…like right after he dies.
Luke: I really…like, we don’t get to see that dream, but the implication being that it actually was Ned or some sort of premonition. Yeah, that’s a gives-me-chills kind of moment, which was cool. It’s always cool to have that in a show. Yeah, I like that.
James: Maybe it lends some sort of support to that warging theory that maybe he was traveling through some sort of green…
Luke: There are people who believe that Ned Stark is still alive somehow, and that he’s going to make a return in the final season. I just…I don’t see it, but…yeah. I mean here’s some of the reasons why, I think. You’re right. We see supernatural shit going down.
James: So, I mean we’ve never seen a headless wight. I guess maybe we have seen a headless wight…so do we see Ned Stark’s body come back to the wight?
Luke: I don’t know how that would happen. He’s gotta be a skeleton by now…although we’ve seen some skeletons. Um, but let’s get into another big prophecy here that’s set up. It’s the Khal Drogo prophecy. From Mirri Maz Duur, who says that…because Dany says, “When will he be normal again,” and she says, “When the sun rises in the west and sets in the east, and the mountains blow away like leaves,” or something like that. And that’s when he’ll be back, essentially. I don’t have the exact words in front of me. But this…there’s a little more to it, too, because in the book it’s also, “When your womb quickens again,” or something because she’s…and when you have another child…which isn’t a big part of the show, but that is a big thing that she doesn’t think she’ll be able to have any more children, and then at some point she does start getting her menstrual cycle again, and so it’s implied that maybe she can have children again. And, so, in the book, you could argue that a lot of things of this prophecy have come true. Because, in the book, there’s a character, I think his name is Quentyn Martell, and House Martell has a sun as their emblem, and he, in the books, leaves from the west, heads east, and then dies. He gets killed by Dany’s dragons in the…where they’re locked up, because he tries to unchain them. So, you could argue that he is the sun that rises in the west and sets in the east. And the final piece of the prophecy is the mountain…mountains getting turned to grass, or whatever, and people have argued that that is, like, the death of The Mountain—Ser Gregor Clegane.
James: Clegane? Mmhmm.
Luke: And when that happens, we’ll see the return of Khal Drogo. So, that’s my question to you. Are we going to see the return of Khal Drogo.
James: My thing is, like, I’ve always felt that Khal Drogo reincarnate is Drogon. The dragon.
James: So, maybe it just means that Drogon will be at his most powerful when all the prophecies have been completed or something. And maybe, like, Khal Drogo will be himself again through Drogon, but…I don’t know. I mean, maybe in the book. I don’t think physically seeing Khal Drogo rise from the grave and be the warrior he was before…I don’t really see that happening.
Luke: I agree. I think a way that this could be fulfilled in both book and show is that Dany and Jon could have a child together, and she could name that child Drogo.
James: That would be cool.
Luke: Thus fulfilling the prophecy.
Luke: So, maybe. I don’t know if that will happen, but yeah, that’s the one way I could see this prophecy coming true. But I do agree with you about, like, I’ve always felt like Drogon is sort of Khal Drogo reincarnated, too. So, I don’t know. So, yeah, that leads into this final scene here, and we get…the baby’s dead, and she is going to have this final funeral pyre for Drogo. She ties the witch to it, and she walks, and we get the whole unburnt scene and the ending here. This is another absolutely iconic scene, right? Like, right from the book and put to screen, and man is it cool. I think it’s a great way to end the season.
James: That was a huge ending. Just absolutely insane. I think if you were a casual viewer and you hadn’t really put the pieces all the way together, when she’s putting the eggs in the fire, that’s your signal, that’s your time to be like, “Okay, we’re going to get some dragons here.” But even just…even if you saw it coming a little bit. When she’s got the dragons on her, and they’re just kind of pulling out and showing all the Dothraki kneeling to her, you’re like, “Okay, she is now a full-on Khaleesi. She’s going to lead people forever. The dragons are going to grow. We’re going to see massive dragons in the show, and we’re going to see Dany take the Seven Kingdoms.”
Luke: Yeah, really cool. And she is the Mother of Dragons here, and literally…instead of giving birth to her son with Khal Drogo, she essentially gives birth to dragons here, right? It’s so cool how we kind of change. All the stuff about the stallion that mounts the world…I always felt like that was also Drogon, too, right? Like, her giving birth to Drogon, the dragon, he is like that prophecy if you apply it to her dragon, right? It is actually still kind of true, and that he is this ultra-warrior who is going to lay waste to the world. And Drogon is that, in dragon form.
James: Do you think we see the end of dragons again at the end of the show?
Luke: Yeah, that’s a good question. I don’t know. What’s Martin playing at?
Luke: It’s tough to say. And I think that’s the big question—where is this all headed? And I can guarantee you that, no matter where it is headed, it’s not going to satisfy everybody. Be prepared to be dissatisfied, everybody. Because it’s going to happen. This is too big a show, there’s too many things going on. It’s just impossible to satisfy everyone. Even shows that, in my opinion, that have great endings, like Breaking Bad, in my opinion has a brilliant ending—masterfully done—there’s still people who were dissatisfied with that ending. I remember when it came out people were complaining about it.
James: Yeah. I mean, it’s the nature of endings. There’s no more after that.
James: So, you’re…even if you do like the ending, there are people who are going to be bummed out because it’s over, and there’s no other details, there’s nothing else to come. So, I don’t know. I think that you try to take it with a grain of salt and realize, like, if you hate the show ending, then hold out hope for that last book. Hope that those books are great.
Luke: Which I know I will be. Even if I like the show ending, I’m going to be holding out for those last books. We haven’t talked about it much, I don’t think, in our coverage, but yeah, I believe Martin’s going to write the books. I think we’re going to get Winds of Winter at some point in the next, probably, one to two years. And then the hope is that the final book will actually get delivered. And a lot of people are very pessimistic about it and think he’s going to die before he’s able to finish it, which is a very dark thing to say, but a lot of people say it. I don’t know. I want to believe in the man. I want to believe that he’ll get it done, and maybe the show ending will lift some pressure off him and he’ll actually be able to do it. That’s my hope.
James: Yeah. I think he’s going to do it. I agree. It’s coming out. He’s going to drop both books. I think this book…I think that, at this point, you wait for the hype to hit for the show, wait for stuff to die out a little bit. Maybe release it the following year, and then yeah, I have to hold out hope. I know it’s kind of a fool’s dream, maybe. But maybe like a year or two later, we get the final book. But I’m sure it will be longer than that. But I’m willing to wait. Personally. I’m here to wait. I’m not going anywhere.
Luke: Honestly, that’s the thing. I don’t care how long it takes. Like, I’d prefer it sooner, but I have so many other things I can read, it’s not like I’m hurting for good books to read. You know. So, when it comes out, I’ll be happy when I get it.
Luke: And that’s an unpopular opinion. I know a lot of people do not agree with that. A lot of people want it. They feel like they’re invested. And there’s this promise that there are things owed to them as readers, and I get a lot of that feeling. I just don’t share it. I think, to me, there are too many good things being written right now. There are too many great series and shows and books out there that I will be fine waiting. And I would rather have a great book than a rushed book, too.
James: Oh yeah, yeah.
Luke: I’d rather it take five or six years…or more. As long as I get it. Which is what I do want. As long as it eventually comes out, I will be happy with it. If it’s good. Obviously, if he writes a terrible book, he writes a terrible book, but you know, assuming that doesn’t happen, which you know, who knows, a lot of people think he’s kind of lost it too because you could argue that Books 4 and 5 are the weakest in the series. But, I don’t know, man, I think Winds of Winter is going to be a good book. You know, maybe even a great book, when it comes out. I really do, so I still have hope, and I still believe in Martin.
Luke: I’m a Martin loyalist.
James: Yeah, and honestly, at the end of the day, if you are bummed out by the end of the show as well, and you’re one of those people who are not holding out for the book, and you’re not invested in the book, there’s a bunch of spin-offs, and you’re not going to be able to escape Westeros eventually, so wait for the spin-offs. I’m sure they won’t be nearly as good as the original show, but if you need that extra fix, it will be there. And let’s hope they’re good shows, and maybe even great shows.
Luke: Yeah. All right, man. I think we’ve come to the end of our Game of Thrones coverage. I just wanted to say that I really enjoyed it. I’m glad I got to go through this with you, and I feel like we’ve really dived into this material that I really love in a way that I’m excited that we got to do. Because I never feel like I know something as well as I do until after we cover it.
Luke: You know, because we really just research it.
James: That’s why I don’t feel like I see a world where we don’t cover the books. But, again, it will be a massive…the other books and other series of the show are a massive undertaking, so I would like to think in the future we get to it, but if this is it, I’m happy we were able to cover it, and I think we did a pretty good job, and I liked that we were able to tackle it with the knowledge that we have this far along in the show and in the books.
Luke: Yeah. And I hope you all enjoyed it, too, and please do return with us next week when we start into our Pet Sematary coverage. If you like Game of Thrones, you’re probably going to like Stephen King. A lot of the more, just like, dark stuff and, you know, crazy content. And we’ve always enjoyed covering King, so, hopefully you’ll come back with us next week. And I did really want to thank JV, who is a patron of ours, who is helping support this podcast and keep it going. If you wanted to learn how to become a patron yourself, go to Patreon.com/InkToFilm, and you can learn how to get access to all of our bonus content. Which we’re going to be putting out another episode this month. I think there’s like 11 or 12 of them now.
James: Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, all of those @InkToFilm. And join our Facebook Group, Council of Inklings, where we post polls, potential bonus episodes, or maybe even projects for the show proper.
Luke: Yeah, and leave us a rating and a review. If you appreciate the show at all, we’d love to hear from you, and that’s the best way to let us know is to publically give us a shout-out in the form of a rating or review on iTunes, Stitcher, on Facebook itself, where ever you’d like to leave it, we’d love to have it.
James: We’d like to thank Jennifer Della’Zanna for providing our transcripts, and thank you to Rameses B for the use of our intro and outro music.
Luke: All right, man, I’m going to finish off this Ommegang. I think I’ll post a picture of it to our Instagram. You can all check it out. But cheers to you, cheers to all of you for listening. Thanks for joining us for all of this, and until next time…
James: Valar morghulis