Here’s a thought that we’ve had for a while, but hadn’t articulated it well into a post. Now we don’t have to as the the great Brynden Blackfish has done so here.
Be sure to read the entire thing, but the gist of it is that Brienne and Pod will be outside of Winterfell when Sansa and Theon jump over the wall. I expect Sansa will light her candle in the window as the old woman suggested.
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As to be expected, last night’s episode of Game of Thrones has caused quite a stir. The episode ending scene made the unfortunate choice of using rape as a plot device. According to the episodes writer Bryan Cogman, Sansa made “a choice” to put herself into that situation. Rather than write up a long piece on the use of rape in the show, I’ll link to this one by @angryGOTfan (At least I believe he is the author, please correct me if I am wrong.)
But I will make this brief point. You can’t make the point that the show has made so many changes to the story and created it’s own version of the universe and simultaneously use the defense that the rape happens in the books. Because it doesn’t. Ramsay rapes his wife on his wedding night, that much is true. But if you change the situation and place a different character there, then you can change the course of events. Did we need more reasons to dislike Ramsay? What is the point other than to show yet another rape in the show.
If you are upset about this episode, or this article, then do something positive and donate to RAINN.
For those of you familiar with GRRM’s “Not a Blog” livejournal site, you know that he is a huge fan of NFL football. In particular the New York teams, The Jets and Giants. So George is no doubt familiar with the phenomenon known as “Coachspeak.” As many of you may not be familiar with the term, I think it’s best explained through an example. In a nutshell, “Coachspeak” is when a football coach says something that isn’t true, but it is not possible to know that because the coach holds information that nobody else does. Here’s the example:
Scene: Pre-game press conference
Reporter: Hey Coach, you have a real tough game coming next week. How do you expect to win?
Coach: Well, We have a great running game. We have one of the best running backs in the league. We’ll probably give him the ball as many times as we can until his legs fall off.
Fast forward one week later, and the coach’s team won. But they barely ran the ball at all, instead their QB threw for over 400 yards and 4 touchdowns. Let’s see what the coach has to say about this.
Scene: Post-game press conference
Reporter: Coach, Can you explain your strategy and why you threw the ball so much instead of running?
Coach: We saw a few things while reviewing game film, and we thought we could take advantage of their weak pass defense.
And there you have it. Only the coach knows if they truly lied in the first press conference, but if it happens every week, we can establish a pattern. But what’s the motivation? Well there are several benefits to this tactic. First, you give confidence to your players, in this case the running back. It never hurts to have the guy carrying the ball thinking the coach appreciates what he’s been doing. Remember this book reader and show watchers, when we circle back to why the hell I’m writing about this. Secondly, and probably more importantly, it creates a layer of distraction and subterfuge for the opposing team. In the week leading up to the game, they will prepare to defend a heavily run focused offense. If all goes well and the team wins, nobody calls into question the coach’s early remarks.
Here’s another example of some “coachspeak”:
“Last year we went out to Santa Fe for a week to sit down with [Martin] and just talk through where things are going, because we don’t know if we are going to catch up and where exactly that would be,” Benioff says in the April issue of Vanity Fair. “If you know the ending, then you can lay the groundwork for it. And so we want to know how everything ends. We want to be able to set things up. So we just sat down with him and literally went through every character.”
So here we have a statement from the Game of Thrones showrunners claiming to have gone through every character and how the series will end with them. This comes off eerily similar to the coach comments above. But what are the benefits? Well, If the showrunners know the ending, then viewers will be more confident that the coming seasons will be of a high quality, and worth watching. But is that really how things are playing out? Season 5 has brought so many changes from the books that the remaining story lines that are still “in tact” is dwindling down to nothing. And we also know why:
“We got very lucky in casting because it’s so hard to cast good kids. Even if they come in and do a great audition, it’s so hard to know if they’re going to quite literally grow into the parts. With Sansa and Arya in particular, their storylines have become quite dark. It was such a gamble and the fact that they’ve both become such great wonderful actresses is a bit of a miracle.”
And it’s because of Turner’s strength, Benioff continued, that it made sense to give Sansa a dramatic storyline this season and to use Ramsay’s engagement for that very purpose.
Writer-producer Bryan Cogman had some insight, as well. “The seeds were planted early on in our minds,” Cogman said. “In the books, Sansa has very few chapters in the Vale once she’s up there. That was not going to be an option for one of our lead characters. While this is a very bold departure, [we liked] the power of bringing a Stark back to Winterfell and having her reunite with Theon under these circumstances.”
I’ve mentioned on twitter several times that I don’t think the showrunners actually do know the endings of the books, and I also think that’s now become irrelevant to the outcome of the TV series. There are only 2 story lines that could be considered faithful to their book source material at this stage of season 5. Arya and King’s Landing, however KL could be falling apart in an episode or two. It seems as though Ser Loras will be taking Margaery’s place as a prisoner of the faith, but unlike Margaery, Ser Loras will likely be found guilty of the charges. Since we don’t yet know how this will play out in the books, it’s hard to know if the show will be similar, but in truth, it doesn’t matter.
For GRRM’s part, he has been fairly polite on the matter. A consummate professional, George is familiar with how to promote TV shows via interviews with industry publications like Entertainment Weekly and Hollywood Reporter, and nothing would be gained by clarifying a few of the finer points of what the showrunners do and don’t know. It looks much better to be one unified team with a unified message. But George has also used his vehicles to drop some subtle hints to us. The two best examples are his sample chapters of Arya and Alayne released between seasons 4 and 5 of Game of Thrones. The Arya chapter made reference to the Master of Coin (Mace Tyrell) being present in Braavos, something we have recently seen in the show. But the Alayne chapter firmly places Sansa in the Vale and introduces her to her suitor Harry. It’s a subtle reminder that the true story is still being written, and those who worry that the books will be “spoiled” need not fear.
To accept the idea that the show can spoil the ending of the books, one would have to admit that the following storylines and characters are not important to the book conclusion:
- Davos and his search for Rickon
- Sansa and her potential marriage to Harry the Heir
- (f)Aegon and his invasion of Westeros
- Jaime and Brienne’s “situation” with Lady Stoneheart
- Victarion and a fucking dragon horn
In a way the show has become a bizarro universe magnified by one butterfly effect on top of another. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
I don’t expect everyone to agree with this, but I think more people would than 3 years ago. I think the inherent premise that GRRM would discuss the ending of his books because he isn’t healthy, he’s old, and he’s overweight is flawed. We’re five seasons into the show, and he looks the same as he did at the first premiere.
Seven blessings upon you.
I saw this on Reddit, and thought it was a good catch.
Click the link above if you want to read a new excerpt from The Winds of Winter. The POV character is Alayne.