The Westeros Watch Part Twenty-Four

Season five has its highs and its lows.  Dorne?  Something of a low.  Hardhome?  Oh man…

Jimmy and Tom have some stuff to say on both those things as they cover the season five episodes “The Gift” and, obviously, “Hardhome”.

tomk:  This was not a good pair of episodes for anyone not named Samwell Tarly.

jimmy:  Outside of the severe beating.

tomk:  It got him something he didn’t know he was missing.

jimmy:  It got Gilly something too.

tomk:  The sight of Sam’s O-face? Oh my…

jimmy:  Yeah, I never suspected we’d see that.

tomk:  Neither did Sam.

jimmy:  Lol, true enough.

tomk:  But last week you asked me how I evaluate changes made to the book’s version of the story. I said Dorne was terrible, but this time we have big changes that work out much, much better. I am referring to the massacre at Hardhome.

jimmy:  I’m still holding my breath from that one. How was it different?

tomk:  Jon in the books doesn’t go to Hardhome. He sends some ships and they come back reporting the place, a decent-sized Wildling town, was deserted. But something had happened there…

jimmy:  WTF?

That was like one of the best scenes in the show so far.

tomk:  Martin treats the White Walkers as still a mysterious, distant threat. And finding a town full of Wildlings empty is rather eerie in its own right.

jimmy:  Fair. But not as good TV.

tomk:  Very true. Changes need to be made based on the medium. Martin’s books only offer some speculation that Valyrian steel can kill a White Walker. Jon Snow just proved that’s true.

jimmy:  And how.

tomk:  That would be the only good news that came from Hardhome along with the small number of Wildlings (plus Wun-Wun the giant) that Jon was able to save.

jimmy:  Man, that scene was so intense. And then the Night King just standing there at the end, raising his arms, and all the new additions to his army of the dead.

Jimmy shivers.

tomk:  Aside from that one Walker Jon killed, the Night King didn’t lose a single fighter.

Plus, since the Walkers can freeze anything, the King didn’t have to stop at the end of the dock.

jimmy:  He just let them go.

tomk:  Yeah. For now.

jimmy:  He’s in no rush. Need to drag things out for a couple of seasons yet. 🙂

tomk:  He may have other concerns to take care of first.

The producers have said they never want to give the Walkers dialogue because they are meant to represent a force of nature, not people.

But they still have goals.

jimmy:  I bet the Night King talks before all is said and done, but I agree with making them forces of nature. The whole army in general seems unstoppable. Especially when your fallen comrades up and join their ranks.

tomk:  Demonstrated by giving us a fairly well-developed character (the woman chieftain who saved her kids but wouldn’t fight undead children) being specifically shown getting up again.

jimmy:  Yes. Too bad, as she seemed like a nice potential character going forward. And now we’ll never see her again.

tomk:  But you’re a Walking Dead fan. How did this compare to that?

jimmy:  Hmmm…good question…

Well, see, Walking Dead is more about the people than the dead. So while there are “battles” against the walkers, there are rarely big battle sequences like this against them. Most of the major conflicts are between opposing factions. There’s also not often as much opposition, as the survivors are usually in smaller groups, not an entire village.

tomk:  So, nothing on this scale?

jimmy:  I’m trying to think back. But Walking Dead is more about moments. So you might have a horde of walkers that they battle and (some) survivor. But again, the big set pieces are usually human versus human. Those can get intense, and well done, but usually in melees with the walkers, not many make it out in one piece.

tomk:  Human vs human also happens here. No one likes the Thenns, but even they will fight alongside a Crow when the White Walkers show up.

jimmy:  That’s an interesting point, as opposing people on Walking Dead rarely team up to fight walkers. If anything, they set traps to use the dead against each other. Also, the Walkers and even wights are more intelligent here than walkers who are slower and acting more on instinct.

tomk:  Wights just do what the White Walkers “tell” them to do, though.

jimmy:  Yes, but they have enough free thought to know how to fight and defend themselves. You swing a sword or a crowbar at a walker they just stand there while it takes their head off.

tomk:  Good point.

So, I’d say Hardhome isn’t a good vacation spot.

jimmy:  Not anymore.

tomk:  Let’s try somewhere else…hey, how about the Sept of Baelor in King’s Landing?

jimmy:  Ok, you’ve said previously that the High Sparrow storyline is from the books…is Cersei’s imprisonment?

tomk:  Yup.

The circumstances, like Margaery’s arrest, is different though.

Cersei in the books gets a member of the King’s Guard to claim Margaery slept with him to get her arrested for adultery. But then the Faith Militant torture that guy to find out Cersei was behind it all. Margaery at the end of the last book she appears in is almost certainly getting out again very soon. Cersei has…other problems.

Here, in a move that makes more sense, Lancel Lannister tells all.

jimmy:  It’s nice to see Cersei taken down a peg, but all those Sept folks are jerks.

tomk:  It seems the High Sparrow is mostly interested in bringing down the mighty and letting the peasants (and himself) rule judging by what he told Lady Olenna.

jimmy:  The do outnumber the high born.

tomk:  And it’s not as if the high born necessarily look out for their interests.

But the High Sparrow doesn’t necessarily sound all that religious when he talks like that. He sounds like Karl Marx or something.

jimmy: This guy?

tomk:  Close enough.

What’s your take on the High Sparrow?

jimmy:  Add him to the list.

tomk:  Your list is getting rather long.

jimmy:  That tends to happen to my lists.

tomk:  I suppose I shouldn’t bother asking about the Sand Snakes.

jimmy:  They don’t bother me so much.

tomk:  Ah.

Because one uses the Watson-improved method of showing off her boobs?

jimmy:  I figured you would go there. And…maybe.

tomk:  I told you one had a Watson-approved method of fighting enemies.

Granted, it starts with poison, but then it goes to boobs.

jimmy:  But I hate Cersei, so boobs only count for so much.

tomk:  Well, you aren’t Watson.

You know, if we didn’t have Watson to reference so often, we’d have to invent someone like him.

jimmy:  Would we have to?

tomk:  I dunno. Ask Bronn.

jimmy:  He’s probably as close to a Game of Thrones Watson as we’re going to get. Though we like Bronn a lot more.

tomk:  There’s also Tyrion…who just met Dany!

Martin hasn’t gotten that far yet.

jimmy:  Hmm…yes…Tyrion could possibly be a Mini-Watson…but we like him better too.

tomk:  Don’t we like most people more than Watson?

jimmy:  Yeah…it’s not much of a competition.

tomk:  But does Tyrion like Dany?

And where does that leave Jorah, who just can’t take a hint?

jimmy:  I guess it leaves Jorah in the pits. And I’m not sure if Tyrion likes Dany or not yet, but he seems to admire her.

tomk:  She wants to break the wheel, whatever that means.

jimmy:  It means she gets results, you lousy chief!

tomk:  Jorah gets results. Those results generally include exile.

jimmy:  And much kicking of ass.

tomk:  But he did see how disgusted she was by the gladiator try-outs and took down everyone still standing without killing anybody from the looks of things.

jimmy:  How un-“Game of Thrones” like

tomk:  It was a good pair of episodes for that when you consider Maester Aemon died of natural causes.

jimmy:  Sad to see him go.

tomk:  He did remember his baby brother Egg.

jimmy:  Egg. Heh.

tomk:  Egg is a reference to a prequel series Martin did called “Dunk and Egg”.

jimmy:  Sounds delicious

tomk:  Sounds like something I haven’t read. Look it up if your curious

jimmy:  I’ll put it on the list. Near the end. :slightly_smiling_face:

tomk:  So will I

jimmy:  As an aside, there seems to be quite a bit of prequel material floating around.

tomk:  True. But you did get dropped into a place with a lot of history before the show even started. These characters know what happened in the past so they don’t need to tell each other about it all the time.

jimmy:  Tyrion makes an interesting companion/advisor for Dany. Others like Jorah and Ser Barriston have known the ways of Westeros, but Tyrion should know the inner workings of the houses even better. Plus he has a great mind for strategy.

tomk:  He is so smrt.

And he isn’t afraid to walk up to a queen with armed guards and dragons.

jimmy:  That too. He’s proven many times that he has guts.

tomk:  As long as they aren’t spilled all over the throne room, he will continue to have them in abundance.

So, who’s left? Various Stark sisters?

jimmy:  Poor, poor Sansa. And poor, poor Reek. At least she knows the truth now about her youngest brothers.

tomk:  After a lot of “poor Sansa” moments, the news about Bran and Rickon is actually rather nice. She’s not the last Stark anymore!

That she knows of.

jimmy:  Still quite a few of them kicking around.

tomk:  Arya probably knows Sansa is alive. Bran knows Sansa and Rickon are alive. Arya doesn’t know anything about her brothers. Jon doesn’t count.

jimmy:  Jon knows nothing.

tomk:  He knows what can kill a White Walker!

Beyond that, yeah, he doesn’t know crap.

jimmy:  Valyrian steel FTW!

tomk:  We should keep track of whom has Valyrian steel.

Jon, Jaime, and Brienne.

That’s it for now.

jimmy:  Well, that was easy.

tomk:  Sansa could use some. It’s always so sharp and pointy.

jimmy:  Needle is not Valyrian right?

tomk:  Needle is regular steel. Nothing fancy. No one really knows how to do more than reforge old Valyrian steel at this point.

jimmy:  And Jon has Mormont’s sword and Jaime and Brienne have Ned’s sword reforged into two?

tomk:  True.

The dagger Littlefinger said was Tyrion’s way back in season one was made of the stuff, too.

jimmy:  Right. I knew there was another kicking around. Where is the dagger now?

tomk:  I’m not sure. Littlefinger probably has it.

jimmy:  It’s good to know that they have at least some options against the Walkers with the Valyrian steel and dragonglass. So, not completely hopeless. But, they could probably use A LOT more of both.

tomk:  Especially since that Walker Jon killed ignored fire.

jimmy:  Valyrian steel beats Walker. Walker beats fire. So Valyrian steel beats fire? I guess that’s why those guys go around with their flaming Azreal swords.

tomk:  Which are supposedly ordinary steel.

Are Sansa’s problems so dull we’d rather talk about Hardhome some more?

jimmy:  Heh, I was just wondering that. :slightly_smiling_face:

There’s not a lot to discuss. Ramsay is a maniac. Sansa is getting raped repeatedly. She’s searching for a way out, but Reek is so broken he can’t/won’t help her. Brienne is waiting for a signal that may never come.

tomk:  She needs her some Arya.

jimmy:  Arya would take Ramsay down in like 5 minutes.

tomk:  We can hope. She’s selling shellfish right now.

jimmy:  And very convincingly!

tomk:  She’s been practicing.

jimmy:  Also, even with all the gore in the series, I think the Ms and I found them slurping down the clams one of the grosser things on the show.

tomk:  And people really eat oysters that way.

jimmy:  Blech

Not much of Arya this go round.

tomk:  Wait for it. Season five is almost over.

jimmy:  We headed down a path comparing Bronn to Watson, but never quite got to his heart pumping faster scene…

tomk:  There were boobs involved.

jimmy:  That’ll do it!

Lucky that she found him attractive…and had that antidote on hand…

tomk:  He has a nice singing voice.

jimmy:  And an interesting choice of song.

tomk:  They only have, like, three songs in Westeros. What else could he sing? “Rains of Castamere”?  “The Bear and the Maiden Fair”?

jimmy:  “The Tale of Brave Sir Robin”?

tomk:  He ran away.

jimmy:  Poisoning aside, Bronn probably enjoyed his conversation more than Jaime did his.

tomk:  Jaime was reminded, yet again, that he has to pretend his children aren’t his children.

jimmy:  Yes. And they grow up so fast.

tomk:  Oh, and we get to see Joffrey was the outlier. Tommen and Mycella seem fairly normal.

jimmy:  It’s always the oldest child that’s the most trouble.

And insane.

tomk:  I am the oldest child in my family. Would an insane person do write ups for nearly 28 full seasons of The Simpsons, plus a movie?

jimmy:  …uh…no?

tomk:  I’m…not sure.

jimmy:  Heh

But yes, the other kids seem like they’re all right.

tomk:  Well, now that I have questioned my own sanity, anything else to add, Jimmy?

jimmy:  Hmmm…did I mention adding that “confess” woman to The List?

tomk:  Not yet.

jimmy:  Put it on the board!

tomk:  That Septa has some issues.

jimmy:  And Cersei is none too fond of her.

tomk:  Wait, are you siding with Cersei?

jimmy:  *cries* Maybe? Can I hate them both?

tomk:  Whoever wins, we all lose.

And so our Watch continues.  Be back soon as Tom and Jimmy finish off season five with the episodes “The Dance of Dragons” and “Mother’s Mercy”.

tomk74

Defender of the faith, contributing writer, debonair man-about-town.

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