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GoT S7E2 Raven On Recap: Stormborn

Posted Tuesday into Raven On by girlclumsy

I can’t believe it.

I simply can’t believe it.

After all this time, I didn’t even think. I didn’t even realise it could be so easy.

Send a raven north! SUMMON JON SNOW!

All these years I’ve been grappling with how to get the now-King in the North to notice me, and Dany goes and flips off an interview request like it AIN’T NO THANG and lo and behold my beloved is in the saddle and riding ferociously for White Harbour.

If only I had thought to send a raven and SUMMON JON SNOW! sooner he might be in the saddle and riding my White Harbour ferociously.

Mmmmmm.

I’m sorry, I’m sorry, that’s crass. Unladylike. Beneath me (Gods I wish Jon Snow was beneath me).

But people, people! For the first time ever, in this glorious, suspenseful episode, we heard DAENARYS talking about JON and JON talking about DAENARYS. I don’t know about you but I got goosebumps. The prospect of that pair meeting IN THE FLESH next week… oh Gods, I just slipped off my chair.

Of course, there was much more goodness in this episode. Kate Bush turned up! Missandei got her boobs out! Grey Worm got his ? out! Jorah got his scabs lanced! Cersei got a giant f***-off weapon! Old Mate Euron went barkingly bonkingly batshit! Jon beat up Baelish! NYMERIA! HOT F***ING PIE!!!

So without further ado, let’s get cracking on another installment of Raven On, the Game of Thrones recap series that cannot keep whatever it’s got in its pants in its pants.

S7E2: “Stormborn” aka "Choose Life"

I hate to be a f***ing cliche and cite that “two roads diverged in a yellow wood” poem, but this did seem to be an episode about choosing paths, and the relative risks of those choices.

Of course you could argue that picking “the one less travelled by” is probably just as likely to end up in DEATH MURDER BOAT MURDER MORE DEATH MORE BOAT AND PIE as the other, but that poem was written by Robert Frost, and given the context of the icypocalypse heading south, still seems apt.

Dany and Tyrion are plotting a course for victory by rejecting their allies’ counsel. Jon’s making calls on who the North’s allies have to be. Cersei’s having a proper gander at anti-dragon propaganda. Jaime’s convincing Hard Man Randall Tarly to break his oath to House Tyrell. The Hard Man’s elder son disobeys instructions to save his old Commander’s son. The Hard Man’s younger son realises he has to live with the name “Dickon” (snort). And ARYA F***ING STARK IS HEADING HOME.

Let’s address the events that top this episode - Dany’s plan for the invasion of Westeros - so we can tail it with how one of its key elements goes horribly wrong.

It was a dark and stormy night when Daenarys was born on Dragonstone, and so it is again as she calls her competitive LARP team meeting to order.

Dany starts with a some-might-suggest-long-overdue dressing down of Lord Varys for acting against her on the orders of Robert Baratheon back in the day, before cosying up to her as his preferred saviour of Westeros.

There was a nice moment when Dany just cut Tyrion off mid-sentence as he tried to Lanns-plain that Varys had been the one to convince him to believe in Dany like he used to believe in Santa Claus (or Santa Claws, for the Lannisters?).

But Varys stood his ground, telling Dany that his support will always lie with the guttersnipes and bottomfeeders that he himself grew up with. I never thought the Spider’s intentions were 100% pure, but I’m starting to think maybe they simply are. He was left destitute and de-genitaled after all, so maybe his sympathies do indeed lie with the victims, the innocents. After years of trying to pin down his loyalties, it seems Varys really is doing it for the people.

Certainly Dany seems to recognise that. She makes him pinky swear that if he ever thinks she’s “Doing a Dad” and failing the people that he look her in the eye and detonate a truth bomb. Aaaaaaaand if he f***s her over again, she’ll Mortein his spidery ass with dragon breath.

Then 80s chanteuse Kate Bush turns up.

Tell you what, Dany’s not wrong when she says Dragonstone doesn’t feel like home. She goes to meet Melisandre in the throne room, and boy it’s drab. All cold deep blues and greys, so unlike the warm, sensual colours of the East. Honestly, would it kill someone to throw a few citrus-coloured scatter cushions about the place? I guess this is Game of Thrones, so yes, it probably would kill someone, but I feel like Mary Poppins needs to spoonful of sugar the place up.

The Red Woman pays tribute to the Breaker of Chains and in turn is welcomed as part of the Lord of Light’s expeditionary peacekeeping force.

Varys tries it on by suggesting her previous role of lowercase “b” batman to Stannis’ uppercase “B” Batman didn’t turn out so well, but is roundly smacked down by an on-form Dany who reminds him that today happens to be the day they’re handing out pardons for past mistakes in kingly loyalty. BOOM.

Melisandre brings up “The Prince Who Was Promised”, sparking a delicious linguistic discussion about the non-gendered nature of “prince/princess” in High Valyrian which just made me love Missandei more than ever.

Dany quite fancies this new translation, although Melisandre doesn’t want to confirm that Dany herself is this fabled prophetic figure. But she does have a role to play, along with…. oh yes… oh gods yes… Jon Snow. The King in the North.

You could have knocked Tyrion down with a feather as Kate Bush rhapsodised about Jon’s achievements as Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch and King in the North. Yes Tyrion, that moody teenager you met all those years ago is now an EVEN MOODIER grown man with sexual experience and a MAN BUN. He is GLORIOUS and you should all be flocking to his sexy beard and extremely furry cape.

But no, Dany insists on being all Queenly and summoning Jon to Dragonstone on the premise that he will bend the knee. No, Jon, no…. answer my summons instead, and you can bend me over your knee. I promise it’s a much better outcome for everybody and mostly me.

Later, Dany pulls the rest of the recruits into line for a serious D&D session. It’s an impressive turn out: Yara and Theon Greyjoy keen to roll a critical hit against King’s Landing; Ellaria Sand in a mood of prickly revenge; and Olenna Tyrell bringing the cheese.

"No need to burn them all, Blondie. Just ignore them all."

Dany is grateful for her allies’ advice… but decides not to listen to it. She and Tyrion have devised a Plan to surround King’s Landing from all sides rather than go in all dragons blazing. Dany does NOT want to be Queen of the Ashes. She’ll leave that to Elizabeth II after an England/Australia cricket match, thank you very much (sporting reference! Look at me go!)

This requires the Greyjoys to ship the Dornish up the Narrow Sea (I feel the internet has already been shipping such relationships) to apply pressure from the south; while the Tyrell vines squeeze from the west. The armies have to be Westerosi to avoid accusations of a foreign conquering force, you see, a point Cersei is busily making from atop the Iron Throne. But more on her in a moment.

Tyrion does however have a plan for the Unsullied. They will sail ALL THE WAY AROUND WESTEROS to Casterly Rock where they will take the ancient stronghold of House Lannister. I mean, that’s a hell of a long way to go, but I guess Spanish Inquisition-style, nobody will expect it (note to self: replace lazy Monty Python reference with something funnier).

With the plan in motion, it was left to Missandei to bid farewell to Grey Worm, who would head the Unsullied mission to penetrate the Lannister fortress.

So it was only natural that he should penetrate NOPE NOPE NOPE NATALIE DON’T USE THE WORD PENETRATE OH GODS NOW IT’S THE ONLY WORD I CAN THINK OF.

The couple’s little bedroom tete-a-tete was so sweet and pure and wholesome I just feel seedy attempting to make light of it. In fact, everything about that scene felt oddly… voyeuristic, and not in the saucy way. I felt like I was watching something very personal that wasn’t mine to see.

Grey Worm’s description of Missandei as his weakness was gorgeous, and his subsequent explanation of how Unsullied boys were trained to overcome their weaknesses was possibly the most we’ve ever heard him speak in the entire series. Turns out he’s a poet.

Eventually Missandei dropped her winter robes (chillier than Essos but clearly not cold enough for long johns yet), and persuaded Grey Worm to let her see him. There was a whole lot revealed, but some key items concealed, as they got down to business.

I want to make a JRR Tolkien-inspired “Grey Wormtongue” joke here, but again, crass. I’ve given you the components, you can assemble it yourselves.

"Yes, it's me. You're probably wondering how I ended up here."

Meanwhile over in King’s Landing, Darth Cersei is giving a tongue-lashing to a bunch of lords loyal to House Tyrell that she’s trying to lure over to the Dark Side.

In a Goebbels-inspired move, she manipulates the truth about Dany’s activities in Essos to make it sound like the Mother of Dragons is a veritable war criminal. The lords have an important choice to make - break with a centuries-old oath or risk their castles, their lands, their families and their legacy.

Jaime tries to secure Hard Man Randall Tarly’s support by offering him the position of general in the Lannister forces. Tarly, a hard but proud man, is not wholly convinced, but the Kingslayer makes some salient points about Olenna just being after revenge and Cersei needing a new Warden of the Whatever.

Meanwhile, in the cellars of the Red Keep, Qyburn has a present for Cersei. Amidst the giant f*** off skeletal dragon heads lies his prototype secret weapon against Dany’s dragons - a giant f*** off crossbow.

"That's not a crossbow. THIS is a crossbow."

“If they can be wounded, they can be killed,” Qyburn intones ominously, proving once and for all he really is the Upside Down version of Q from the Bond films.

With a twang, Cersei releases the mechanism and the bolt goes straight through the head of Balerion the Dread, Aegon’s own flying lizard. BOOM. It’s a massive development for Cersei, who doesn’t really deserve breaks like this, and it won’t be the last one this episode. Also we need a name for the weapon. Please vote, or add your own suggestion:

*The Really Crossbow
*The Debt Payer
*The Maester Missile
*Tywin’s Revenge
*Their Regards

Over in Old Town, Sam Tarly is being instructed in how to write histories by Archmaester Jim Broadbent, who insists he read examples from the Citadel’s library.

There’s a cute little in-joke there about the Archmaester’s own book about “The Wars Following the Death of King Robert I”. Sam suggests something more poetic, a reference to the book title, “The War of Five Kings”. Har har, take a bow, nicely done all.

Something far less nice is Ser Jorah’s scaly torso, which we see unshirted for the first time ever this series. Well done, Ser Jorah, if it wasn’t for that hideous infectious disease you’d look pretty great for someone who didn’t have Jon Snow’s abs.

Archmaester Broadbent is adamant that Ser Jorah’s condition is too far gone and untreatable. He gives him a day to “take care of things” (ie, send a teary letter to Dany then off himself) but Sam is not willing to give up without a fight. Sam served under Jorah’s father, Jeor Mormont, at Castle Black, and he wants to return the kindness the Old Bear showed him.

“You’re not dying today,” he tells Jorah, before shoving a flagon of rum down his gullet and making him bite down on a stick. Sam then performs some fairly confronting skin removal, to the soft accompaniment of Jorah’s muffled screams of pain.

So soothing.

It’s less pain and more pane (the bread, not the sheet of glass, it’s a sophisticated Italian joke) over at Hot Pie’s Fine Dining Establishment and Stables.

A resplendent Hot Pie is surprised and happy to see the girl he knew as ‘Arry, even if she is somewhat deadpan (deadpane? No, it didn’t work, move along Natalie) about it. He proceeds to feed her with both delicious foodstuffs and important exposition, including the key information that WINTERFELL IS BACK IN STARK HANDS.

As ‘Arry, sorry, Arya, leaves the bistro, we see her contemplate her original plan to continue on to King’s Landing… before nudging her horse to the right and heading north.

BABY BIRD’S GOING HOME.

And then, if that wasn’t enough, she stops to rest in a patch of snowy forest somewhere, only to see her horse spooked by rustlings in the bushes. I once spooked someone by rustling in the bushes, but I stopped when they got scared and also when they filed a restraining order against me.

Slowly, Arya finds herself surrounded by wolves, brandishing her sword. Ye Gods, it’s finally happened - she’s become Liam F***ing Neeson. She does have a very particular set of skills, after all.

Then, the great direwolf appears - Nymeria! Last seen waaaaay back in Season 1, Episode 2 (yes, that far back), Arya had pushed away her direwolf to save her from a Lannister knife. There seems to be a moment of recognition, and Arya begs her old friend to come back with her to Winterfell.

"Come with me... we can brutally murder people together."

But the great beast turns away, all her wolfy minions following suit.

“That's not you,” Arya says mysteriously. But yes, it was! It must be! We need this reconciliation, it’s the perfect time for it! While one wolf survives, no sheep is safe, Arya said it herself when she killed all the motherf***ing Freys last week! Come back, Nymeria! Pity Arya didn’t have any Schmackos in her pocket.

UPDATE: It's now been pointed out to me via numerous sources that Arya's "that's not you" quote referenced her acknowledgement that Nymeria is wild and untamable, just like her, and was a callback to when she told Ned Stark in Season 1 that she was not destined to be a lady. It makes perfect sense and I am very jealous of all the recappers and obsessives who have the time to work that stuff out.

Still, Arya was super close to reuniting with her puppy, and I’m sure it will happen in some form. It seems only fitting to encourage her onwards a la the Pet Shop Boys:

Go North!
It’s not peaceful there
Go North!
There is frigid air
Go North!
But you can start anew
Go North!
See your sister too
Go North!
You might find your dog
Go North!
Baelish will monologue
Go North!
Please stab him in the face
Go North!
Make your home a better place

So let’s head back to Winterfell, which I’ve shamefully neglected until later in the recap in the hope it leads into a suitable concluding loop-back. Oh Gods, I hope you’re still reading, this is long one.

Jon receives Dany’s letter at Winterfell, and while little kiddies practise their archery, discusses its meaning with Sansa and Ser Davos.

My beloved is sure Tyrion is the author; he references that great “dwarves are bastards in their father’s eyes line” he used on J-Snow when they first met. Sansa agrees it’s him, but she and Davos say it’s too dangerous for Jon to go to Dragonstone to meet this Targaryen Queen.

Jon, though, has other motivations. To the assembled court, he reads out Sam Tarly’s raven outlining the large cache of dragonglass buried on Dragonstone. He says they need that stuff to beat the White Walkers - once again, it’s the only end goal he has in sight. Jon stays his path; not even the combined pleas of Lord Royce, Lord Glover and Lady Lyanna Mormont (“The King belongs in the north!”) can change his mind. Sansa half-pleads, half-lectures him about the risk he’s taking - that it could be the same trick the Mad King sprang on Ned Stark’s father and brother all those years ago.

"It's a trap!"

Jon is concerned. Jon is ALWAYS concerned. He hurts so much deep inside it hurts me to admit it really does things to me. But ultimately Jon is unmoved.

I tell you what does move him though, and that’s an appearance by the creep-tacular Petyr Baelish. There Jon is, quietly paying his respects to his father (nope, apparently) in the Winterfell crypts, when Littlefinger sidles up and starts talking shit about how Catelyn didn’t like him, but here he was, the last hope against the oncoming storm, oh and by the way I love Sansa like I loved her mother, and BOOM--

---Jon shoves him against a wall and I think my ovaries exploded.

“Touch my sister and I’ll kill you myself,” he glowers at the rat bastard pinned against the crypt wall. FINISH HIM OFF NOW JON, I’M ALREADY SUPER TURNED-ON.

But he doesn’t, because he’s a good man, I guess? Who knows. He’s got places to be, I suppose.

Find somebody who looks at your enemies the way Jon Snow looks at Littefinger.

Jon leaves the crypts and saddles his horse (to be that horse etc), ready to make for Dragonstone. He turns and waves a sombre farewell to Sansa, who returns the gesture. It’s a sad vignette, but not hopeless. I don’t think Sansa intends to fire up the Northern lords against Jon while he’s gone. He did trust her with command in his absence, after all. I remain confident Jon can do his business quickly and return to a positive relationship with Sansa. And shut up if you want to spoil that for me.

Meanwhile can Sansa look forward to another family reunion next week, with Arya coming back? Will Arya regret her choice to return, if her favourite sibling Jon isn't there?

Finally, let’s all aboard the Greyjoy fleet, complete with Sand Snakes and a very flirty Yara.

She and Ellaria enjoy some Dornish wine and corny sexual tension, mocking Theon as they go. “Protect her from the foreign invasion!” laughs Ellaria, as she goes in for what can only be described as an “anchors a-WA-HAY!"

But it’s float-us interruptus for the adventurous pair, as the Greyjoy fleet comes under sudden and fiery attack. It’s like the Armada circa 1588, except the Spanish are winning.

On deck, Yara and Theon look up to see a giant ship loom over theirs, before plowing into it. A drawbridge descends, and out from the darkness, from over their heads, he comes: The Flying Crotchman.

"It's enormous."

It’s Old Mate Euron and his supercharged fleet of Iron Islanders. Honestly, I cannot even calculate that there are this many Ironborn in existence - the whole kingdom looks like it has a population only marginally bigger than Bear Island. Still, they quickly wreak havoc in a bloody immersive sea-born battle sequence.

Yara has the heart and stomach of a king, but unfortunately she has the body of a weak and feeble woman - at least compared to Old Mate Euron. She puts up a valiant effort against a bunch of salty seadogs and her Unky, but he appears to have snorted a barrel full of anabolic steroids and cocaine before launching his surprise attack.

The guy is a ferocious and insane fighter, that’s for sure. He wields an axe like I wield a karaoke microphone - boldly, without mercy and probably to a bitching 80s soundtrack.

Some of the Sand Snakes, who were gossiping below decks, emerge to help the fight and protect Ellaria Sand. But Obara and Tyene (I think) are murdered, with Tyene suffering a brutal Wolf Creek-style spinal cord adjustment.

Ellaria is captured, as is Yara. No doubt these are the “gifts” Old Mate intends to bribe Cersei with in exchange for a walk down the aisle. Should make for an interesting trip back to King’s Landing next week.

However, in one of the saddest moments possibly ever in this series, we see Theon abandon Yara to her fate. Euron has her tightly in his grip, urging Theon to help her, tears are rolling down Yara’s face, the skies are exploding above them, but all of a sudden Theon disappears and Reek returns in his place - cowardly, snivelling, scared. And Reek chooses to survive.

He jumps overboard, plunges into the water, grabs a piece of driftwood to cling to and re-enacts his own version of the ending of Titanic. Except he totally let go. Sorry Yara.

That's the problem with plans. They don't survive contact with the enemy, and Old Mate Euron is clearly this season's chaotic enemy.

And with Dany and Tyrion's best laid plans ganged agley, big time, it seems like the Mother of Dragons might not be in the best bargaining position against Jon Snow next week...

Yay! Best Moments

Again, so many, but I’d have to say I adored that little chat Olenna Tyrell had with Dany. For someone who never had a mother figure, it must have been refreshing to hear the Queen of Thorns lay the smack down on all the jumped up jerks, knobs and fools she’s outlived over the years. Her wise words are ignore all the men, don’t be a sheep, and instead BE A DRAGON.

Can I get that on a t-shirt?

Zing! Best Lines

Hot Pie: The secret is to brown the butter before making the dough. Most people don’t do that. Arya: I didn’t do that. Hot Pie: You’ve been making pies? Arya: One or two.

Ew, gross

I’ve had scabs in my time, but wow, Ser Jorah really is Crust Central. I felt like the director and cinematographer took particular pleasure in close-up shots of Sam’s surgical excisions, with raw infected flesh and pus right up in our faces. The inevitable scene change juxtaposition with a pie in Hot Pie’s pub was enough to put everyone off their dinner.

Boo...sucks

I guess it’s kind of sad that several Sand Snakes were turned into extremely realistic figureheads for Euron’s fleet. Their limp bodies really put the “flag” into “flagship”.

ALSO THERE WAS NO TORMIENNE. WHAT THE HELL, HBO.

.....Phew, this was a long one. Thanks for sticking with me, Beloveds! I also want to give a massive shout out to all the amazing Patreon subscribers who've jumped onboard this groove train. In particular, holla to Kamal A, Val B, Paul D, Kerrie and Fraser B. You are all as sexy as the fur on Jon Snow's cape. If you want to subscribe, click here! And I'll see you next week.

8 Responses to ‘GoT S7E2 Raven On Recap: Stormborn’

Bondiboy66 ducks in to say...

Posted Tuesday
LIKE


Sorry - not very wordy as I have just spoilerised my self and have yet to see the episode...

girlclumsy puts forth...

Posted Tuesday
Oh no! Sorry to spoil. Enjoy the ep!

Bondiboy66 ducks in to say...

Posted Wednesday
S'cool! It was self inflicted - besides I just HAD to know what happened! And of course had to read your peerless update.

Respond to this thread

Rhino would have you know...

Posted Tuesday
How is it that a virgin eunuch is such a cunning linguist?

Yeah, I said it.

Doesn't make it any less true.

Do you have any idea how much floundering around most men not named Rhino have to do in order to be good at that?

girlclumsy has opinions thus...

Posted Tuesday
Not all heroes wear capes, Rhino.

Respond to this thread

DarrenBloomfield swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted Tuesday
A freind just made a very fine observation - the Hot Pie / Arya reunion. I loved it for the "I've made one or two" quip alone. But my friend nailed it when she said : "Also how interesting was Arya in the scene with Hot Pie – she was the spitting image of the Hound in speech and mannerisms."

I rewatched it. She was totally channelling her old 'travelling companion'

Respond to this comment

girlclumsy ducks in to say...

Posted Tuesday
HOLY SHIT YOUR FRIEND IS SO RIGHT. I think that warrants a bit of thought and bonus commentary later in the week. Or on the podcast tonight, even! Thanks! :)

Respond to this comment

she_jedi puts forth...

Posted Tuesday
That was definitely the most exciting Greyjoy story line I've seen, although it did not stop me from screaming at the television along the lines of "DON'T YOU F**ING DARE THEON!! YOU GET BACK ON THAT SHIP AND SAVE YOUR GODDAMNED SISTER YOU SNIVELLING COWARD!"

A colleague at work has argued it's all part of a "cunning plan" to summon reinforcements and rescue Yara at a later date, and if he'd gone charging in to save her they'd have both ended up dead. We live in hope.


But Arya and Hot Pie was simply the best. It almost made up for zero Tormienne this episode Seriously HBO lift your game!

Respond to this comment

Respond to 'GoT S7E2 Raven On Recap: Stormborn'

GoT S7 E1 Raven On Recap: Dragonstone

Posted July 18 into Raven On by girlclumsy

HOLY F**K YES ARYA F***ING STARK!

You beautiful thing. You beautiful, deadly thing. You’re like a snake. No, better than a snake. You’re like a cunning honey badger. You don’t give a shit. Except unlike the internet honey badgers, you hate MRAs. Oh you HATE THEM. And the Freys are MRAs, make no mistake. They would happily subdue your rights as an independent avenging assassin just trying to make her way in the world. They are exactly the kind of man-babies that would cry over a woman Doctor Who. SO YOU KILL ALL THOSE MR-FREYS and YOU KILL THEM GOOD.

Oh gods, I’m drooling.

When the first person to appear on my screen in Season Seven Game of Thrones was Walder f***ing Frey, I almost tipped over my Pepsi Max. My thought process over the next three seconds ran thus:

“What the HELL is going on, Arya just slit his THROAT, that piece of crap is DEAD, oh SHIT that’s ARYA, in Faceless Man mode, OHHHHH THEY ARE ALL GOING TO DIE.”

I have never been so happy.

Don’t worry, Jon Snow appeared not long after and I got happier, but OH ARYA BABY BIRD YOU GOTTA FLY.

Throw away the Dornish goon! Pour out the Arbour Penfolds! Everybody toast! Everybody drink! (Except you, innocent servant girl) Everybody choke! Everybody collapse! As the aforementioned Doctor might exclaim if s/he was feeling particularly persnickety - EVERYBODY DIES!

The North Remembers.... to murder!

And with that, welcome to another series of Raven On, the recaps that aren’t so much measured, analytical critiques of Game of Thrones, as emotional dry-humping on a feverish level.

The credit sequence had barely started and I already felt like I needed a post-coital cigarette. Was it good for you too, beloved readers? Not so much la petite mort as LE GRANDE MORT several times over with a sensual massage afterwards.

I’m so happy our show is back. I’m so happy that my recaps are back. I hope you’re happy too, bizarre sexual fetishes aside. I couldn’t do this without you. You are the yin to my yang. The Sonny to my Cher. The Titanic to my iceberg. Let’s sink together and never let go.

Season 7, Episode 1: “Dragonstone” or “HASHTAG GIRL BOSS”.

Yes, there’s definitely a lot of ladies making their presence known and respected in this fantastic opening episode. It’s not a perfect all-encompassing theme, but what the hell, let’s start as we mean to proceed.

Can we take a moment first and appreciate the MOTHERF***ING GIANT ZOMBIE WIGHTS, trudging south along with the rest of the dreary foot soldiers in the White Walker’s frosty army? Now we know what happened to the valiant Stampy’s brothers and sisters… reanimated to become Soldiers of Chilly Doom. On the day we lost zombie maestro George Romero, it feels fitting to have this latest incarnation of that particular body horror placed front and centre in our minds.

Next let’s just get this out of the way: Bran’s back at Castle Black. Meera looked exhausted, Bran freaked out Dolorous Edd with some clever mentalism, they let them in, here’s hoping there’s a plot development next week. Done.

Now down to Winterfell, where there is much more hot Jon Snow action. The King in the North (oh, I go weak at the knees just writing that) is holding court in what appears to be the same gathering of lords that acclaimed him at the end of last season. I mean, it can’t be, given that events seemed to have moved on by two weeks and Brienne is now in attendance, but they’re certainly all dressed the same and seated in the same position. I guess if I could only have Jon Snow in one position, I’d still take it.

Anyway, Jon and Sansa, the SUPERIOR STARK SIBLINGS, are there, and they’re together, and it’s perfect, and I can’t get enough of it. Jon talks about the need to create a dragon glass inventory, and to train everybody between the ages of 10 and 60 in how to handle his weapon. I mean weapons, in general.

Yes, it’s true - my beloved is an equal opportunist. I’M SO PROUD. He saw Ygritte fight, he knows women are not delicate beings who couldn’t possibly swing a sword or pilot a TARDIS. Sure, it’s a numbers game more than anything, but that doesn’t stop me wanting to really Germaine Jon’s Greers.

Captain Darling, sorry, Lord Glover, attempts some ovary-shaming but cops a well-deserved spray from our Hero of Heroes, Lyanna Mormont.

“I don’t plan on knitting by the fire while men fight for me… and I don’t need your permission to defend the North.”

Bitch, please.

Forget your anti-capitalist-Wall-Street-bull-statues, here’s your real Fierce Girl. NO MAN will tell the Little Bear not to fight, and by the gods if we don’t get a Rocky-style training Mor-montage I am going to write to my MP. I am not a crackpot.

Jon then requests Tormund and the wildlings take the job of manning the towers along The Wall. Now, Jon, my love - you cannot be serious in sending Tormund Giantsbane to The Wall for this whole series? What about a little thing called “Tormienne”? You must care about this romance Jon. Tormund is never going to convince Brienne to ride his great free folk into the wild blue yonder if he’s hundreds of miles away in creaky old Eastwatch-by-the-Sea.

But somebody has to go because that’s the direction the White Walkers will come from, and that’s where the trouble starts.

Jon, in the blue corner, wants to forgive the traitorous houses and bring them back under the Stark banner. In the red corner, Sansa has a little Sansplaining to do about loyalty and reward, betrayal and punishment. It got awkward, even for Brienne.

"I would rather be fighting a bear right now."

Thing is, my girl Sansa has a POINT. The Karstarks and Umbers were vicious backstabbing pricks whose mouths were writing cheques BOO HISS RAMSAY BOLTON couldn’t cash. Good riddance, and a pox on both their houses.

Except Jon is right. Jon is always right. Sigh.

When he calls forth the heirs to House Umber and Karstark, they turn out to be SWEET LITTLE BABIES. There’s no point in punishing these children for the poor decisions of their fathers. The White Walkers won’t care they’re douche-spawn. The North cannot be divided by internal ructions that might grow in resentful kiddie minds. Much better to secure their loyalty now, while they’re young. But in an inspiring way, not a grooming way, don’t be gross.

Later, we see that Jon is not happy about being Sansplained to. “I’m the King now, don’t undermine me!” he says - and it’s got to be said - in a slightly whiny way. YES. YOU READ THAT. I JUST MILDLY CRITICISED JON SNOW. I am a grown woman and I can recognise when my beloved is being a tad bratty. I would offer to spank that out of him, but it turns out Sansa is way ahead of me. In an assertive way, not a Lannister way, don’t be gross.

Sansa almost compared Jon to Joffrey and he was so sad at even the idea
of that but then she took it back but LOOK AT THAT FACE. #broodygoals

She tells him that she loves and missed Ned and Robb but by jeez, by jingo, by crikey they were thicker than my thighs in lycra, and that’s not going to cut it against Cersei. Jon has to make like 90s pop star Des’ree: he’s gotta be bad, gotta be bold, gotta be wiser. Yes, he’s gotta be hard, he’s gotta be tough, he’s gotta be stronger. You could even say he’s gotta be cool, he’s gotta be calm, he’s gotta stay together (If I’ve done my job you’re now singing the end bit).

When Jon asks if he’s supposed to be smarter by listening to his sister, her answer is “Would that be so terrible?”

YES, SANSA, YES. PUNCH THE SKY. YOU ARE MY REIGNING RESOLUTE RANGA.

Jon gets a raven from Darth Cersei, demanding he go to the capital and bend the knee or suffer a traitor’s death. Jon’s jam is the Night King (I always thought it was Night’s?), but Sansa cautions him about his enemy to the south, someone she grudgingly seems to respect.

This is what I want - two siblings, both clever, both brave, both determined, supporting but challenging each other. Jon is used to fighting alone for everything, and always facing a battle in trying to convince people a maelstrom of frosty badness is heading their way. Now he’s got his chance to lead without question, but that’s exactly what Sansa needs to do. Question him. She may not be right, but it’s important he hear reasoned, experienced voices, and hers is more valid than most. She’s lived in the South, she knows Cersei, and she’s a survivor. She knows their war on the wicked winds of winter will be worthless if their army is whipped on another front, so damnit Jon, you listen to her or I’ll have to punish you. Oh please the Gods let me punish you.

I don’t know about you, but I got my second awwww-gasm of the episode with some casual Tormienne action in the Winterfell yard. Tormund casually mosied up to Brienne as she trained Pod, causing her to become slightly distracted. When Pod got a hit in, Brienne turned around and beat him the ground, prompting Tormund to exclaim “You are a lucky man.” BOOM.

"You know I have all my own teeth. And I get can get you more, if you want."

There was also a moment with Littlefinger trying his usual sleaze on Sansa. “Oh, sweetie, you’re not happy, you should smile more, oh pretty baby, how can Uncle Petyr make things better?” OH F*** OFF BAELISH YOU UNEARTHLY CREEP. Brienne shares our attitude, but Sansa is pragmatic. While Littlefinger controls the Knights of the Vale, she has to put up with his leering and negging. Thank heavens Sansa appears to have already read “The Game”, so she was able to shut him down before his clever final remark, which probably would have been a backhanded compliment or a magic trick.

Let’s turn now to King’s Landing, Darth Cersei, and the GIANT WAR ROOM FLOOR MAP.

Can I say how much I enjoyed the fact that the GIANT WAR ROOM FLOOR MAP was being finished as Jaime turned up? Normally those things just *exist* in movies and TV shows, you never see them being created. Picture it now, Cersei on some interminably dull home renovation show, demanding new bathroom fittings for the Red Keep, a cheeky timber deck, and an extra-detailed GIANT WAR ROOM FLOOR MAP on pain of death?

Breaking News: Cersei drinks wine.

Cersei seems more confident than we’ve seen her in a while, but then I suppose blowing up all your capital city-based enemies is bound to be a better motivator than the cheesiest of Anthony Robbins self-help tapes. She’s cognisant of their many broader enemies (hooray for Olenna Tyrell that “old c***” traitor!), and reserves her deepest hate for their brother Tyrion, now at the right hand side of Daenarys Targaryen.

Jaime is more circumspect. He’s not angry at his big sis’, but he is concerned that her judgement is clouding, and she’s not seeing the very real dangers faced by her Seven, sorry Three, Kingdoms. Cersei’s gone into full emotional shutdown, even blaming Tommen for his own death. When Jaime Lannister is the 1990s-style Sensitive New Age Guy, you know you’re in trouble.

But Cersei has a Plan to conquer recalcitrant, independent types in Dorne, the Reach, the North and on Dragonstone. She’s invited Old Mate Euron to court.

Euron, as we remember, was last seen telling his followers to chop down all five trees on the Iron Islands and build him a thousand ships. The Salties seem to have come through, complete with fancy calamari duco on the prows. Quite a feat for a broke-ass shitpile of a kingdom.

In all black with a tight leather jacket open to show off his chest, Old Mate Euron is dressed like the ultimate self-confident mouth Jeff Goldblum in Jurassic Park. Whisk off the ostentatious moustache and add some thick-rimmed specs and you’ve got Dr Malcolm in the middle of the Throne Room.

Like Sam Neill in Jurassic Park, Jaime is cynical of Old Mate Euron’s ability and trustworthiness, but the Ironborn just proposes to Cersei and sasses back about having two working hands. Dr Malcolm flirted with his hands - remember the chaos theory demonstration with Laura Dern? I swear this analogy has got legs.

Cersei rejects Euron’s offer of marriage and wow how could you when it was just so appealing.

"I'm always on the lookout for the next ex-Mrs Euron."

But Euron’s not going take no for an answer. He’s got a lot of love (cock) to give, so he’s going to go find a fancy-schmancy engagement present and then Cersei will surely forget everything she just said and jump his salty bones. BECAUSE LIFE FINDS A WAY.

The Hound faces an inconvenient truth, and not in the form of the severe climate change currently wending its way south. The Brotherhood Without Banners turns up at a cabin he once stayed in with Arya, before beating up the farmer who owned it and stealing all their valuables.

That clearly ended well for the farmer, who appears to have stabbed his daughter then himself rather than let them die of starvation. This makes Sandor Clegane feel emotions he’s not used to, such as… regret, and is that… sadness?

He’s helped along by Ser Beric Dondarrion and Thoros of Myr, who tell him while they have no idea what they’re meant to do, the Lord of Light knows they’re meant to do something. The Hound then sees a vision in the flames, particularly impressive given his natural reticence to fire. It’s The Wall, and shambling dead zombie bastards, and there’s thousands of them… and oh shit, he’d better bury those nice farmers to make amends for his previously shitty behaviour.

You know the one gourmet dish I cook is a chicken recipe where I cover the pieces in heated brandy then set fire to the whole bally lot of them. I’ve never seen anything in the flames except for some scorch marks on the splashback. Denied.

And now for something completely different. Sam Tarly’s new song!

When you're alone, and life is making you lonely
You know you are there
OLD TOWN
When you are cleaning, in ways so demeaning
Like a chump you’re in
OLD TOWN
Just look around and see the Citadel is really gritty
Linger in the washroom scrubbing chamber pots so shitty
How can you win?
You should steal some Maester’s keys
You can sneak into the library, steal all that you please
So go
OLD TOWN
Get some good books in that
OLD TOWN
Try to help Jon from that
OLD TOWN
Gilly is waiting for you


That repeated montage (mon-Tarl-age? Yeah, ok, that’s a stretch) of Sam doing his entry-level Maester training was really cleverly done. Good bit of filmmaking that, well done team.

But hey, am I going blind or was that JIM BROADBENT as Sam’s friendly autopsy instructor? I loved the way he describe the corpse’s cause of death: a triumph of transitory pleasures. Oh man, I could do with some transitory pleasures. I’m such a nerd I don’t even drink properly. How can I possibly hit on that Game of Thrones trivia host who was dressed as Jon Snow without at least a chardy under my belt? Erm… did I write that out loud?

The point is, Sam doesn’t think anyone will believe him when he talks about the White Walkers. But the Post-Mortem Maester reminds him that the people of the Citadel are different. He also makes the valid point that every winter that has ever come has also gone. The prospect of helping end winter faster emboldens Sam to take the risk and break his way into the restricted section of the library and AMAZINGLY find the right kind of books straight away.

Later, Gilly helps him comb through the weighty tomes even though he probably needs his rest after shovelling diseased ordure all day (I hope he at least washed his hands before opening those books or playing with wee baby Sam).

If only one of those books included a description of "coffee".

He miraculously happens upon a very important piece of information, which is that Dragonstone is home to a shitload of shiny dragon glass, just buried and waiting for an incredibly handsome and noble King in the North to go there and dig it out with his strong, powerful hands that would give such good neck rubs if only I could convince him I exist.

“Jon must know!” Sam declares, before heading back to work.

Did anybody else FLIP THE F*** out when that stony arm came bursting through the isolation cell window? I KNEW Ser Jorah would wind up in Old Town! “Has she come yet, the Dragon Queen?” he asks hoarsely (does greyscale affect the vocal chords?) “Errr… no?” Sam replies, moving hurriedly on. For Gods’ sake Sam, stop and have a chat. I know he’s a diseased and intense old bugger, but he could HELP YOU.

Which brings us to the final sequence of this episode: Daenarys returning to Dragonstone.

The mise-en-scene was suitably grand and imposing for the prodigal daughter. Dany stopped on the beach to touch the sand of her home island. Like all other sand, it was wet and gritty. So she moved on, Tyrion, Missandei and Grey Worm at her side, up the long windy parapets to the castle.

HERE BE DRAGONS

Kudos to Dany for not even breaking a sweat despite those thick winter robes; if that were me I would have been panting “Show me...the throne room...what’s this Baratheon… banner…. Sorry does anyone have any water?”

Finally, she and Tyrion enter what was once Aegon’s RPG conquering table, but more recently was Stannis and Melisandre’s nookie desk. Placing herself at the head of the table, she glances at Tyrion and simply states “Shall we begin?”

GIRL HAS COME HOME. THIS IS HER HOUSE. HER RULES NOW, BITCHAZ.

It was a grand finale, although I have to admit that for me it didn’t quite match the visceral exuberance of Arya’s opening number. But then, what could?

Yay! Best Moments

Clearly Arya takes this one by a large bottle of the finest pinot gris. Also, I should mention that sweet little dinner break scene she shared with a gaggle of Lannister soldiers, including Ed Sheeran (as you do). Far from beating her, taking her sword or worse, they offer her food, drink and company, and basically turn out to be nice, everyday chaps just doing their bit to keep the peace. When Arya tells them she’s off to King’s Landing to kill the Queen, you just knew the tension would be broken by disbelieving laughter. Oh, you sweet summer children.

Zing! Best Lines

I have to give this to the Hound for his stinging rebuke on Thoros of Myr. “You’re not fooling anyone with that top knot, you bald c***”. Top knots, man buns, it’s a hipster hair haven here in Westeros.

Ew, gross

That Citadel is a turd-world facility.

Boo sucks

There’s… there’s not going to be any nudity at all this season, is there?

Thank you so much for reading, Beloved Throners, I know it’s been an epic long one. A special thanks to all my Patreon subscribers, particularly Vicki R, Mark B, Elle W, Paul K and Ghalia N. You are sexier than Tormund in bear fur. If you want to jump onboard the Patreon love train, head over here and pledge!

16 Responses to ‘GoT S7 E1 Raven On Recap: Dragonstone’

TheWah asserts...

Posted July 18
An undead Stampy? A ... Stampire?

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girlclumsy mumbles...

Posted July 18
TAKE A BOW.

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Rhino has opinions thus...

Posted July 18
I, for one, celebrate the return of our recap overlord, the Mother of Kittens.

Bondiboy66 swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 18
I shall join with you in toasting her return! Just not with any of that Arbor crap the Freys get served.

girlclumsy would have you know...

Posted July 18
Goon for all!

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Barnesm ducks in to say...

Posted July 18
Its not Game of Thrones without your recaps. I have to politely disagree with you on one thing its the best line. thanks to the hound I now have a new reply when people at work asking me why I am always so grumpy.

"Why are you always in such a foul mood?"

"experience"

TheWah mutters...

Posted July 18
So many zingers in this episode.

girlclumsy mumbles...

Posted July 18
Pretty much everything The Hound said was gold.

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Barnesm puts forth...

Posted July 18
Although Sansa's 'No need to seize the last work Lord Baelish, I will assume it was something clever" is up there as well.

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Jeats mutters...

Posted July 18
No nudity....

Well - Winter has come after all.

:)

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girlclumsy ducks in to say...

Posted July 18
I realised there WAS actually a bit of nudity .... but it was just the cut-open corpse on the Post-Mortem Maester's table. And let's just say rigor mortis had well and truly passed.

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spankee mumbles...

Posted July 18
Arya was disguised as Fauxlder Frey.

I SAID, SHE WAS DISGUISED AS FAUXLDER FREY.

I'll get my coat.

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jl asserts...

Posted July 18
Love these recaps!

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Paul_Nicholas_Boylan mutters...

Posted July 18
I watched the opening scene five times in a row.

You gotta give Littlefinger some respect, Nat. he is going to end up winning this Great Game.

Barnesm puts forth...

Posted July 18
No need to seize the last work Lord Boylan, I will assume it was something clever.

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Sparty reckons...

Posted July 18
Awesome, "Oldtown" was worth the price of admission alone (which I haven't paid Patreon the Iron Price yet but will ;-) .

Not quite in the same league but also fun, new Gay of Thrones recap on Funny or Die.

"........even Game of Thrones had a montage"

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The quiet catastrophe

Posted July 17 into Writing by John Birmingham

Wrote a piece for my brother's site about disruption and the publishing industry:

My first year as a working writer I made a hundred and thirty-five dollars and ate a lot of generic poverty noodles. My second, a bumper year, I broke two hundred. It was encouraging, but not enough to upgrade to those fancy Maggi noodles the big, prize-winning authors get. After a decade of freelancing, though, I’d made it. I could mostly pay my rent and buy any damn noodles I wanted, as long as I was happy to sleep under a pile of old hessian bags on a brown couch in a share house. I didn’t go into writing expecting to make money and it turned that my expectations were entirely realistic. Starving artist KPIs? Nailed ‘em.

And then I wrote a book about living on brown couches in share houses—He Died With A Felafel In His Hand—and all of that changed, at least for a while.

The nineties and noughties were a golden age in publishing. Books, newspapers, magazines, they all made the sort of money that paid for long lunches which turned into late dinners with open tables and murderous bar bills, settled with somebody-else’s corporate Amex in the first light of dawn the next day.

And then… it was over. Not for me, not straight away, but both industries in which I worked—publishing and media—were disrupted with extreme prejudice. The Great Recession starting in 2008 accelerated a structural collapse which had been underway since Mosaic rendered its first webpage nearly fifteen years earlier. The sorrows of media have all been well traversed; the closing of venerable mastheads, the hundreds of thousands of laid-off journalists, the indignities of clickbait, the desperate raising of paywalls, the erosion of standards, the triumph of advertising over editorial, the shit-eating grins of the surviving management cadre as they tried to pretend everything was still totally golden.

But publishing was ok, right? Bookshelves are still full. Stephen King and J.K. Rowling could still fund their own small war in the Middle East if they wanted. And after a decade of chaos and collapse, independent bookstores are even coming back. What’s up with that?

Did the book industry pivot?

Did big publishers get smart?

Can we for God’s sake please get back to the business of long, bacchanalian lunches again?

No, no and not just no, but hell no.

The rest is here.

8 Responses to ‘The quiet catastrophe’

jl would have you know...

Posted July 17
I read this with great interest. My fingers itch with the thought of sending another book into the howling internet wasteland, to be judged by readers in random, isolated locations worldwide.

It's a bit like what many of our ancestors did when they stepped onto ships headed somewhere else. They didn't know what would happen when they got to their destination, but they did know it would be something new. And they would have to adapt or starve.

The frontier of our time is digital, and it looks like the big publishers have received a tomahawk to the face.

Quokka ducks in to say...

Posted July 21
yes it must have been shocking when they got here & 40% of the indigenous population promptly sickened & died with smallpox.
A friend told me that her child just learned in high school that the English insist it wasn't them that brought the smallpox - it was the French.
I thought better of Catholic ed up until that point but rinse lather repeat seems to be the order of the day.

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NBlob asserts...

Posted July 17
Show noodles. Mmmm.

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Jeats has opinions thus...

Posted July 18
More posts in CBG please John. This site has gone fairly dark recently.

NBlob would have you know...

Posted July 20
Jeats Birmo has many demands on his time. If you need a fix subscribe to the Alien Side Boob. It elevates spittle flecked ranting to an art form that reminds me of Henry Moore the flowing forms, the mass with grace and the Fkn great big rocks.

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damian mutters...

Posted July 18
Very interesting. Indeed the last paragraphs suggests there isn't just hope, but real concrete hope for new writers too. You mentioned the other week that a certain organisation had burned you pretty badly, but didn't really go into the details. What you're saying here suggests that the right place to start for someone still silly enough to try non-genre fiction is still writers groups and local agents taking on such things. I guess I'm not clear where the leap into the self-publishing unknown would begin... Doesn't one need some external validation that the product is reasonable? Not in question for a successful juggerauthor, or course. But the starting question remains.

John Birmingham mutters...

Posted July 18
Yeah, I dunno that I'd want to try self publishing literary fiction. It doesn't sell when trade published, unless they pour buckets of money into promotion. It probably wouldn't sell with indie either.

damian mutters...

Posted Saturday
Yes, it's one of those branch points where several subsequent steps are different depending on the path taken. It seems like local agents are still most interested in non-fiction and Australian literary fiction, while genre is supported better overseas (the location depending slightly on the genre). There doesn't seem to be a specialist entry point for Australian crime fiction, or sf or urban fantasy. I could just be looking in the wrong places of course. And obviously the making-up-my-mind-and-trying-something bit is probably the more important bit at this stage.

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Game of Thrones S7: The Top 9 Characters They Absolutely Cannot Kill Off Because Seriously I Won't Cope

Posted July 16 into Raven On by girlclumsy

The number of characters in Game of Thrones that we desperately want to see the back of is rapidly diminishing. Old Mate Euron Greyjoy has been hyped as the next Big Bad, but we’ll have to wait and see if he can match Ramsay Bolton for brutish psychopathy.

The downside of this is if there are fewer bad people to kill, our dear friends at HBO might start killing off…. gulp...our favourites. In some cases, we can sort-of-maybe-kind-of understand how death may be necessary: Can Ser Jorah survive his greyscale? Might Beric Dondarrion finally run out of lives? Might Jaime die at the hands of his girlfriend/blood relative?

But there are some characters who CANNOT, nay, MUST NOT be harmed. Every hair on their head is a blessing from the gods old and new, and I honestly will lose my shit if anything happens to them. Help me, HBO, you’re my only hope (of retaining some shred of dignity and not bawling like a recalcitrant toddler).

Jon Snow

You got him once. You're not getting him again. I mean it.

Arya Stark

The world's most reluctant lady is now a fearsome, not-to-be-messed with assassin. I'm honestly not sure how her story will play out this season - will she head straight for winterfell to reunite with Jon and Sansa, or will she head south from the Twins and try to take on cersei and finish off her infamous hit list? Will she at least get word to Winterfell to let them know she's alive?

Could she find a new travelling partner and create another one of the show's brilliant dynamic duos? Think Tyrion and Bronn, Jaime and Bronn, Jaime and Brienne, Brienne and Pod, and of course the Hound and Arya? Or will she make hundreds of fanboy theorists' dreams come true and reunite with her direwolf Nymeria? Whatever happens, we have all been onboard with Arya's revenge fantasy since she first starting reciting her to-kill list. Nothing must interfere.

Tyrion Lannister

Has there been a character who captured hearts and minds so immediately as Tyrion Lannister? From the moment we first saw him - fittingly, in a brothel - we have adored his wit, honesty, intelligence and occasionally even bravery.

He’s been disrespected, mistreated, put down, put upon, beaten up, backstabbed, front stabbed and threatened with cock removal - but here he is, newly minted Hand of the Queen and champion of House Targaryen.

There is conflict to come with his sister Cersei, now sitting pretty on the Iron Throne, and the current biggest obstacle for his new boss achieving her own career goals. There are of course those persistent rumours that Tyrion himself is more Targaryen than Lannister, but however that pans out, there will still be a reckoning.

Whatever happens, Tyrion defined the Game of Thrones, and so must prevail. I mean, he must… right? Despite everything that’s come before in this damn series, they surely, SURELY, cannot kill the dwarf… right?

Sansa Stark

It's possible Sansa has grown the most of any GoT character. Daenarys was a manipulated sister and wife early on, but quickly grew into her regal genetics. Jon was always noble, honorable and concerned with the bigger picture, and his brush with Death (oh to be Death just to brush him once) only intensified those drives. But Sansa has been through the wringer. From spoiled entitled princess brat, to prisoner plaything to a sadistic fiancé at King's Landing, to reluctant bride to Tyrion, prize chess piece for Littlefinger's desire, to survivor of brutal abuse at the hands of a psychotic monster - Sansa weathered all that and emerged one of the most fully rounded characters on the show.

Still a sensitive person, she has developed emotional armour by reconnecting hard with her Stark ancestry. It was she that forced Jon into action to retake Winterfell. It was Sansa who told Jon Rickon was lost the night before he was taken down by Ramsay's arrows. It was Sansa who overcame her revulsion at Littlefinger to cut a deal with him and get the Knights of the Vale to save the day at the Battle of the Bastards. I don't believe she will resent Jon for his elevation to King in the North, but I will understand if tension develops. Jon may have been stabbed six times and died, but Sansa suffered a death of a thousand cuts, and her rebirth has been epic. Long may she reign.

Davos Seaworth

Ned Stark was the moral heart of this world until it was stopped abruptly by the loss of another organ. Lucky then we had Ser Davos Seaworth able to pick up the beat from Season 2 onwards. The Onion Knight, one time smuggler turned surprise war hero and valued counsellor to Stannis Baratheon, is a truly good man when that is an undesirable and even dangerous quality to have. Indeed, it is one of Stannis' few redeeming features that despite his leap into Lord of Light crazy town, he retained Davos as an adviser. It's also one of Melisandre's redeeming features that she let him.

Davos' relationship with Shireen - she taught him to read, he made her feel special and valued when her parents couldn't be bothered - was one of the most tender we've seen on the show. His rage upon discovering how she died was tempered by true heartbreak over the loss of a good child, the real bright spark Stannis should have valued.

With Stannis gone, Davos offered his services to Jon Snow, recognising in him at once the sort of leadership and determination that Stannis had once had, but which had been twisted. It is Davos we have to thank for bringing Jon back in the first place - despite his eminent practicality and religious scepticism, it is he who asks Kate Bush "Hey, know any magic...?"

I cannot imagine him anywhere now but by Jon's side, the barometer of bullshit, a practical pragmatic with a rough charm that works a treat on brave but cautious people (case in point: Lyanna Mormont). Kill him off, and there will be tears - no onions necessary.

Sam Tarly

By all rights Sam Tarly should not have made it out of Season 1 alive. If Ser Alliser Thorne had had his way, he would have been a real-life punching (and stabbing) bag for trainee Black Brothers. But where’s Ser Alliser now? Food for worms after his treasonous attack on our most precious. And where’s Sam? Doing his best Disney princess frolic in the world’s biggest library.

Along the way, he has used his clever noggin to rescue Gilly and her bub, and work out that obsidian glass could be used to kill White Walkers (although admittedly that was an accident. But he kept calm in a crisis, and that counts).

When Jon sent him off at the end of Season 5 to become the new Maester of the Night’s Watch, he knew only Sam would have the smarts to figure out what other skills/equipment might be handy in helping stave off the end of the world. And he was smart enough to nick off with Heartsbane (or more suitably as we’ve dubbed it, “Heartsbae”) during a side trip with Gilly to the Tarly ancestral home Horn Hill.

While we may wish we were a Jon or a Dany, we are actually all Sam. We’re the ones who aren’t physically perfect, we’re not natural warriors or leaders, but damnit we a half-decent brain and a sense of curiosity and we get things done. Occasionally we have our own little hero moment, such as when Sam left Gilly at Horn Hill for approximately 13 seconds, before changing his mind and declaring they stick together, no matter what.

That’s why Sam’s entrance into the Oldtown library spoke volumes (look at that pun!). It was an achievable goal, something we could recognise in our own lives. Sam was a smart guy; his Xanadu was that library. Maybe ours is something different - a new job, a fitness goal, a pay rise, a positive Tinder date. It’s something grand when it happens, and because it’s not out of the realm of possibility, we keep on truckin’ ‘til we get it.

Tormund Giantsbane and Brienne of Tarth

Clearly these two are incredibly important in their own right but it’s the tantalising possibility of something sexy happening between them that makes it vitally important both of them stay very much alive.

Tormund is the ferocious ginger warrior wildling; Brienne is the ferocious blonde warrior woman. Brienne was once forced to fight a bear; Tormund claims to have f***ed a bear. Both support a Stark (R + L = J be damned, that Snow is Stark, not Targaryen), which shows good judgement. Both enjoying carving the crap out of bad guys, which makes them eminently deserving of all the screen time.

By all rights we should have seen the attraction coming, but when Brienne rode through the gates of Castle Black causing Tormund to drop his jaw in awe, the whole internet roared with collective thirsty YES! THIS! BY THE GODS, THIS! This was a hole we didn’t know we needed filling. I won’t joke that Brienne is the same - sure, we want her to go there, but we want her to be into it.

Of course the spanner in the works of Tormienne is Jaime Lannister, Brienne’s one time prisoner/travel companion. He retains a grudging affection for the straight-laced Tarth fighter, as evidenced by their most recent, almost tender, farewell at Riverrun. But Jaime’s back in King’s Landing now with his twincester, the new Mad (as Hell) Queen. Brienne will head for Winterfell and Sansa, where Tormund awaits, hoping she’ll throw him a bone… of meat, which he will devour lasciviously in front of her.

I’ll even be fine if Tormienne continues as one-sided sexual tension. I just want to see it, all of it, every last drop of it, and so they must both live. We Game of Thrones fans are nothing if not romantic.

Lyanna Mormont

DON’T. YOU. F***ING. DARE.


Beloveds, from this Monday (eeeeek!) I will be posting my recaps here at the 'Burger for all to read for free. However, if you would like to support these recaps, you can jump onboard my Patreon train here and pledge a minimum of $1 per recap. If you do, you will be super sexy and a dynamite in the bedroom. It's just science. Thank you to Beloved Patrons Alannah, Lorna R, Brendan C, Anthony S and Holly R for your amazing support. Much sticky dragon love. MoK. xoxo

11 Responses to ‘Game of Thrones S7: The Top 9 Characters They Absolutely Cannot Kill Off Because Seriously I Won't Cope’

Barnesm would have you know...

Posted July 16
Excellent recap as ever Girl Clumsy, might I suggest Beric Dondarrion is quite safe since in a recent interview George RR Martin revealed he is a fire wight. The binary opposite to the Ice wights raised by the Night Kight king. Consequently, I presume only to be killed by an equivalent to dragon glass or valerian steel.

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Ashley swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 16
Love the thoughts- looking forward to the show! Just a thought - since Gendry is all but back from the dead - do you think he will be the one who knows how to create Valyrian steel - and hence performs a critical role?

girlclumsy asserts...

Posted July 16
I've heard whispers of this possible return of Gendry - I'm onboard, let's get his shirt off and ironmonger some Valyrian Steel for all.

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Rob is gonna tell you...

Posted July 16
At least half of this list should die.

Too many cliches are starting to grow, the original razor sharpness of GoT has declined into sitcom/rom com territory.

Arya Stark and Jon The Emo Snow top the list.

And Lyanna Mormont?

Really?

Another ridiculous spoilt child.

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Victa has opinions thus...

Posted July 16
Far, far away!

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sousy wench has opinions thus...

Posted July 16
While my brain mostly agrees with you, I'll still be crushed if most of these characters bite it.

I vehemently disagree regarding Lyanna Mormont. If Bran (everything is his fault) or Rickon (fucking zig zag), were half as awesome as the Pady of Bear island, Winterfell wouldn't have fallen at all. (Blocks ears and hums to keep out any logical rebuttals).

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girlclumsy puts forth...

Posted July 16
Lyanna is awesome, nobody can take that away from us!

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Dean asserts...

Posted July 17
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7KrP-V4gqbM

Dean ducks in to say...

Posted July 17
Hmmm link text not active, but it's a Top 10 death predictions for S7 (not mine)

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Blue mumbles...

Posted July 17
On the contrary - many of those people sadly, tragically, must die. It's what makes GOT GOT. Ned, Rob, Caitlyn, Grey Wolf, Lady, Shireen... if all these characters were still alive the show would be far less impactful.

The only characters that must survive to the endgame are Daenerys, Jon Snargaryen, and the Night's King.

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But her emails!

Posted July 14 by John Birmingham

Today's Alien Side Boob is free because it's an experiment. No newly invented profanities. No off colour sexual references. Just a thought experiment.

An alternate micro-history. One I'm so intrigued by I'm thinking of doing agreater length as a quick ebook.

You'll understand why after reading below.

Chinese Dirt on Trump? ‘I Love It,’ Chelsea Clinton Said.

By NYT Staff and Agencies. JULY 11, 2017

Chelsea Clinton received an email on June 3, 2016, promising dirt on Republican nominee Donald Trump. The information was described as being part of Chinese support for her mother’s ultimately successful presidential bid. Her reply? “I love it.”

The June 3, 2016, email sent to Chelsea Clinton could hardly have been more explicit: One of Bill Clinton’s Chinese business partners had been contacted by a senior Chinese government official and was offering to provide Hillary Clinton’s campaign with dirt on Donald Trump.

The documents “would incriminate Trump and his dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your mother’s campaign,” read the email, written by a trusted intermediary, who added, “This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of China and its government’s support for Hillary.”

If the future president’s only daughter was surprised or disturbed by the provenance of the promised material — or the notion that it was part of a continuing effort by Beijing to aid her mother’s campaign — she gave no indication.

She replied within minutes: “If it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer.”

Four days later, after a flurry of emails, the intermediary wrote back, proposing a meeting in New York on Thursday with a “Chinese government attorney.”

Chelsea Clinton agreed, adding that she would most likely bring along “John Podesta (campaign boss)” and “my father-in-law,” Edward Mezvinsky now one of President Clinton’s closest, but most controversial White House advisers.

On June 9, the Chinese lawyer was sitting in the younger Clinton’s office, just one level below the office of her mother the future president.

The Justice Department and the House and Senate Intelligence Committees are examining whether any of President Clinton’s associates colluded with the Chinese government to disrupt last year’s election. American intelligence agencies have determined that the Chinese government tried to sway the election in favour of Hillary Clinton.

The precise nature of the promised damaging information about Mr Trump is unclear, and there is no evidence to suggest that it was related to Chinese-government computer hacking that led to the release of thousands of Republican National Committee emails. But in recent days, accounts by some of the central organizers of the meeting, including Chelsea Clinton, have evolved or have been contradicted by the written email records.

Clinton advisers have often insisted that the campaign had no contact with various Chinese insiders — claims that were later proved false.

After being told that The Times was about to publish the content of the emails, instead of responding to a request for comment, Chelsea Clinton posted images of them on Tuesday on Twitter.

She said that nothing came of the meeting. But in an interview on Tuesday with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, she said that “in retrospect, I probably would have done things a little differently.”

President Hillary Clinton wrote on Twitter early Wednesday: “My daughter Chelsea did a good job last night. She was open, transparent and innocent. This is the greatest Witch Hunt in political history. A vast right wing conspiracy!”

Speaking from Paris overnight the president said, “Anyone would have taken that meeting.”

Mr Trump, as he has done since losing the election, maintained a dignified silence.

A lighter moment came on Twitter when Breitbart publisher and one time Trump advisor Stephen K. Bannon tweeted, “I…worked on this story for a year…and…she just…she tweeted it out.”

The comment quickly went viral, inspiring thousands of memes and all but eclipsing actual news coverage of the Clintons’ latest fast evolving email scandal.

6 Responses to ‘But her emails!’

schalmer reckons...

Posted July 14
In WW.2.1.1 does Admiral Kolhammer have his flag upon the Big Donald?

John Birmingham mumbles...

Posted July 14
I've considered it.

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Nocturnalist would have you know...

Posted July 14
A yuge flag. The best flag, trust me, you won't believe how classy this flag is, everyone says so.

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Matthew puts forth...

Posted July 14
Reads entirely plausibly, which isn't a good thing for American democracy.

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Barnesm ducks in to say...

Posted July 14
you are making one of those subtle point things aren't Birmo?

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Dave C asserts...

Posted July 17
Intriguingly counterfactually... cant wait to see how it ends... in both universes.

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One Week.. 'til GOT

Posted July 10 into Raven On by girlclumsy

There is ONE WEEK TO GO until Game of Thrones returns, as we can all marvel in the visual spectacle, the compelling drama and the taut thrillingness of Jon Snow's abs (and everything else).

To mark the occasion, I have written a little ditty celebrating my joy at the upcoming Season Seven.

To the tune of the 1998 classic, One Week by the Barenaked Ladies:

It is one week 'til my favourite show
Hits my TV again
Thank you HBO
One week 'til I get to see
The Mother of Dragons act out my fantasies
One week til my dear Jon Snow
Deals with knowing more than nothing that he didn’t know
Yesterday, it was agony
But now it’s only one week ‘til winter is coming

Hold me now and see Darth Cersei
With brother Jaime
Working out their giant map plan
They are in deep at the Keep
With enemies ready to sweep
They like the Mountain
‘Cause he’s now a giant zombie man

Hot like a dragon gotta face facts
The throne’s a contract
And Cersei thinks she’s a player
But that fortune from a frog witch
Could be a real bitch
And Jaime is a Kingslayer

Gonna make a turn to Dragonstone
I yearn to see Dany return and make 'em burn
Cause she’s the finest f***ing Queen Bee
She torched the Masters at Meereen
Like a real machine it was a scene
More schnikt and mean than Wolverine
She’s so amazing, man
I wish I had her C.V.

How can I help it if I think you’re handsome when you’re dead
Trying hard not to cry at your sweet head
I’m the kinda gal who worships a junk mound
Can’t understand what that is?
Here’s some background
I have a tendency to wear my love on my sleeve
I have a history of stalking Jon Snow

It is one week 'til he looks at me
Dead no more but still f***ing deadly
One week 'til he tackles me
With his honour and poise, he’s so f***ing broody
It is one week 'til the afternoon
When the Night’s Watch commander causes me to f***ing swoon
Yesterday I just dreamed in awe
About how I just might get my hands on his Longclaw

--instrumental--

That dick at the diner knows The Hound likes chicken
Brienne beat him up, but he just kept tickin’
Helped by but couldn’t help a cleric
He then met Beric
And got back in with the Brotherhood
Like Arya Stark he’s got a purpose
Hang out with Thoros
Like chillies, gonna set the world on fire
With flaming swords they’re on edge now
Form a wedge now
And you just might get out of a quagmire

Gotta ring my bell at Winterfell
See where Ramsay fell and had
His own starving dogs eat his face and chew on his hamstring
Gotta get a glare with Mormont bear
Cause Lyanna’s stare has got the loom and the lords may be
Keen to hail a new king

How can I help it if I think Sansa is just the best?
Trying hard not to say she’s like Baelish
I’m the kinda gal who loves Tormund Giantsbane
Can’t understand what I mean?
It’s that mane
He has the tendency to battle hard and bite off ears
He has a history of ogling Brienne

It is one week 'til the Onion Knight
Will know if banning Melisandre was right
One week and we’ll see it’s true
Tyrion will drink just like we thought he was gonna do
One week 'til I get to see
My favourite man bun and abs staring back at me
Yesterday, it was fantasy
But my dreams have come back as my reality

My dreams have come back as my reality
Don’t judge me please, I swear I’m not crazy
OK, maybe, I’m a little bit crazy

Starting from next week, I'll be posting my Raven On recaps here at the 'Burger after each and every episode. They're free to read, but if you want to support, you can jump onboard my Patreon campaign and pledge just $1 per episode ($7 for the season). Thanks to Beloved Patreons Hazel F, Bernard W, Jessica Y, Owen T and Patrick C for your ab-tastic support. Love, MoK. xoxo

8 Responses to ‘One Week.. 'til GOT’

Tarryn K has opinions thus...

Posted July 10
I don't know who to throw money at, but I need someone to sing and release this!!!


Also nice work shoehorning in the junkmound ;D

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girlclumsy swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 10
Oh MAN, I wish I could shoehorn in that junkmound.

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Lorn mumbles...

Posted July 10
I'm with Tarryn K, when's this getting released! Love it!

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Barnesm mumbles...

Posted July 10
That's brilliant Nat, now you just have to put it to music and a kick ass filmclip with Game of Thrones rather than eighties references.

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Bernie puts forth...

Posted July 10
I'm excited!

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Kraven puts forth...

Posted July 11
JunkMOUND! Somebody please make this a video for me.

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Don Bagert swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 12
Game of Thrones is opposite Twin Peaks in the USA, how about in Australia?

Barnesm has opinions thus...

Posted July 12
Twin Peaks is only on our STAN streaming service so no competition.

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