When Jaqen H’ghar first turned away from Arya Stark and looked back at her with a completely different face, the Faceless Men instantly became an awesome magical mystery on Game of Thrones. It’s a mystery that Arya herself explored throughout Season 5 and 6, and as a result, face-swapping has become commonplace, yet we still know almost nothing about it. With Arya slated to return to Winterfell in the fourth episode of Season 7, it’s about time viewers get some clarity when it comes to the scope of her powers. You know, the ones that allow her to seemingly become anybody whenever she wants with zero repercussions.
Arya spent two seasons in the headquarters of the Faceless Men learning their ways. Yet, still, the show has explained very little regarding the nature of her powers. We know why Daenerys can’t be burned. We know how the White Walkers were born. We know the Lord of Light brought Jon Snow back to life. We even know the nature and scope of the Three-Eyed Raven’s powers. So why can’t we know what the deal is with this nifty trick?
If she can be anybody, wouldn’t it be safer to travel as a random person than as a Stark? What if Ed Sheeran had recognized her somehow? Why doesn’t Arya just do everyone a favor and turn into Jaime and stab Cersei in her bedchamber?
The are many questions, but here are a few that the show really needs to clarify before Arya’s poorly-defined powers get out of hand and begin to feel more like an annoying MacGuffin than they do a cool feature for one of the show’s best characters.
Now, the White Walkers:
The White Walkers have morphed from a seldom-seen myth to the greatest enemy in Westeros. The Night King’s army of the dead has moved very, very, slowly, marching south from Hardhome to a mountain range just an afternoon’s jog from Eastwatch-by-the-Sea, but if they somehow make it past the Wall, they threaten to usher in the Long Night, a mythical winter that would wipe out most life on the continent.
What are White Walkers?
Long story short, they used to be humans and now they’re ice monsters. They don’t appear to speak to one another, but they do use some sort of nonverbal communication. In George R.R. Martin’s books, they’re a much more reputable-looking bunch with chameleon-like armor that perfectly reflects their surroundings. They’re pretty ragtag on the show, although some wear leather armor. They've been marching south under the orders of the Night King (we’ll get to him later) and they’re willing to destroy anyone who gets in their way. They aren’t indiscriminate, though: The Walkers created some sort of truce with Craster, who gave them his baby boys in return for being left in peace.
Based on what we’ve seen, the White Walkers are at least 8,000 years old: In season six, we learned that the Children of the Forest created the very first Walker as a weapon to combat the first men to arrive on Westeros. (They did so by plunging a piece of dragonglass into a man’s heart.) That Walker eventually turned on them, but we don’t know why. It eventually led to a massive war between the Walkers and the First Men, which ended with the defeat of the Walkers at the Battle for the Dawn. Afterward, the Wall was built by the founder of House Stark — a man named Brandon Stark, a.k.a. Bran the Builder — in order to keep the White Walkers from returning south. Around the same time, the Night’s Watch was formed to serve as guardians of the realm.
Do you think the White Walker is really evil?
It seems that way, right? All we’ve seen them do is kill. But their deal with Craster indicates some ability to form alliances. They may put those logic skills to use again in the future, perhaps with Cersei Lannister, the only ruler who hasn’t yet sworn war against them. A fascinating theory from Reddit user JoeMagician explains that the Walkers’ actions are much more targeted than they appear on the surface — but until we have more reasons to believe otherwise, that’s just a theory.
What are Wights?
Think of the wights as the GOT version of zombies: They’re the undead hordes who fight for the White Walkers. We don’t know exactly how wights are controlled, but the ability to raise the dead is one of the Walkers’ greatest weapons since every fallen soldier can join their war against the living.
Westeros is a country with technological development roughly on par with our world in 1300 or 1400s or so, minus gunpowder, and with some magic and dragons. They have a recorded history (well, fictional, but play along) that suggests their people had bronze weapons over 12,000 years ago; by comparison, our reality had a very nice Bronze Age about 4,000 years ago, and now we have global-access dirty-picture machines in our pockets and airplanes and candy bars with cookie crunches, while the Westerosi have barely managed to make steel in three times the length of time.
So how close is the "Game of Thrones" world to the real Middle Ages?
Middle Ages are roughly defined as the time between the fall of the Roman Empire in A.D. 476 and the Protestant Reformation, which began in 1517 and wrapped up around 1648, though historians do quibble about the exact definition of "medieval." Regardless of the actual dates, 1,000 years is a long time, and Europe is a big place, so generalizations about "medieval times" are hard to make.
Some of the show's flashier battle sequences are rooted in truth, too. Wildfire — a volatile, flammable liquid used in the Season 2 episode "Blackwater" — echoes an incendiary called Greek fire used by people in the Byzantine Empire. No one knows exactly what the substance was, but it probably included some combination of pine resin, sulfur or other incendiary chemicals.
What are your thoughts on Black Magic? Where did it come from?
Some say the Game of thrones is based on reality IE: War of the Roses. Is GoT real history?
Game of Thrones is based loosely on history, many of its large battles and more intense confrontations are based on real events. To say it's all based on history, though, is a streach. I think that's something you tend to see in a lot of epic fantasy stories like Game of Thrones. There will always be some truth behind the words.
As for Arya and the Faceless Men... I would not say that their abilities are at all undefined. She has got to be my favorite character in the entire series, books and show, so I follow her story pretty intensely. The thing about the Faceless Men and their powers to change faces, is that they have to kill the person and then literally pull their face off to use it as one of their own. So, for her to have killed Cirsei would have involved her having to off someone who's capable of getting close enough to her. And it would have involved a choice of going South, like she had originally planned in season six and her going home, like she ultimately does. She was all out ready to tackle the Cersei problem in season six, but when she heard about her family back North, back in her home of Winterfell, she knew she needed to return home. As for traveling as herself, I don't think that was ever a problem. When she fled King's Landing, she was a child. Years had passed while she was off with the Hound, while she was in Bravos, so for her to be recognized as Arya Stark was pretty low. No one knew what she looked like at that point. And, I would assume since she hadn't been heard from for years, everyone who cared would have figured her to be dead. She had no fear traveling as herself because she is more than capable of dealing with trouble.
I do agree that the story is similar to the Medieval Era, the weapons, the technologies, some of the clothing, it's all definitely similar to what you would find in that time period. But, I do think it's more just because it is a grand fantasy story. Most fantasy worlds built like Game of Thrones would probably fall in the same period. I think it makes for a more epic story when there are huge battles and big swordfights.
I am sure they took bits and pieces from different historical events / figures / religion / language ... which is usually how epic movies and stories are created.
But it is truly amazing how they seamlessly joined both fantasy and 'real world' ... without going overboard on the fantasy part. Initially I thought with the dragons and white walkers ... it was going to be a full fantasy genre. But I was pleasantly surprised how they balanced it out with 'normal' real world factors.
For 7 seasons and 4 or 5 books Jamie has been called the Kingslayer by everyone he meets. Until I watched the preview for the next episode it somehow completely slipped my mind that the king he slayed was Dany's dad.
This episode also put me firmly in the "I don't want Dany to end up on the throne" camp.
Me too ... What Sam said really hit me. Jon gave up the crown to save the people ... Dany wouldn't have done the same.
Yes she freed the slaves .... blah blah blah ... but I don't know if she would be a compassionate ruler. What if she comes like her father ... the mad king.
Who do you think will end up on the throne? Also, what's the ending going to be? Kinda want to know how far people will be off.
A lot of people think Sansa could end up on the Throne. I personally think Dany is going to die and possibly Jon will die one last time so Sansa or Tyrion makes sense. But I also am kind of hoping for an apocalyptic ending with the last shot being snow falling in the burning remains of the throne room. Something like the way the 80s The Thing ended. But I don't think HBO is brave enough to do it. I am kind of hoping for an apocalyptic ending with the last shot being snow falling in the burning remains of the throne room. Something like the way the 80s The Thing ended. But I don't think HBO is brave enough to do it. But, Since the original intent of the book series was a low-fantasy retelling of the War of the Roses, I suspect that none of the current crop of rulers will end up on the throne but there will be a throne that covers all the 7 kingdoms. It just won't be the Iron Throne. The Iron Throne gets melted down and the survivors choose a new unifying monarch, perhaps a marriage of convenience between Tyrion and Sansa who rule as co-equal monarchs. But War of the roses ended with a Lancaster returning from exile, winning a huge battle and the marrying a York right? So uh... Jamie has the advantage in the "winning a huge battle" side of the equation, but Tyrion is already conveniently married to Sansa. Dany has the returning from exile thing going I guess, and she could end up with Jon.
I think another possibility is that Dany's talk of "breaking the wheel" will come true, in one of two ways:
a) this entire narrative is a post-apocalyptic prelude; meaning, almost everybody dies, and the survivor rules a kingdom that is basically obliterated. This is not inconsistent with the intersection of the Black Death and the Hundred Years War, another Martin source. I could see the series closing with a lone survivor in a frozen King's Landing, ruler of nothing.
b) No one of the existing Houses ends up in charge; the 'wheel' is truly broken and a commoner ends up in charge of a fundamentally new order. If we buy the history Martin has set out, Westeros has been under aristocratic/feudal rule for an INSANELY long time, much longer than Western Europe was. Maybe we end up with something more like a French Revolution at the end.
c) Major characters keep outright telling us nobody will sit the throne. 'break the wheel' 'give up your crown to save the kingdom' etc etc, not to mention the house of undying. Even the zombies keep reminding us about the darn wheel.
I propose that between every episode, we pick our top three to die for that particular episode. 6 points for your first pick, 3 points for your second, 1 for your third. Or whatever, it really doesn't matter, lets just have fun seeing who can call the deaths most accurately.
My death predictions for next episode:
3.) Ed from the Nights Watch.
Also, Who will kill Cersei:
Cersei death: Killed by Zombie version of Jaime
Cersei: Will the king and I have children?
Maggy: Oh, aye. Six-and-ten for him, and three for you. Gold shall be their crowns and gold their shrouds, she said. And when your tears have drowned you, the valonqar shall wrap his hands about your pale white throat and choke the life from you.
Ayra finally getting laid and them waiting for the battle to start. I hope though they do not do 3 eps of total nothing but battles. Also, I have been thinking and Bonus predictions: Podrick, Beric, Tormund, Dolorous Ed was heavily foreshadowed. I think we'll lose at least one major cast member but I'm having trouble saying who. My gut tells me Brienne's arc is complete so she's a good contender to go out heroicly.
Cersei kill: Jamie kills her while Arya and the Hound chop the Mountain down to size.
Throne: I'm rooting for Sansa and Tyrion to share it. Dany is on the verge of going Mad Queen Dany. Jon doesn't want it. If it's not Sansa and Tyrion I don't want anyone to get it. I want Fallout: Westeros to be the ending in that case.
Also, how often did someone say the crypts are safe? Is this a double-feint? Because if not the writers need to be more subtle.
I think that was probably the most expensive single episode of television to produce in history. Since it was like 100% special efffects shots.
Three episodes to go.
Ahhh you got 2 out of 3 correct ... :D
Episode 3 was horrible ... I cried my eyes out!
The major characters were not fighting as much as I thought they should have .... and the minor characters were unexpectedly the heroes of the episode.
So I think I've fully processed why this isn't a satisfying end to the NK/Dead storyline. It's not Arya: that was great. If it was going to be a one-shot, having her do it is something the series has fully built up to in a very good way. But the thing is: the menace of the Dead has been a major, maybe the major, driver of one major portion of the overall narrative. ALL of the Night's Watch content was about it, and that's a lot of storyline. Meanwhile, the "fire" thematic has also used up a lot of real estate.
For that to end with one stab seems to make most of that thematic unworthy of the time spent on it.
Unless the next episode catalyzes it. If the characters just walk away saying, "Phew, that was a close one", it was pointless. But if they say, "The Dead very nearly overran the living, and that's because the Seven Kingdoms have been paralyzed by pointless civil war but even before that, because the vanity of monarchs and lords led to the slow stripping of support from the Night's Watch, because we forgot our own histories, because the madness of kings and the greed of nobles made us all weak. We came together here and survived: now we go to break the wheel and make a completely new society". Ok! That would make the whole thematic pay off--it is the narrow escape from never-ending winter and death that convinces everyone to join a new crusade, to put aside all the vanity of power-seeking that dramatizes the need for change.
If tonight is just "back to the Game of Thrones, who will sit on the Iron Throne", then it really was kind of a waste.
Seems likely though that the show has decided the war of the roses is the main event, not global warming. Cool. I'm cool with this. Seems more likely the last episodes will be more watchable if they scale back the literary ambition. Also makes the show feel more like its own separate thing rather than the bad fan fiction of most of s5, 6 and 7.
Mad Queen Dany as predicted. I was a bit bummed that Cersei got such an easy way out. I did like Arya and the Hound's arc in this episode and that beautiful final shot of Arya on the pale horse was some foreshadowing if I've ever seen it.