Bryan Cogman on the most difficult episode he’s ever written, and setting up for what’s to come
By Lightbringer on in Interview.

After the airing of its fourth episode, Game of Thrones Season 4 is showing no signs of slowing down. “Oathkeeper” gave us a murder mystery reveal, a gift and a goodbye, one very noble kitty, and moved onto a second act of horrors with an ending that left everyone Unsullied.

Writer and co-producer Bryan Cogman spoke with both The Hollywood Reporter and HBO to discuss the difficulties of writing the episode, and setting up for what’s to come.

The Hollywood Reporter teased us ahead of Sunday’s episode with a quote from Cogman saying that this was the most difficult episode he’s ever written. In the full interview Cogman reveals it was the horrors at Craster’s Keep that he found the most difficult, particularly Karl’s intense monologue.

“That was very difficult to write. We had to establish very quickly the horrible things that have been going on since the mutiny. It was very unpleasant.  At first I had a draft that was something straight out of Apocalypse Now, with Karl being like Kurtz. I got notes back from the team and rewrote it, and we decided to make it about class. Karl had always been looked down upon, and now he finally is at the top of the food chain, and this is what he’s choosing to do.  

But this was definitely a case of a brilliant rewrite from the showrunners, particularly Karl’s monologue, which was entirely scripted by David [Benioff] and Dan [Weiss]. Also, it should be said that a big reason that scene works is due to the performances of the wives, many of whom were featured extras. Their “gift for the gods” chant was incredible.”

For those of us hoping that Cogman would shed some light on that final scene, tough luck. When asked about it, he simply stated, “I can’t comment on the last scene.”

For more from the interview, including Cogman’s thoughts on Lady Olenna’s motivation to kill Joffrey, and Daenerys’ choice of vengeance overy mercy, visit The Hollywood Reporter.

HBO has also released a Q&A with Cogman via Making Game of Thrones. Having the writing duties for this episode allowed Cogman to revisit some of the storylines he last left in Season 3’s “Kissed by Fire,” particularly Sansa/Littlefinger, and Jaime/Brienne.

“Sansa and Littlefinger’s scene on the ship was a lot of fun to work on in terms of finally getting Sansa out of King’s Landing and having her in new circumstances. It’s the first of many twisted mentor-protégé scenes in that Littlefinger is imparting some of his tricks of the trade in playing the game and Sansa is figuring out how his mind works.

Jaime’s arc was, is, and continues to be very complicated. The word “redemption” is thrown out a lot and I don’t know if it’s as simple as a redemption story when describing Jaime. He gives the sword that his father gave him to Brienne for a purpose… With Brienne and this mission, I don’t know if he thinks it’ll redeem anything but at least he’s trying to be the writer of his own destiny. His line, “It’s the Lord Commander’s duty to fill these pages. There’s still room left in mine,” is a key phrase for Jaime going forward.”

Cogman also introduced some important new plot threads that have laid the groundwork for what’s to come, notably at Castle Black.

“These middle episodes, which I generally end up writing, are a lot about introducing plot threads that pay off later. That’s what a lot of the Castle Black stuff is here, the going beyond the Wall, Locke’s ulterior mission to find Bran and Rickon, and there’s a reference to the “choosing.” I don’t believe we addressed yet that Lord Commanders are elected.”

Ser Pounce’s debut appearance, resulting in much fanfare, may have been his last (“filming with a cat is a nightmare”), but he was key in shaping the viewer’s perception of Tommen, and setting up a sweet but creepy scene.

“Tommen is a sweet boy with a cat named Ser Pounce, and who has found himself in incredible circumstances. He is going to be king and he is going to marry this woman. The innocence of Tommen is fun to play with because there isn’t a lot of innocence in this world.

It’s a sweet scene, but it’s also a very creepy scene. It toes a fine line. With Natalie as Margaery, the wheels are turning, but it’s very subtle. There’s nothing about her that seems insincere even though you know she has an ulterior motive.”

For more from Cogman on the scene at Craster’s, Greyworm’s call to arms, and Olenna’s lesson to Margaery, visit Making Game of Thrones.

We’re all looking forward to Episode 6, Mr. Cogman.


82 Comments

  1. Winter is not coming
    Posted April 28, 2014 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    kit harington

  2. Ser Davos Seaworth
    Posted April 28, 2014 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    Ser Arys Oakheart

  3. Myrddin
    Posted April 28, 2014 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    Some other name besides Hodor in third or fourth place!

  4. Hoyti Von Totiy
    Posted April 28, 2014 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    I loved the episode.

    Especially the part where Cogman sticks it up GRRMs butt with the final scene.

    F**kn love Locke, the guy playing him is brilliant….

    Actor playing Bran is even now WAYYYYY too old for the role.

  5. Rob
    Posted April 28, 2014 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    “HODOR!!!! Ouch don’t poke me with that sti… I mean HODOR HOOODDOOOORRRRR!!!”

  6. Seanathn
    Posted April 28, 2014 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

    Rob,

    The whole Hodor bit hit me right in the feels.
    Loved this episode, every second of it, and that ending well I loved every second of that three times as much as the rest of the episodes seconds. (a confusing sentence but I don’t care.)

  7. Hoyti Von Totiy
    Posted April 28, 2014 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

    The pace of the season is too slow when compared to lets say the first season.

    Were at ep 4. and were still building up.. how long before the knot starts untangling?

  8. patchface
    Posted April 28, 2014 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    Hoyti Von Totiy:
    I loved the episode.

    Especially the part where Cogman sticks it up GRRMs butt with the final scene.

    F**kn love Locke, the guy playing him is brilliant….

    Actor playing Bran is even now WAYYYYY too old for the role.

    Huh? Why do you hate GRRM so much? Without him you would never have a tv show so show some respect.

  9. Veltigar
    Posted April 28, 2014 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    This was a great episode. And I agree with the poster who complemented Noah Taylor. The scenes with Jon Snow can be terrible, but this episode they were great. Good writing and acting.

    Cheyenne: You don’t understand, Jill. People like that have something inside… something to do with death and casting Mads Mikkelsen as Euron

  10. Commander of the white walkers
    Posted April 28, 2014 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    again a amazing episode to watch
    so far al the episodes are great
    the ending was so great
    that creepy WW touching that baby was AMAZING

  11. Gonzolegend
    Posted April 28, 2014 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    This is probably the last time you’ll see Ser Pounce because filming with a cat is a nightmare.

    Noooooo…. I demand more Ser Pounce… and beets !

    Was a great scene though. Was kinda worried when I first saw Tommen 2.0 because he looked too old to play the clueless sweet kid. But it works. Bravo.

  12. queenofthorns
    Posted April 28, 2014 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    Bryan I have been a critic before but I love you for this episode.

    You hit just the right note (IMO) with Cersei and Jaime. It was clear (IMO) that Cersei was angry about the sept most of all, but would never admit to herself or Jaime that what happened was a violation. Instead she pretends she’s angry about other things, like Tommen. And Jaime just doesn’t get it.

    LF / Sansa and Tommen / Margaery were both suitably creepy. I hope that was intentional paralleling because I got a similar unsettling vibe from both.

    The added material at Craster’s had me on the edge of my seat and I want to know what happens next!! And the reveal at the end! Wow! I hope you and D&D continue your adaptation in this vein, ti’s really refreshing.

  13. King Stannis
    Posted April 28, 2014 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

    Hoyti Von Totiy,

    Hoyti Von Totiy:
    The pace of the season is too slow when compared to lets say the first season.

    Were at ep 4. and were still building up.. how long before the knot starts untangling?

    Are you serious? The pacing this season is going fast. Only difference is that they can’t get to too many storylines in one hour. If you’re this far in complaining about a pace or built up then you are in for a long season.
    Incase you haven’t been paying attention, lots of shit is happening. What built up do you want?

  14. mpn1010
    Posted April 28, 2014 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    The final 15 minutes of last night’s episode were incredibly disturbing and painful, not to mention incredibly powerful; Burn Gorman is a fantastic actor and he made Karl truly terrifying. It’s funny that Bryan Cogman mentioned Kurtz, for when I first saw Karl with the skull, he seemed like a sort of perverse, corrupted Hamlet; however, as he began rambling, I immediately thought of “Apocalypse Now,” and the cult-like behavior we saw at Craster’s hit the connection home for me. I almost wish they had pushed the cultism/madness of the wild concept further, as the class-based anger is somewhat less interesting in my opinion.

    As far as story arcs original to the series go, I think this one will be very strong. If I have one complaint, it’s this: has anyone else noticed that the writers have a habit of making capable characters look incompetent when stretching out these characters’ story-lines? The ease with which Bran, Meera, and Jojen were caught last night made me think back to Season 2, with Jon’s repeated blunders with Qhorin and Ygritte, and Dany’s careless loss of (and woefully ineffective search for) the dragons.

  15. T
    Posted April 28, 2014 at 3:26 pm | Permalink
  16. Nagga´s Kin
    Posted April 28, 2014 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

    While I liked the episode overall, I didn’t understand why it was necessary to reveal at this time that the WWs have a leader and that he is – as far as I could tell – male. It would have been exciting enough for now to just show that collecting Crastor’s infant sons is how they grow their ranks. Just the blurred image of a figure stepping forward and the hand with that fingernail would have been enough.

    I suppose it’s possible that WW society has multiple hierarchical levels that we do not yet know about. Otherwise, we just lost the possibility that the WWs are ruled by a female character, cp. the Norse goddess Hel. The link is to someone else’s unrelated art, but note the similarity of the pattern on the ground to the funeral pyre scene at the end of GOT’s season 1. A female WW queen would certainly have made for an interesting counterpoint to Dany’s storyline in an otherwise extremely misogynistic world.

    Of course, before this episode, we didn’t know if the WWs even have any social organization at all. Anarchy would have contrasted with Littlefinger’s assertion that “chaos is a ladder”.

  17. Ray Feighery
    Posted April 28, 2014 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

    *Possible Spoiler*

    The White Walker at the end was apparently listed as “The Night King” on HBOGO before it was taken down after the episode. Plus all 13 at the end we’re dressed in Black.

  18. Lex
    Posted April 28, 2014 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    Great episode. The ending with the White Walkers high council(?) was incredibly creepy. Reminded me of Minas Morgul from LOTR!

    Also, Bryan (and D&D), THANK YOU for FINALLY giving Jon Snow some actual dialogue and screentime. His character has suffered pretty badly until now, and he really needs more of the spotlight. And it looks like Kit is up to the challenge.

  19. mellowjohn
    Posted April 28, 2014 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    “filming with a cat is a nightmare”

    i once shot at commercial for a covered cat litter box. a “cat wrangler” showed up at 8 a.m. with a van full of cats in carriers. we shot a :120 direct response commercial from about 8:30 in the morning until 3 the next morning.

    cats don’t take direction well.

  20. Ray Feighery
    Posted April 28, 2014 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    queenofthorns,

    She’s angry because Jaime refuses to Kill Tyrion and now won’t go after Sansa. Watched the last Ep 5 times. She kisses him first, she pulls at his clothes first, she wraps her legs around him and grabs the table. Her objection was to the location not the act. It’s a shame they didn’t show this as their constant dynamic in the show as book readers are aware. As we know from Book Cercei she’s not above using sex to get what she wants but it didn’t work as Tyrion is still alive. My wife, who is unsullied thought the “Controversy” was ridiculous!

  21. Ser Pounce
    Posted April 28, 2014 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    Lord Commander Mormonts cameo was pretty disturbing eheh. for a second I thought the cat was that usurper dog balerion the black, was relieved after Tommen said his name. Nights King and 12 loyalists confirmed, you can’t just deny that shit HBO. I felt like smashing my 50in tv on the ground and yell another but my girlfriend would have came back from her nursing job and slit my throat. Karl for prince that was promised.

  22. Jared
    Posted April 28, 2014 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

    OT:

    Oathkeeper hit a new series high in the ratings this week – 6.9 million viewers for the first airing!

    http://insidetv.ew.com/2014/04/28/game-of-thrones-hits-new-series-high-in-ratings/

    We’re definitely hitting 7 million before the season is over. Maybe as soon as next week, after that mind**** of an ending.

  23. Valyrian Plastic
    Posted April 28, 2014 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    Am I the only one who thinks the lion head pommel on Oathkeeper looks more like a wolf or a dragon?

    Quibble aside, this is second only to Kissed by Fire as my favourite episode so far. I knew Bryan would do a fantastic job and wasn’t disappointed at all. A big fan theory from the books is finally proved for the first time on TV, one which even Winds of Winter might not have such a vivid perspective on. Five 7-pointed stars out of five.

  24. Hexonx
    Posted April 28, 2014 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    Nagga´s Kin: we just lost the possibility that the WWs are ruled by a female character

    I think the fact that they convert babies and only take male babies would indicate that this is how they “reproduce” and would lead you to believe there are no female White Walkers/Others.

  25. Tatters
    Posted April 28, 2014 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    8 million for the children.

  26. Hexonx
    Posted April 28, 2014 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    Ray Feighery:
    queenofthorns,

    She’s angry because Jaime refuses to Kill Tyrion and now won’t go after Sansa. Watched the last Ep 5 times. She kisses him first, she pulls at his clothes first, she wraps her legs around him and grabs the table. Her objection was to the location not the act. It’s a shame they didn’t show this as their constant dynamic in the show as book readers are aware. As we know from Book Cercei she’s not above using sex to get what she wants but it didn’t work as Tyrion is still alive. My wife, who is unsullied thought the “Controversy” was ridiculous!

    Agreed, I too thought her coldness was mostly due to Jaime siding with Tyrion.

  27. Hexonx
    Posted April 28, 2014 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

    Hexonx,

    Apparently can’t edit posts anymore? Edit button is there but the edit box is blank.

    Anyway, just read this from the HBO interview:

    The scene with Cersei and Jaime was a challenge. Of course, the undercurrent of the scene is what happened in the sept, even though it’s not explicitly discussed. It ends up being a real blowup as to where each of their loyalties lie, and of course, Tyrion is at center of it.

    So it looks like it’s a bit of both.

  28. Jared
    Posted April 28, 2014 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

    Hexonx,

    We’ve seen the White Walkers take only male babies because that’s all that Craster offered them (seeing as he kept his daughters for himself for his own nefarious reasons). If Craster had offered up his daughters, there’s no reason to believe that the Walkers wouldn’t have taken them as well.

    According to the story of the Night’s King, he fell in love with a woman “with skin as white as the moon and eyes like blue stars”, he chased her and loved her though “her skin was cold as ice”, and when he gave his seed to her he gave his soul as well. That sounds like a female Other/White Walker to me. I suppose it’s possible that converting human babies is the only way that the Walkers can reproduce, but ultimately none of us can know for sure until the truth is revealed in either the books or the show.

  29. Hexonx
    Posted April 28, 2014 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

    Jared,

    I don’t really remember the part about the Night’s King so I’ll take your word for it.

    I agree that there is no definitive answer at this point. I’m just saying that with the facts we know know at least from the show it would appear that there are only male White Walkers.

  30. Bean
    Posted April 28, 2014 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

    Sorry dude, Karl’s brilliant monologue was the most hackneyed uber-villian tripe I’ve seen in a while. I’m not a screenwriter, but is it really so hard to depict some rough and lawless bandits without them drinking out of skulls and raping women “to death”??

    Who the hell says “fuck ‘em til they’re dead!” ???

    Such a horrible cap on an otherwise excellent episode.

  31. Igor Veloso
    Posted April 28, 2014 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

    In the ending there was a Minas Morgul vibe to it lol. I think it was that dangerous light in all those subtle but strong shadows.

    And then the witch king came.

  32. Ser Pounce
    Posted April 28, 2014 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

    I wonder if we will see more White Walkers this season. that ending was just mind blowing.

  33. The Lightning Lord
    Posted April 28, 2014 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

    Has GRRM made any comment on this episode yet? I’m curious to know if what we saw of the Others is consistent with what he has planned

  34. WompWomp
    Posted April 28, 2014 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

    Dirk:
    Karl Tanner/Dirk is the best written character of all time
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2MsOND-velw
    FUCKING LEGEND

    D&D wrote him, according to Cogman’s interview.

    Valyrian Plastic,

    Honestly, I’m thrilled. This episode cements the show’s commitment to being a great story in its own right, using all of the material at its disposal instead of pussyfooting through a template determined by the books.

  35. WeirwoodTreeHugger
    Posted April 28, 2014 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

    I love cats but don’t envy anyone who has to try and film them.

  36. Interior Bannisters
    Posted April 28, 2014 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

    The new Bran story arc is not bothering me. Its one of the biggest if not the biggest departure the show has taken from the book, but I can easily see it playing out its course to generate more excitement while still moving all the story lines in the same path as the book.

  37. Hoyti Von Totiy
    Posted April 28, 2014 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

    patchface: Huh?Why do you hate GRRM so much?Without him you would never have a tv show so show some respect.

    I finished reading the books about a year ago.
    The last 2 books were crap, and now i have to wait for 2 years for the next one…

  38. Valyrian Plastic
    Posted April 28, 2014 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

    WompWomp,

    It’s certainly worth noting that, even if we get TWOW & ADOS, we may never see a moment like that actually occur. The only POVs are of the Andals, Rhoynar and First Men, with the exception of Dany as a Valyrian. This was George’s point of never having a Dothraki or Other as a POV because it’s not meant to be from their perspectives. The latter would certainly be on a par with Varys or Euron as a viewpoint which would be very interesting but would also give away too much of the endgame.

    I enjoyed the symmetry in it as well, because 202 ended on a baby being taken, 404 ended on the fate of a different baby (supposedly Craster’s 100th son), so what might 606 have in store for this particular element I wonder? I guess it’s because I became Sullied later on, but I just don’t mind seeing what I haven’t read about yet. It’s a shocking moment; one that was put into fan theories for years but still shocking nonetheless, and that’s ultimately something we’ll have to get used to moving forward.

  39. TheMannis
    Posted April 28, 2014 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

    Hoyti Von Totiy,

    Go away TROLL

  40. Gatehouse Ami
    Posted April 28, 2014 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

    I’m still enjoying this episode.

    Just as Grey Worm recalls nothing before Unsullied and the “White Toddler” (sorry I can’t remember who first said “White Toddler, haha) won’t ever remember Pink life, sweet Tommen can only be Royal.
    And a King boy needs to keep secrets from his Queen momma like Grey Worm needs to be there for his Lady in episode 6, am I right?!

  41. GreatJon of Slumber
    Posted April 28, 2014 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

    Hoyti Von Totiy: I finished reading the books about a year ago.
    The last 2 books were crap, and now i have to wait for 2 years for the next one…

    CBG: Last night’s Itchy & Scratchy was, without a doubt, the
    worst episode ever. Rest assured I was on the internet
    within minutes registering my disgust throughout the
    world.
    Bart: Hey, I know it wasn’t great, but what right do you
    have to complain?
    CBG: As a loyal viewer, I feel they owe me.
    Bart: What? They’re giving you thousands of hours of
    entertainment for free. What could they possibly owe
    you? I mean, if anything, you owe them.
    CBG: Worst episode ever.

  42. Chickenduck
    Posted April 28, 2014 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

    GreatJon of Slumber,

    Haha, the internet. Oh the internet.

    I loved this Cogman quote from the HBO interview:

    “Then you go into the Tommen, Margaery and Ser Pounce scene. In the book he was a kitten but I arrive on set, and they’ve cast a sumo wrestler cat. This is probably the last time you’ll see Ser Pounce because filming with a cat is a nightmare. Natalie Dormer wanted to kill me.”

    Haha cats. And the internet. Thanks to inclusion of cat, GoT is now partially an internet.

    Seriously though, best episode so far. I also immediately thought Apocalypse Snow as soon as we saw Karl.

  43. wizardeyes
    Posted April 28, 2014 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

    Hoyti Von Totiy,

    Cool story bro, tell it again

  44. Sunfyre
    Posted April 28, 2014 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

    Okay, I’m now fully in the “I trust D&D and Bryan” camp. They are showing a real big-picture grasp of how to adapt ASOIAF. Slowly rolling out the magical elements, pulling some storylines forward, stretching other ones out. Picking the perfect time to introduce a WTF moment…

    What I love about the WW reveal last night was that the story at Craster’s provided the showrunners an opportunity to draw disparate storylines together and at the same time give us concrete knowledge about the “ultimate” threat to everyone in Westeros. By following the “white toddler” we get an organic REASON to suddenly visit the land of always winter. Otherwise it would have to be random/or in one of Bran’s visions. Reminds me of Season 3 of Battlestar Galactica when they randomly cut to a shot of Earth in the finale. It was like saying “hey this exists for real in our story” but they didn’t go there organically, we didn’t follow a character there. And we didn’t actually go there with the characters until the end of season 4 of BSG

    This reveal makes the White Walkers more of a concrete thing instead of something glimpsed at the fringes of the narrative. By doing this D&D have bought themselves a lot of time. We probably won’t see much more of the White Walkers until season 5 or even season 6. But that’s okay. They’ve cemented them in the viewers mind as something incredibly creepy and mysterious. Good job show.

  45. ATG
    Posted April 28, 2014 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

    Well Mr. Bryan Cogman your hard work has more than paid off, last night’s episode was one of the very best episodes GoT has ever had.

  46. jentario
    Posted April 28, 2014 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

    Let’s take this chance to congratulate Kit Harington. Well done, lad! You did it. Proved yourself. All doubts= removed.

    I seriously think this episode was perfect.

  47. Koi No Yokan
    Posted April 28, 2014 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

    Thank you Bryan (and Michelle) for the fantastic episode! I think it could be my favourite episode of GoT thus far; and even if not, it’s still easily in my top 5 (along with two other episodes written by you).

    Keep up the great work mate; know that you’re very much appreciated among book fans!

  48. Rygar
    Posted April 28, 2014 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

    Bean:
    Sorry dude, Karl’s brilliant monologue was the most hackneyed uber-villian tripe I’ve seen in a while.I’m not a screenwriter, but is it really so hard to depict some rough and lawless bandits without them drinking out of skulls and raping women “to death”??

    Who the hell says “fuck ‘em til they’re dead!” ???

    Such a horrible cap on an otherwise excellent episode.

    This. Burn was so over-the-top laughable that I couldn’t wait for his scenes to be over.

  49. jentario
    Posted April 28, 2014 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

    Rygar,

    Well I stand corrected. That scene WAS over the top and the episode wasn’t perfect because of it. But otherwise… Yeah!

    So, my rating for the episodes so far:
    -Oathkeeper- 9.8 (nearly perfect, screw people who hate the changes I enjoyed them- and they aren’t really that big if you think about it)
    -The Lion and the Rose- 9.5 (I didn’t expect any more or less, truly great episode with many fun little surprises)
    -Two Swords- 9 (the best premiere yet probably, mostly set up but when you judge it as a premiere it scores high; lots of cool nods too and one of the best scenes ever to top it off)
    -Breaker of Chains- 8 (the episode had some really cool moments, but all of them seemed rushed; the pacing was all over the place, especially with Sam’s scenes and of course the Sept scene lingers- bad execution; good scenes earn it an 8)

    Some educated guesses:
    -Episode 5: the fight at Craster’s
    -Episode 6: Stavos in Braavos, Tyrion’s trial and Yara’s attack on the Dreadfort
    -Episode 7: Arya and the Hound’s final battle + since they arrive at the Eyrie in episode 5, could this really be the episode with “Only Cat”? I hope not… too early for my taste
    -Episode 8: Arya leaves the Hound for dead, the dragons cook some children for dinner, Theon in Moat Cailin and of course theMountain and the Viper
    -Episode 9: the battle at the Wall
    -Episode 10: Tyrion finds shit where he expects to see gold, the dragons are chained and Jorah is banished, Jon denies Stannis’s offer/becomes LC, the Boltons arriving at Winterfell, Only Cat (should be here) and right after it Brienne meeting Stoneheart

    The only potential weak link this season is episode 7, since it doesn’t seem many big moments fall into it. We shall see.

  50. WompWomp
    Posted April 28, 2014 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

    Rygar,

    I didn’t have a problem with his monologue. It was his pitifully hollow-sounding plastic skull that took me out of it. I actually liked his backstory. Being a Southron import explains his clean-shaven look and his particular contempt for his environment.

    Bran’s feeble delivery of “I’m Brandon Stark” also stood out to me as a low point, but that’s a minor quibble.

  51. jentario
    Posted April 28, 2014 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

    WompWomp,

    We’re talking specifically about the beginning of Karl’s speech. It was, by definition, over the top. And pretty objectively evil, too. Not too many dimensions to him, it seems. Anyway, the rest of the scenes were fine (Bran and co were great as always, Rast was great, even Karl was great when interacting with the others but his lines were a bit cheesy and Burn Gorman didn’t enhance them at all).

    I still think this is much better than Loras being a gay stereotype in “Kissed by Fire”, though. (It was okay when they did it to Renly since Renly was a bit like that in the books- a bit, but Loras was an uber badass and not some girly girl who wants to go shopping and has dreamed of a wedding since she was five).

    Also, unrelated… Warging is awesome this season. I love it. I can’t believe they’ve been avoiding wolf POV shots since early in season 2. I am very happy to see them return and better than ever. And Ghost is awesome. And Summer.

    This season is the best so far (in terms of the first four episodes). I am choosing to avoid that scene in episode 3. It never happened as far as I’m concerned.

  52. Rygar
    Posted April 28, 2014 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

    jentario,

    Agreed on all scores except Chains. I think that’s my favorite so far.

  53. House Mormont
    Posted April 28, 2014 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

    jentario,

    Karl’s stereotype is a great stereotype though, with his drunken sadistic tyranny and all his “toys”, Jeor fucking Mormont, The Beast, Hodor and three highborns

    MUUUUUCH better than the Loras stereotype, since that was straight out offensive and the opposite of the books

    and MUUUUUCH better than the Styr stereotype, which is just dumb and literally the opposite of the books

  54. House Mormont
    Posted April 28, 2014 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

    I think I like Karl because in Britain there are literally thousands of chavs who scream “I WAS A FUCKINNGGG LEGEND” while threatening people and hitting women and being off their face drunk, and it was just amazing to watch it

  55. WompWomp
    Posted April 28, 2014 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

    House Mormont,

    Aye. Loras is unnecessarily hollowed out. Karl, on the other hand, is a believable product of a particular lifestyle. I’m sure his swagger scared off a lot of would-be backstabbers when he still haunted Gin Alley.

  56. House Mormont
    Posted April 28, 2014 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

    WompWomp,

    and still different from the show’s 4 other sociopaths: Joffrey, Ramsay, Littlefinger and Locke, which is good

  57. Fred
    Posted April 28, 2014 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

    I really don’t undrstand why the Bran scene and Bran in generally got so much unreasonable hate.
    He’s got all the horrible commrnts and insults from the fans even more than Joffrey. It’s like he’s suddenly the worst person in the series.

  58. Queenofthorns
    Posted April 28, 2014 at 9:55 pm | Permalink

    Ray Feighery,

    Did you even read bcogs interview? He outright says the subtext is about what happened in the sept.

  59. Greatjon of Slumber
    Posted April 28, 2014 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

    Sunfyre: Okay, I’m now fully in the “I trust D&D and Bryan” camp. They are showing a real big-picture grasp of how to adapt ASOIAF. Slowly rolling out the magical elements, pulling some storylines forward, stretching other ones out. Picking the perfect time to introduce a WTF moment…

    well stated. I feel like this season really shows maturity from their way in seamlessly moving from one scene to another, packing a lot in each episode while still stretching scenes out and leaving out several storylines each time – this one had no A) Theon, B) Stannis, C) Team Wildlings, and D) Arya & Hound – and still had a lot going on. It’s going to be important for them going forward to continue to juggle well. I’m fine with the first and last episodes having a bit of a “checking in” feel, that’s expected, but otherwise the more focused they can make it to tell their stories, the better.

    jentario,

    Well put. I’d go like this:

    1. The Lion and the Rose – 9.7 – I’d only put this episode behind the following: All three Episode 9s, Fire and Blood, And Now His Watch Is Ended, and maybe Kissed by Fire.

    2. Oathkeeper – 9.4 – Points off for the porny-looking rape at Craster’s Keep (there’s a separate shot of one of Craster’s wives looking worn out and grim that said more than all of the rest.) Otherwise lots of killer stuff. Probably ranks close to Valar Morghulis, What Is Dead May Never Die, and A Golden Crown.

    3. Two Swords – 9 – Objectively the best premiere though I’d put it on a par with Winter is Coming, Second Sons, You Win or You Die and The Pointy End.

    4. Breaker of Chains – 8 – Very nicely paced, lots of great stuff (Littlefinger’s first appearance, more great Oberyn, Tywin/Tommen), with big points off for the rape-not-rape-but-really-it-is-rape scene.

  60. Morna the Witch
    Posted April 28, 2014 at 10:32 pm | Permalink

    Lex and Jentario

    Something that jumped out to me with regards to Kit’s performance in this episode was his sudden self-conscious “oh crap, I have to make a speech” body language when he has to recruit volunteers for the mission. And of course the looks on Janniser’s faces (and his own face) when he actually manages to is priceless.

    I also thought of Heart of Darkness/ Apocolypse Now when seeing Karl. Burn Gorman stole that scene imo.

  61. Strong Belwas
    Posted April 29, 2014 at 1:43 am | Permalink

    King Stannis,

    lol, so right. they basically combining three books into one season. it’s actually upsetting & entertaining at the same damn time!

    they need 12 eps a year, for how much money this show is making for hbo, come on.

    it’s starting to dawn on me this season that Dan and D.B. have created a entirely different monster than the saga which isn’t even finished yet. correct me if i’m wrong but ive never seen a adaptation finished by the one adapting the source material. whole different monster, such amazing acting from persons of all ages is what makes it worth it, yet continuity is forsaken in the aging of these actors(darrio(cruel ed skrien!), tommen, somehow they keep alliser thorne and janos lynch around. but i forgive, and it’s the price of hollywood.

    i hope you lead a prosperous and hermetical life Jack Gleeson!

  62. Strong Belwas
    Posted April 29, 2014 at 1:55 am | Permalink

    WompWomp,

    agreed, where are they taking that subplot…oh jon snow and his rout of volunteers find bran a captive at crasters and he becomes the hero and saves his brother, and they part ways again…cos jon has to be ordered around by stannis eventually this season.

  63. Tyrion Pimpslap
    Posted April 29, 2014 at 2:01 am | Permalink

    Greatjon of Slumber,

    I’m going to go against the grain and still say ‘Two Swords’ is the best episode of the season, so far. That final scene was one of the top 3 scenes in the show’s history.

    Here is how I’d rank the first 4 episodes:

    1. ‘Two Swords’ – 9.5
    2. ‘Oathkeeper’ – 9.2
    3. ‘The Lion And The Rose’ – 9
    4. ‘Breaker Of Chains’ – 8

  64. Lou Reed
    Posted April 29, 2014 at 4:10 am | Permalink

    He won’t discuss the last scene! Prologue from Winds of Winther? Going further North than ever before, GRRM said.

  65. wizardeyes
    Posted April 29, 2014 at 4:27 am | Permalink

    I really liked the scene at Crasters. It was so dark and really tense and Burn Gorman was awesome. If you think he was over the top you’ve never been to a dodgy pub in Britain. There are people like that. Seriously. Maybe they piled it on a bit thick but I think they successfully reminded everyone of the mutineers (not seen since season 3 episode 4) and made us hate them very quickly – drinking from Mormont’s skull, having Ghost in a cage, tormenting Hodor. They made my blood boil! Can’t wait to see Jon and his recruits destroy them!

  66. Mr Fixit
    Posted April 29, 2014 at 6:17 am | Permalink

    Fred:
    I really don’t undrstand why the Bran scene and Bran in generally got so much unreasonable hate.
    He’s got all the horrible commrnts and insults from the fans even more than Joffrey. It’s like he’s suddenly the worst person in the series.

    Simple. Because It’s Not in the Books(TM).

  67. jentario
    Posted April 29, 2014 at 6:21 am | Permalink

    Ugh. I hate that book readers are calling Oathkeeper a filler episode.

  68. Mr Fixit
    Posted April 29, 2014 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    jentario:
    Ugh. I hate that book readers are calling Oathkeeper a filler episode.

    It’s a fantastic episode. Somewhat of a stage-setter, sure, but what a great stage-setter it was! Conquest of Meereen from the inside, Oathkeeper, Margaery sinking her claws into Tommen, Jon becoming more and more a leader, Craster’s Keep of Horrors, and of course, the final scene. Bryan Cogman is something to behold, isn’t he? I hope they give him 3 episodes next season.

  69. Skipjack
    Posted April 29, 2014 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    Ray Feighery,

    See that really is a spoiler and if it’s true it makes me upset. What a clumsy reveal, even more so to put it on the Internet. I really enjoyed having a moment with the Others until that little tidbit surfaced. Mostly I object to the identity and possible motivation. It undoes some of my admiration of the books if that is the ultimate bad guy, it’s just dumb.

  70. Leo
    Posted April 29, 2014 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    I enjoyed Breaker of Chains more than Oathkeeper, even the Sam scenes. (I got over him eating screentime in Season 1.) Dany’s conquest felt a little flat and the last 15 minutes with Bran and Craster’s Keep was so boring, and not because it wasn’t in the books. The lanky mutineers torturing Hodor was a worse offense than torturing Theon. But everything in between was great.

    If Jojen says anything to Jon next week, I may have to eat my words.

  71. GreatJon of Slumber
    Posted April 29, 2014 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    Tyrion Pimpslap:
    Greatjon of Slumber,

    I’m going to go against the grain and still say ‘Two Swords’ is the best episode of the season, so far. That final scene was one of the top 3 scenes in the show’s history.

    Here is how I’d rank the first 4 episodes:

    1. ‘Two Swords’ – 9.5
    2. ‘Oathkeeper’ – 9.2
    3. ‘The Lion And The Rose’ – 9
    4. ‘Breaker Of Chains’ – 8

    I’m fine with this too. I think “Winter is Coming” *may* have been slightly better as a premiere, but again, you’re talking about starting the whole damned thing off. In terms of pacing, this one really did just kill it (For me it’s the open scene that’s just a chill moment all around, though I will say we’re 4 episodes in and I don’t think we’ve got any contenders yet that will be “I’m going to eat every fucking chicken in this room” for quip of the year, and I’d not be surprised if that gets the WIC award for that one.

    jentario:
    Ugh. I hate that book readers are calling Oathkeeper a filler episode.

    If it’s filler, more filler, please. Were they watching?

    –A great invented scene between Grey Worm and Missandei, hewing to the “put two characters who are otherwise less known to each other in a room and let them talk” that has served this show well from the beginning
    –Making Grey Worm the one who frees the slaves. Makes more sense anyway.
    –More Marge and Olenna greatness
    –Dany’s growing god complex
    –More Baelish and Sansa awesomeness
    –Sansa like actually LEARNING SOMETHING HMMM WOW
    –More Jaime and Brienne
    –A great Jon Snow moment, capped – obviously – by having Grenn and Edd volunteer first
    –SER POUNCE FTW
    –More Noah Taylor!
    –And a pale horse and a pale rider in the snow leaving the OMG WTF IS THAT AAAAAAAAAAAAAAA.

    Filler??? If loving this ‘filler’ is wrong, I don’t want to be right.

  72. Daniellica
    Posted April 29, 2014 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

    The first short (5-minute) narrative film I made starred my cat, and it really wasn’t that difficult. I think perhaps the trick to filming with cats is either to write actions for the cats you know they will more easily perform or find a cat who is more inclined toward the actions you have written. For instance, my cat was really good at snapping her head in the direction of particular sounds, looking up at me with certain cues, and running away. So, most of her actions in my little shitpile of a movie were snapping her head, looking up at the camera, and running away. I also manhandled her into using a computer (don’t tell PETA!) and utilized POV kitty cam. She played an alien inhabiting the body of a feline to infiltrate the home of a CIA agent who gets wise to the plot, so she has him killed. Muahahaha. err, ROFL. so terrible. so much fun.

    SER POUNCE FTW!

  73. Mrs. D. Ranged in AZ
    Posted April 29, 2014 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

    Daniellica,

    Ha! When you said you manhandled your cat on the computer I immediately had a vision of keyboard kitty…duh duh ta duh….those little stiff paws on the keys….so weird and yet so funny.

  74. Mrs. D. Ranged in AZ
    Posted April 29, 2014 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

    BCog, awesome ep! Don’t let the haters get you down. You just get better and better.

    The word “redemption” is thrown out a lot and I don’t know if it’s as simple as a redemption story when describing Jaime. He gives the sword that his father gave him to Brienne for a purpose… With Brienne and this mission, I don’t know if he thinks it’ll redeem anything but at least he’s trying to be the writer of his own destiny. His line, “It’s the Lord Commander’s duty to fill these pages. There’s still room left in mine,” is a key phrase for Jaime going forward.”

    Okay, this answers a question I posted in the Recap (or one of the many previous posts)….about Jaime’s motivations in sending out Brienne. In the scene with Cersei, the WiC recap said Jaime agreed he would deliver Sansa’s head if she asked. BUT when I watched that scene I didn’t see agreement…I don’t recall him answering. Anyway if Jaime did agree to return Sansa’s head to Cersei, it made me doubt his motives for sending out Brienne. Because he’s lying to someone. But with this comment from Cogman, I think I can rest easy that no matter what he did or did not indicate to Cersei, he sent Brienne out to do the right thing.

  75. Daniellica
    Posted April 29, 2014 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

    Mrs. D. Ranged in AZ,

    There was a shot of her swiping the power button and maneuvering the mouse in between dark glowsy images of her reading from the screen. Single-paw shots are much easier and result in far less retaliatory scratching. :)

  76. Daniellica
    Posted April 29, 2014 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

    Mrs. D. Ranged in AZ: In the scene with Cersei, the WiC recap said Jaime agreed he would deliver Sansa’s head if she asked. BUT when I watched that scene I didn’t see agreement…I don’t recall him answering.

    He most decidedly did NOT agree to this; he said nothing, which Cercei seemed to interpret as tacit refusal, which I think it was. To me, their expressions read: Jamie: “Seriously, you’re asking me this?” Cercei: “I always knew you were a pussy.”

  77. Eljuma
    Posted April 30, 2014 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    Bean,

    Who the hell says “fuck ‘em til they’re dead!” ???

    A serial killer rapist, that’s who.

    I’ve been reading about this interesting subset of people and that’s tame compared to what many say after they are arrested.

  78. Mrs. D. Ranged in AZ
    Posted April 30, 2014 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    I really liked the parallels that one can draw between the Unsullied/Grey Worm and Craster’s ice babies (CIBs). Taken so young, they will remember nothing of their original homes and, against their will technically speaking, they are raised to specifically serve the agenda of someone else. In the case of the Unsullied they will fight on the side of fire. In the case of CIB’s they will fight on the side of ice. Another difference being that Dany broke that cycle of coercion for the Unsullied and they choose to serve her of their own free will. The CIBs will never have that choice.

    Also, I haven’t seen anyone mention the fact that Missandei was disturbed when Grey Worm said “Kill the Masters”. If you missed it, take a closer look. She definitely seems taken aback by it. I suspect that Missandei leans more to the peacenik camp and while she and Grey Worm may have a budding friendship and romantic relationship, Grey Worm’s desire for revenge may end up being a major obstacle for them.

  79. Mrs. D. Ranged in AZ
    Posted April 30, 2014 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

    Daniellica,

    Ok, phew! I thought I missed it. I was pretty certain he was silent and that meant ‘no I won’t do it’.

    Ours is the Fury, (if you agree) will you correct the recap post?

    Skipjack,

    It undoes some of my admiration of the books if that is the ultimate bad guy, it’s just dumb.

    Actually, just read today an interview by GRRM and he specifically says that he did NOT want to create a big baddy, an “ultimate bad guy” as you call it, like this (ala, Sauron). Also there are some theorizing online that the WW are not necessarily evil, which fits right in with what GRRM wanted. I think viewers are all assuming FAR too much about the WW. I mean, what would have been the baby’s fate if the WW hadn’t come? To freeze or be eaten by a wild animal….and once they have him, how are they, not being human, supposed to care for him? How could any human baby survive the extreme cold–they can’t hold him and protect him with their magic from the cold 24/7! Maybe making the baby into a WW is an act of mercy…they see humans as invaders/pests, as lesser than and by changing the child into a WW they think they are doing it a favor? Maybe its not all about reinforcing their numbers……The truth is we just don’t know enough yet. But I have faith that D&D will stay true to GRRM’s vision of not having LOTR-style archetypal figures of good and bad.

  80. Hodor's Bastard
    Posted April 30, 2014 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    jentario:
    Ugh. I hate that book readers are calling Oathkeeper a filler episode.

    Totally a filler episode. It filled me with excitement about what could possibly come next! Next episode should also be quite fulfilling (if they get the direwolf story back on track, dammit!). I will take pleasure in seeing Karl torn asunder by certain mighty jaws. But beware of Locke!

  81. Kayla
    Posted April 30, 2014 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    Nagga´s Kin,

    Nagga´s Kin,

    The white walker at the end is the nights king and it ties into the story line completely. But if you haven’t read the books it would be confusing to even understand the reference.

  82. Hodor's Bastard
    Posted April 30, 2014 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    Kayla,

    I was secretly hoping that Coldhands was the actually the Night’s King (based on several theories from Westeros.org) but that has been squashed (or has it?). Even for book readers, the Night’s King theories are quite abstract…all we really have to go on are Old Nan’s storytelling to Bran. Not quite lore. Maybe we’ll know more later this year when TWoI&F comes out in October.


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