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Still, even if he isn't THE Night's King, I highly doubt he's Benjen.

Me too. Top of my list of reasons would be that he doesn't look anything like Benjen!

He's clearly the leader of the White Walkers, and I doubt that when Benjen decided to go on his expedition, the Walkers were like: "Hey, we like you buddy. Want to be our leader?"

On that score, the speculation around Benjen comes from long-standing suspicion about an ancient connection between the White Walkers and the Stark dynasty. Old Nan said to Bran:

Some say he [the Night's King] was a Bolton...some say a Magnar out of Skagos, some say Umber, Flint or Norrey. Some would have you think he was a Woodfoot, from them who ruled Bear Island before the Iron Men came. He never was. He was a Stark, the brother of the man who brought him down...He was a Stark of Winterfell, and who can say? Mayhaps his name was Brandon.

Of course, Old Nan is only teasing with the "Brandon" suggestion, and she wouldn't know that the Night's King was a Stark or even if he ever really existed, but George R. R. Martin is floating an idea out there - whether for mischief, mystery or genuine foreshadowing we've yet to discover.

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I think Martin's characters are very grey in their range of good and evil but behind it all there is clearly (take Melisandre's every other passage of dialogue) a battle of life VS death in purely these mythical terms going on in the world. You can say it is happening every day in Westeros and in this world of Ice and Fire but these primordial powers do manifest themselves in these antithetic powers of life and death, not necessarily good and evil but two opposing forces that battle over the world. One represents endless possibilities, freedom and change while the other seems to represent one-eyed (oh yes I used a Sauron metaphor here) uniform, unchanging existence under single will as all life will cease to exist and becomes suspended on the will of who ever is the opposing force behind the winter. Or that is how I see it.

I can get behind the idea of opposing mythical forces, and if, say, the anti-life force was manifested by some non-sentient process then that wouldn't be inconsistent with what Martin said. But the White Walkers and the Night's King are clearly sentient guys doing their stuff deliberately and intelligently; as such, if their objective is the genuinely eradication or subjugation of all life, then I don't see any meaningful difference from a Dark Lord scenario.

Well we have the Lord of Light and his unnamed nemesis. I mean that even though they have personifications and goals, it does not make them automatically Dark Lord and his good counterpart. I see them as two opposing forces of light and dark, life and death but they can use agents to do their bidding just like the priests and followers of R'hollor or the Others.

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I just saw the battle scene in youtube. It was cool. Sad they killed the hot mom character. Glad the badass giant survived, but I was afraid he was going to freeze in the water.

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On 6/2/2015 at 3:42 PM, Incanus said:

Well we have the Lord of Light and his unnamed nemesis. I mean that even though they have personifications and goals, it does not make them automatically Dark Lord and his good counterpart. I see them as two opposing forces of light and dark, life and death but they can use agents to do their bidding just like the priests and followers of R'hollor or the Others.

 

The opposing force of the Lord of Light would be the Lord of Dark, no? A commitment to death and opposition to life strikes me as a pretty adequate qualification for a supremely powerful entity to be characterised as "Dark Lord" - what attributes would be lacking for that description to be appropriate? I guess that existence is one important attribute which the "Great Other" most likely lacks, just like R'hllor, which would put a slightly different spin on things. The White Walkers (or those among them who claim to follow the Great Other or some such) would be a bunch of zealots committed to the life-extinguishing goals of their imagined deity.

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Well we have the Lord of Light and his unnamed nemesis. I mean that even though they have personifications and goals, it does not make them automatically Dark Lord and his good counterpart. I see them as two opposing forces of light and dark, life and death but they can use agents to do their bidding just like the priests and followers of R'hollor or the Others.

The opposing force of the Lord of Light would be the Lord of Dark, no? A commitment to death and opposition to life strikes me as a pretty adequate qualification for a supremely powerful entity to be characterised as "Dark Lord" - what attributes would be lacking for that description to be appropriate? I guess that existence is one important attribute which the "Great Other" most likely lacks, just like R'hllor, which would put a slightly different spin on things. The White Walkers (or those among them who claim to follow the Great Other or some such) would be a bunch of zealots committed to the life-extinguishing goals of their imagined deity.

Well we do not know how the White Walker's see this Great Other. Similarly as the Red Priests view their lord and in their way personify it (in a very human fashion)? Or perhaps in a different more abstract or straightforward way? These could be the basic elemental forces waging their eternal struggle behind all these petty human (and white walker) concerns but the Great Other seems to be very purposeful, or at least his followers are.

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On 6/2/2015 at 4:43 PM, Incanus said:

Well we do not know how the White Walker's see this Great Other.

 

Oh, certainly. We don't even know if they have such a concept - it's just a facet of the R'hllorist faith, as far as I can remember. We know virtually nothing about what the White Walkers are, or believe, or want, and the notion that they are working towards the eradication of life on Westeros is one which is extrapolated from a small number of events using the standard tropes of fantasy and horror storytelling - the very tropes which Martin has explicitly distanced himself from in the quotes above.

 

Another significant thing (from the books, not depicted in the show as yet) concerning the R'hllor/Great Other conflict, which makes me doubt the clear cut "life vs. death" interpretation:

Spoiler

Melisandre, in one of her visions, identifies Bran and the Three-Eyed Crow as being servants of the Great Other. Similarly, the Three-Eyed Crow entreats Bran to embrace "darkness".

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So, then:

  • Children of the Forest
  • White Walkers
  • R'hllor (as interpreted by Melisandre)
Who is (or ought to be) allied with whom?

Wasn't it so that the Children of the Forest with the First Men stopped the White Walkers the last time they encroached upon the world from the darkest North in millenia past? It was an alliance of necessity certainly but the white walkers seem like a threat to all living, non-human races and humans alike.

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I side with Jaqen H'gar.

The Many Faced God, Death, is the only God. All the rest is fantasy to deny truth, whether you're Melisandre deluding about her good god, or the Walkers somehow resisting their demise through their magic - and maybe by trying to flee the North themselves? In the end, Death will take all the world. All the ambitions and schemes of men and Others will come to nothing in the face of eternity.

Does Martin have the balls for it?

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Wasn't it so that the Children of the Forest with the First Men stopped the White Walkers the last time they encroached upon the world from the darkest North in millenia past? It was an alliance of necessity certainly but the white walkers seem like a threat to all living, non-human races and humans alike.

Yeah, that's how the myth goes. It could be true and relevant to the present circumstances, though Martin makes his views on the reliability of beliefs about things of the past very clear in this Q&A session (from the point where the link begins until aroun 15:40).

https://youtu.be/SCaZWMppfp0?t=741

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Wasn't it so that the Children of the Forest with the First Men stopped the White Walkers the last time they encroached upon the world from the darkest North in millenia past? It was an alliance of necessity certainly but the white walkers seem like a threat to all living, non-human races and humans alike.

Yeah, that's how the myth goes. It could be true and relevant to the present circumstances, though Martin makes his views on the reliability of beliefs about things of the past very clear in this Q&A session (from the point where the link begins until aroun 15:40).

https://youtu.be/SCaZWMppfp0?t=741

Yes it is a very down to earth approach to these myths and legends as they are indeed myths and legends so you can't take them as face value. They might have a kernel of truth or they might be entirely fabricated. As such it also renders a lot of the lore as mere hear say and speculation of the later generations without that all-knowing narrator doing the exposition. Which is fine but gives us very little to go on even when we are 5 books into the story and with 2 books left. I guess big revelations might be before us in the novels and undoubtedly this approach enhances the "reality" of the story and is a good way of creating a sense of legendary past and a lived-in world full of past histories (a very Tolkien-esque technique although taken into a more realistic direction). And certainly in books told from the point of view of characters it is natural these people never gain full understanding of all the events although we as readers have the benefit of their collected knowledge as the story progresses.

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For some reason, the "Game Of Thrones UK" Facebook page has recently updated its cover photo to an image announcing the date "16.06.15". That's the day after Episode 10 is first broadcast here.

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For some reason, the "Game Of Thrones UK" Facebook page has recently updated its cover photo to an image announcing the date "16.06.15". That's the day after Episode 10 is first broadcast here.

Link?

So is that the same dude who the babies were getting brought to? It doesn't quite look like him.

Yep

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comeatmecrow.gif

So is that the same dude who the babies were getting brought to? It doesn't quite look like him.

Obviously his design was pimped!

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I agree with Jason that season 5 wasnt bad. But IMO it was quite a slog to get through. Not only does it have to keep storylines afloat that might become vital later on, but right now arent always that interesting, but I also felt the absense of some interesting characters who were killed off more then before. No more Tywyn, The Hound etc etc.

Season 5 introduces a few new characters, but with the exception of the High Sparrow, they really arent very inserting. Much was made of the Sand Snakes, and they are dull (Its a bad sign when a character is at its most interesting when she's showing her boobs). We've barely seen Oberyn's brother, or Tywyn's

As for old favorites. Jamie and Bron together are always fun, but their storyline feels redundant right now. So does Brienne and Pod's. Tyrion spent most of last season in a cell and much of this one depressed and hating himself. He's joined up with Jorah who isnt exact a barrel of laughs either.

Things have picked up through. I like the fact that Cersei's plans with the High Sparrow have completely backfired. That's actually the brilliance of that character. She's a complete bitch who's getting what she deserves. Yet one can't help but feel for her in some sense.

Tyrion and Deanerys together starts out excellent and I hope it will really spice up that particular storyline.

They threw us a blinder with starting a White Walker attack in episode 8! Now that was fucking awesome! (though one again, the music was a let down).

I can predict that the next two will also be very epic and dramatic and awesome, and then as season 6 beins everything settles down again to the usual drudgery....

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That episode just blew me away, quite fucking happily. I've been patient.

I just watched the Walker vs Jon showdown again and the direction there is remarkably well done. Has this episode's director handled the action material before?

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Get him back!

I disagree with Steef about the scoring in this episode, because I thought it was effective. I noticed the Others motif make a return as the goodies made haste for the boats at the shore, it's a musically basic affair but I always liked it. The chapel of the Many-faced God "theme" is good as well, as far as ambient underscoring goes.

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Btw, the High Sparrow intervention subplot has a big whiff of deus ex machina to me.

Yeah, the book has a more elaborate depiction of both Cersei's machinations (which involve a web of attempted plots, against all sorts of people, spiraling out of control) and the emergence of the Sparrows (who are first encountered far outside King's Landing, in war-torn regions around the Riverlands, where the effects of the civil war have led to an increase in religious fervour). It's the particular methods of Cersei's attempt to frame Margaery which lead to her own arrest. The abridged version onscreen feels somewhat forced.

Yes....but the boobies? Justify the boobies for me Alvar?

It was a special poison from Asshai which is properly activated when the victim's blood pressure reaches a certain level. [/bluff]

I don't know how (or if) the Dorne segment will play out this season, but it might be that the scene was setting up Bronn's acquaintance with the Sand Snakes for a specific reason.

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I assumed she flashed Bronn because increasing his heart rate got the poison to his heart quicker.

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I guess that's what we're supposed to read into it. I'm no expert - it's been years since I last poisoned anybody - but the notion seems a little far-fetched to me, unless we allow that this is a special fantasy-world poison with fantasy-world attributes.

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Meh. So far, the sand snakes have the dullest and most disappointing affair in the season.

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(I'll read your comments after writing this)

What a fantastic episode! Especially the second part-- the battle!

Several great scenes; I loved the one with Tyron & Daenerys.
I Wonder what poor Jorah intends to accomplish, fighting again in the pits.

The battle was great, though some times you could not quite see what was going on.
Splendid design & effects on many of the creatures.

Finally we seem more than a skirmish, and the threat increases.

At the end, I thought the leader was going to froze the water in order to pursue the boats, or that they would all just walk in and under the water.

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