The Maester List: Quick-Hitting Questions and Things to Think About Before Episode 4
Jason Concepcion: Kenneth asks, “How come Castle Black has enough supplies to feed Stannis’s army and wildlings? I would assume the supplies are only good enough for the 100 brothers in the Night’s Watch.”
You’re kind of right. Remember, though, seasons in Westeros are of indeterminate length. A winter might last a year, or it might last 10 years — or even longer. Adding to the difficulty, sometimes there are false springs and false autumns. To survive winter, every community — villages, cities, and castles — needs to be laying away food all summer, however long that may be. No region of Westeros understands that reality like the North does, where the climate is crisp and snows are visible even in the height of summer. In the North, when winter hits, it’s not uncommon for an aged relative to announce to their family that they’re going hunting and walk out into the woods with no intention of ever returning so as to give the young a better chance at survival. The summer that’s drawing to an end in the show now has stretched for more than nine years, and during that whole time, the Watch has been stockpiling grain, salted meat, vegetables, and cheese. Jon can feed Stannis’s troops, plus thousands of wildlings, and can probably do so for a decent chunk of time. But what does feeding thousands of mouths for a year mean when winter might last eight?
Peter asks, “I forget if this has been addressed, but can we get a recap about how Stannis got hooked up with Melisandre?”
She just showed up on Dragonstone one day. To hear her tell it, she had a vision that Stannis was the reborn Azor Ahai, the great and possibly apocryphal hero whose victory over the forces of the Great Other ended the Long Night.
Adam asks, “Quick question — with all the talk of the Kings of old, and the Iron Throne, it only just dawned on me to ask — can Daenerys actually become a Queen, in her own right, without a King?”
The closest Westeros ever came, as far as we know, to having a queen regnant was about 170 years before the events of the show, when King Viserys I Targaryen named his daughter Princess Rhaenyra his heir. The result was a succession crisis that spiraled into a disastrous civil war that was the main cause for the eventual extinction of dragons and later came to be known as the Dance of the Dragons. That said, if and when Dany ascends the Iron Throne, I think she would functionally be the queen regnant, even though there’s really no precedent for something like that outside of Dorne. Let’s say, for alliances’ sake, she marries some John-Fuck Tyrell or whoever. That’s nice for him and he wouldn’t lack for comfort and influence, but whoever controls the dragons wears the pants. Not to mention the Unsullied, her small coterie of Dothraki, Ser Barristan and whoever else has been with Dany since Essos who would take orders only from her.
The Real Housewives of King’s Landing
Superfan Crazyperson Power Rankings of the Week: Brothelpalooza
Mallory “Mother of Dragons” Rubin: Tyrion’s post-pee abduction on Sunday night was a lot of things: alarming, amusing, supremely unsanitary. But mostly, it was a cruel reminder that in Westeros and Essos, brothel excursions are the ultimate risk/reward endeavor. For every satisfied customer, it seems there’s a grizzly stabbing, a deeply discomfiting bit of role-play, or a horrifying sloppy-seconds swap. So which establishment has the highest probability of, er, a happy ending? Glad you asked!
1. Littlefinger’s: The discerning King’s Landing brothel-goer can do no better than Littlefinger’s Lair of Love, where the décor is fine and the debauchery is finer. Worried that the quality might have dropped off since the proprietor sailed out of town? Perhaps you missed the High Septon’s customized tryst with the Sexy Seven this past week! No inclination was too perverse for Littlefinger to accommodate when he was running the daily operations, and he clearly trained Olyvar to maintain that sick, stealthy support network for the capital’s freakier folk. Plus, Baelish built his brothel by thinking about business as well as pleasure, which means he values discretion: Wealthy lords wary of being spotted in such a sordid situation can request home delivery (as that filthy old fool Pycelle knows full well). Admittedly, it’s not all sex and sunshine behind the Mockingjay. This is, after all, the spot where the Red Viper stabbed a Lannister lad in the wrist for whistling an offensive tune; the Gold Cloaks executed Robert Baratheon’s infant bastard daughter; and a practitioner kissed one client immediately after fellating another without using Listerine in between! And of course, there are the peepholes. But a well-executed Meereenese Knot can make a man forget all about that. Right, Pod?
2. Winterfell’s: This is the Cheers of Westerosi brothels, providing the personal touch few men know they want from their whorehouses, but most men come to cherish in time. Ros was on good enough terms with her clients to mockingly call Tyrion an “imp” and a “drunken little lecher” and to troll Theon with some serious postcoital trash talk about the size of Tyrion’s lion. Plus, this brothel values teamwork! Before Tyrion’s refractory period was even over, Jaime was able to convince the whole crew to pull a joint shift with his little bro. And when Jon got to the Wall, did he think longingly of his featherbed, or lavish feasts, or suitable companions? No! He thought of Ros’s breasts even though he’d never even touched them, such was their power! Of course, Ros left for King’s Landing, Ramsay Bolton (ne Snow) burned the castle to the ground, and the nearby brothel presumably fell into disrepair — or worse, began servicing Boltons.
3. Volantis’s: Trust the oldest colony of Valyria to come up with a creative way of paying homage to the dragon queen! Experiencing Jorah-esque levels of frustration over not being able to bed Daenerys Stormborn? Head to Volantis, where there’s an MoD look-alike ready to light your fire. Of course, if visible signs of forced servitude bum you out, the teardrops tattooed onto the Volantene prostitutes’ faces might be a bit of a turnoff. As might the dwarf pissing off the ledge of the building. Before being captured. By the guy who came to Volantis because he couldn’t bed the dragon queen. And so we’ve come full circle — which, incidentally, is probably a service you can purchase at this establishment.
4. Meereen’s: Bless the brothels of Meereen, where the working girls are so open-minded, they’ll gladly spoon a glum Unsullied even though he lacks the bits that tend to be strictly required for whore-house fun. Also, curse the brothels of Meereen, where the working girls are so open-minded, they’ll gladly enter into the employ of a Son of the Harpy eager to lure a glum Unsullied into a false sense of security before slitting his throat mid-cuddle session. White Rat, we hardly knew thee! If a man without a penis can’t ask a naked woman to hold him and hum into his ear between his patrol shifts, what are we all doing here? Is nothing sacred anymore?
5. Mole’s Town: Back in the day, the Mole’s Town brothel was a trusty destination for Night’s Watchmen wanting to discreetly slip out of Castle Black for, as Sam once delicately put it, “a little Sally on the side.” Sure, most of the women on offer had too many boils or too few teeth, but when the cold winds rise and the next best company is Three-Finger Hobb, a sworn brother will take what he can get. Unfortunately, what limited charm this hovel possessed evaporated when the wildlings showed up and murdered every single soul other than Gilly and her newborn son (Gilly recognized the signs of an impending attack and hid in a dark corner before fleeing to the Wall). Until new ownership arrives to clean the blood off the floor and reopen shop in M-Dot, it’ll be much harder for members of the Night’s Watch to find warm bodies to surreptitiously huddle up against. On the bright side, it’ll also be much harder for them to get the clap!
BONUS! Borderline Weird Mallory Rubin Game of Thrones Memorabilia of the Week
Mallory “Mother of Dragons” Rubin
Faces of Sansa: The Littlefinger Proposition
The “I’m Gonna Marry Who Now?”
The “You Do Realize Those Are the People Who Slit My Mom’s Throat and Killed My Brother and Pregnant Sister-in-Law at a Wedding, Right?”
The “Oh, You Don’t Care, Because This Is Some Kind of Insane Political Move and I Am Your Pawn. Awesome. Eff My Ell.”
The “I’m Still Very Upset by All This Terrible Information About My Imminent Betrothal, But I’m Distracted by the Fact That They Call You Littlefinger Despite Your Enormous Thumb”
The “Welp, Guess We’re Doing This. Please Don’t Give Me a Severed Penis in a Box for a Wedding Present. Dealsies, You Murderous Ex-Bastard Freak? Cool, Cool.”
ICYMI: The Watch the Thrones Podcast, Week 3
Top 10 Things for Extras to Do in a Crowd Scene …
… IN THE NORTH
10. Carry a cage held aloft with wooden poles
9. Churn something
8. Pluck something
7. Moan and roll on the ground
6. Point at a map
4. Tend to horse(s)
2. Stand watch
… IN THE EAST
10. Beseech someone/thing
9. Offer up body for sale (yours or closest whore)
6. Throw stone
5. Something something exotic melon?
3. Lurk mysteriously
2. Lurk ominously
… IN KING’S LANDING
9. Step over shit
8. Wave at nose as if smelling shit
7. Brandish sword
4. Say something nice about Queen Margaery
3. Throw shit (at anyone other than Queen Margaery)
Interlude: Theme Songs of Westeros
Scouting the Beheadings
Ben Lindbergh: A show full of heartwarming family moments brought us another on Sunday, as Jon Snow (and actor Kit Harington) conquered his aversion to neck-based violence and applied valuable lessons learned during an adolescence spent watching Ned Stark separate heads from shoulders. Beheadings have been part of Game of Thrones since the beginning — as in, Episode 1, Scene 1 — so we’ve had time to compile some beheading dos and don’ts. What follows is a mechanical critique (on baseball’s 20-80 scouting scale) of the eight beheaders we’ve seen so far, not counting beheadings that happened offscreen (R.I.P. Rakharo). Each slaying is judged on its accuracy, speed, style, and degree of difficulty (neck thickness, sword heaviness, angle of approach), and, notably, not on whether the beheading was warranted.
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Degree of difficulty: 30
Unless Rodrik’s neck is made of ironwood, 12 seconds from first move to rolling-head reaction shot is unacceptable. A beheader has one primary responsibility: Make the first cut count. Theon needs four strokes and a kick. Theon’s sins range from the superficial — an executioner never wants to look wild-eyed — to errors in (ahem) execution: His swing is rushed and straight up-and-down, with none of the lower-body activation and side-to-side rotation that leads to smooth head-stump separation.
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Degree of difficulty: 20
The most begrudging, businesslike beheading: At this point, Ned is pretty much punching the clock. I know this isn’t his first execution, but there’s a fine line between practiced solemnity and negligent nonchalance. It’s a bad sign when the beheader barely looks at his target as he’s starting his swing.
Ilyn Payne/Ned Stark
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Degree of difficulty: 20
Ironically, the King’s Justice — the only one here who beheads for a living — has a hitch at the top of his motion, like an NPB pitcher. It works for him, but no one would teach this technique to others.
Robb Stark/Rickard Karstark
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Degree of difficulty: 30
A by-the-numbers beheading. It looks the part, but it’s boring and doesn’t last long — a lot like Robb, really.
Gregor Clegane/Lustful Stallion
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Degree of difficulty: 80
It’s not elegant, but brute force is also a style. Adjusting for context makes the accomplishment clear: No one else in Westeros would even attempt to behead a horse with a sword so heavy, all while wearing full armor.
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Degree of difficulty: 60
The choice of weapon, economy of effort, and horizontal, fly-swatting swipe set this one apart — Daario is the sidearmer of the beheading bullpen. Cleanup could be an issue, but that’s a question for the Meereen custodial staff.
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Degree of difficulty: 40
The prep that Jon put in before his aborted beheadings of Ygritte and an innocent old man paid off. Of all the beheaders, he has the fastest windup, with no wasted motion. There’s nothing flashy about Jon’s method, but for a rookie, this is an impressive display of beheading best practices.
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Degree of difficulty: 70
The only technique that leaves the executioner in perfect position for an intimidating toss. The upside is that there’s no need to aim. The downside is that the lack of any windup or assistance from gravity makes superhuman strength a prerequisite.
The Pickup Artist: Ser Jorah’s Tips, Tricks, and Tools for (Not) Getting the Girl
Step 1: Pre-Selection — Gentlemen! The first, most vital tip for securing the affection of the opposite sex is to display that you are the most ideal partner out of all the available options. How do you go about proving your bona fides? Simple, you exhibit a trait that makes you stand out from the crowd. If, let’s say, you are in the middle of a Dothraki khalasar and the woman of your dreams is being sold to a vicious warrior-king, try speaking her language. Literally, speak her language, because everyone else in camp speaks Dothraki. Bingo. You’re IN!
Step 2: The Direct Opener — When establishing your mastery of the Common Tongue, try saying something witty, maybe even an open-ended question that gets the woman talking. Say something suave and seductive like, “The common people pray for rain, health, and a summer that never ends. They don’t care what games the high lords play.” If the woman asks you what YOU pray for, be all cool and say, “Home.” Do you smell the love in the air?
Step 3: Assumption Building — Don’t be afraid to assume things about your target. For instance, I would ask, “Are you the last surviving member of your family?” If she says yes, she’ll be amazed that you could be so observant (or she might think you’re a warlock of Qarth with mind-reading abilities). If she says no, then your follow-up should be, “Well, your mother must have been so beautiful, she surely drove your father mad.” Either way, you’re laying valuable track here.
Step 4: Kino Escalation — In case of an attack from angry slave masters, be prepared to physically grab your intended and carry her to safety. She’ll be swooning in no time from your firm yet gentle embrace. Just be wary of hotshot sellswords with perfect cheekbones who are willing to pull the same move.
Step 5: Negging — If the above doesn’t work, try selling her out to her sworn enemies in exchange for a full royal pardon! Bring her down to your level! Make her nervous! An assassination attempt is a surefire way to get a woman to question her own self-worth and immediately fall in love with you!
Of course, the downside of this epic neg is that she might banish you for life when she finds out you’ve been conspiring to have her murdered. If that happens, take the “red pill” and set a course for Volantis! There, the girls HAVE to talk to you. You were too good for her anyway, bro!