I think it’s unfair that I don’t get to see this.

Over at SXSW, at the Game of Thrones exhibit known as SXSWesteros, there’s a bit of Season 6 footage available that isn’t being shown anywhere else. I think this is unfair, but according to this one guy on Twitter, the footage they showed today includes this:

Well, yes, I had assumed as much. (A later Tweet by the same user says she’s talking to Davos, which is not a surprise.)

This provides context for Melisandre’s confessing to Davos of the victories she’d seen in the flames all being a lie. She’s not confessing her error regarding Stannis, or at least she’s not just talking about Stannis. I think Melisandre was upset when most of his army deserted him, and she had been expecting him to take Winterfell long enough to give Jon a chance to show up and take over, but she hadn’t really been expecting Stannis to become Lord of the Seven Kingdoms since the end of Season 3.

Now she’s probably thinking, she led Stannis into a war he couldn’t win, she burned Shireen alive and triggered Selyse’s suicide and let Stannis march a piddling army of foot soldiers into a battle with a much bigger, mounted army, because she’d been banking on Jon to be her Azor Ahai, and then Jon died. She must be feeling shitty about that. She may be feeling a bit guilty about tying Shireen up to that pyre, and she may be blaming herself just a bit for Selyse hanging herself from that tree, and she may be feeling like an asshole for all that time she spent stringing Stannis along with a promise of sitting the Iron Throne, but mostly, what’s really destroying her is Jon’s death.




The squishy stage of the series where there are no winners.

My latest piece for FanSided: How Episode 9 Drives the Game of Thrones. It’s weird how little my dear Brienne’s name appears in this, but it’s all about shifts in power throughout the series. She’s not really a player. I go through each season and tell you what happened in terms of various Houses getting more powerful or more defeated, using the 9th episode as the focal point.

You might see a little prediction near the end, mixed up with the filming leaks. Mostly, what I want to talk about is that in writing this piece, I noticed something about the fifth season.

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I’m cheating on my blog with someone bigger.

I’ve recently become a writer for FanSided, and so far I’m really enjoying it. I signed on to write about Game of Thrones, which means I’ll basically be doing much of the same stuff I’ve been doing over here, but letting them edit and format it to their specifications and post it on their site.

So far what I’ve written for them is:

Knowledge is power, so what don’t they know? — I give an overview of the end of Season 5, in terms of various characters lacking valuable information.

Monday night, the EOD posted a link on the Slack channel (I assure you, this all makes sense) and asked for someone to write something on it. I stepped up. Seems I may also, occasionally, write about Harry Potter ish for FanSided.

Alan Rickman and the meaning of ‘always’. — someone changed my headline to something with a misspelling. There are worse problems to have.

Later that night, the same editor posted another link and asked me to write something on it. I was sitting there thinking, “YOU’RE ASKING ME, SPECIFICALLY, TO WRITE SOMETHING ON JAIME LANNISTER IN SEASON 6? HAVE I FINALLY FOUND MY PEOPLE?” I think it was more because I was already present and available, rather than because of my brilliant analytical skills, but sure, I stepped up.

HBO debuts brief Game of Thrones Season 6 footage — again, not my choice of headline. (My idea of a headline was: “What is Jaime Lannister doing on that horse?” I guess it sounds too much like a disapproving mother with her hands on her hips.) The story is basically: look! Jaime’s working with the Tyrells! I may have leaned on prior knowledge of filming leaks for this insight, but seriously, it’s all there in the video. It’s our first HBO-sanctioned image of Jaime in S6!

This one here is where I’ve really pulled out the stops: I analyzed Melisandre’s actions and came up with an explanation. This is possibly the most sympathetic to Stannis that I’ve ever been. In case anyone’s wondering: I haven’t changed my mind about him being dead. Oh, he is dead as Ned Stark, but the revelation is basically that he was victimized, rather than supported, by Melisandre’s guidance. The editor made my piece look super-pretty and treated it like a big story that’s worthy of attention, and he changed some of my wording in the process. That’s his prerogative as an editor, but I still prefer my version of the first paragraph, so I’ll use it here. There is no universe in which I will apologize for referring to Cersei’s children as “inbred bastards.” My ideas, however, are kept very much intact in the FanSided version.

When the Red Priestess Melisandre of Asshai first began serving Lord Stannis Baratheon of Dragonstone, she surely believed that he was Azor Ahai, destined to become King of Westeros and save the world. As the next-oldest brother of the recently deceased King Robert Baratheon, and with the understanding that his late brother’s putative children were really inbred bastards, Stannis had the best claim to the Iron Throne and was easy enough to convince. Melisandre gained his trust, converted his wife Selyse Florent to the faith of the Lord of Light, and became one of his closest advisors, in competition with Ser Davos Seaworth. It was with the understanding of Stannis as savior that Melisandre used her magical skills to help him kill his younger brother and rival for the Iron Throne, Renly Baratheon. It was with Melisandre’s guidance that Stannis continued his campaign to take the Iron Throne, culminating in the failed siege of King’s Landing.

To see the rest, go read the story: Making sense of Melisandre.

Rightful King of the Andals and the First Men

There was that one time when I told you all I was suddenly really interested in Stannis Baratheon. It was an April Fool’s prank. The joke was that I could not have been more uninterested in Stannis if I’d actively tried.

And yet later that year, he still managed to disappoint me.

The more I think about what happened to the Baratheons in the 4th and 5th season, though, the more I feel for him. The fact that I’m even bothering to think about the Baratheons should tell you something. I’m not sure that this means I like Stannis, or that I’ll miss him next season, just that I’m interested in understanding what kind of person he was, and in figuring out to what extent the series plot depends on him getting the short end of the spear.

I’ve recently started writing about Game of Thrones for Fansided Entertainment. This is the news org that runs Winter is Coming. Fansided is mostly about sports, but they also cover some TV shows, including GoT. I’m currently working on my second article for them. It concerns the Baratheons, specifically the real ones, not Cersei’s inbred bastards. I seem to have mostly exhausted my ideas on the Lannisters for the time being.

Game of Snark: I’m still an asshole.

Saw this on Twitter just now:

The replies are fucking FULL of people protesting that Stannis isn’t really dead.

Okay, folks, here’s the thing: if Brienne managed to redirect her sword at the last split second and NOT kill Stannis, his survival is honest-to-fucking-Pete the best-kept secret in Game of Thrones filming history. HBO has done a better job of hiding his survival than they’ve done of hiding pretty much everything else related to next year’s season. Filming is all over, and Stephen Dillane has not been seen anywhere near the production. I don’t think they even had him show up long enough to play a corpse. Probably because you can’t get a live actor to play a headless body.

But ultimately, if you’re still thinking, at this stage, that Stannis lives, then I don’t know what’ll convince you otherwise. I’m not even optimistic that you’ll accept the Rightful King is really fucking dead if we get a clear shot of Brienne digging a grave in the wolfswood and burying his decapitated body. Even if they actually show us the body in S6, will that be enough?

So now I’m wondering: what sort of S6 are the Stannis Lives contingent picturing? Starting from the premise of Stannis being alive, what do your predictions look like? What sort of ideas do you fill into the gaps between the events we’ve gathered from filming leaks? How tangled and torturous do your explanations get when the filming leaks don’t leave room for Stannis to be alive and present and making decisions? How much of the available info do you have to explain away?


Game of Cliffhangers: Now We Answer Some Questions

I have a new book! It’s so shiny and pretty, and it’s a genuine, official, HBO-sanctioned product!

“Game of Thrones: The Noble Houses of Westeros, Seasons 1-5” by Running Press


In which I peer disapprovingly at my ridiculous Cousin Cersei’s latest antics. 

We’re the Riverlands Lannisters, the ones that packed up and intermarried with the Tullys, hence the auburn hair and blue eyes. We still rock the red and gold, though.

I read basically all of this book on the way home from work this evening, and while it could use a bit more proofreading, the photos are gorgeous and some of the information is super helpful.

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Bride of I Enjoy This Too Much: “You murdered him with blood magic?”

With some minor reservations, I enjoyed Season 5. I seem to have enjoyed it more than a lot of fans. And I mostly liked the finale. Mostly. It’s not a surprise that I struggled with my favorite big swordswench doing something that I thought was beneath her. And the more I think about her actions in the finale, the more I realize that I still love Brienne, but I’m not entirely satisfied with the way the show has treated her for the past two seasons. I have complaints about her role in Season 4 as well as 5.

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